I've seen the word "hysteria" used in here quite a bit recently. I know there's a completely acceptable modern use of the term, to refer to public panic.
Yet, in a women's lit class we had a long discussion about the origin of the word. I haven't studied it at all since then, but my professor was describing how "hysteria" used to be considered a woman's disorder.
Hystera is the Greek word for "uterus." Obviously, right? From it we get words like "hysterectomy" etc
Hysteria was once described as a health condition that women experience in relation to changes in the womb, such as during pregnancy or especially after the birth of a child. As such, the term is very closely linked to mothering.
I'm not sure how many people actually carry this association around with them, but I know that I do. In my view, the term hysteria can be quite sexist, especially
when it is used in relation to a mother's heightened concern over her sick child (e.g. - with measles).
Clearly there are real post-partum medical conditions that are described in more specific terms now, and there is also the healthy, normal visceral response of fear and concern that mothers feel when their children are sick or hurt.
Because "hysteria" is an old term that once described what was essentially post-partum illness, it seems especially wrong to conflate that term with normal healthy human emotions like fear for one's child, understandable grief, and anger about circumstances that led to a child's illness, death, etc.
Using that term lightly seems dismissive and sexist to me. Mothers who are concerned about their children and other children are not sick.
Illness and uncontrolled anxiety are serious medical conditions that should not be treated lightly. There may be people in these discussions that have symptoms of some of these disorders so it might be accurate to speculate in some cases, but I still don't think it's appropriate. I've seen rather light usage of these terms in these boards lately regarding parent's concerned over measles and in my view, I think it's out of line.
But that's just me.