Seminar | Doctoral Programme in Feminist Studies

Mental Health and Gender

Valeska Zanello (Universidade de Brasília/CNPq)

March 11, 2021, 14h00 (GMT)

Online event


From a strategic binarism, there are privileged paths of subjectivation in becoming a man and a woman in Brazilian culture today. For men, the effectiveness device stands out, based on labour and sexual virility. In short, a "real" man would be a good provider/worker and an active "fucker". For women, the amorous and maternal devices stand out. The amorous device configures a certain form of loving which makes women vulnerable. According to the author, they subjectivise themselves on the "shelf" of love, in which "being chosen" and validated by a man becomes a fundamental legitimation. This is because love is identitary for women in a way that it is not for men. The maternal device, on the other hand, places women in a naturalized relation with caring, making ideologically biological performances which, in fact, are interpellated in and by culture since birth. The author also intersects the devices with racial discussions, an issue of utmost importance in a country so marked by slavery and, to this day, deeply racist practices. Finally, it is pointed out how suffering is interpellated and presents itself in a gendered way, making necessary the adoption of a gender perspective in listening and intervention in clinical psychology.

Bio note

Valeska Zanello holds a degree in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Brasilia. She defended her doctorate in Psychology at that same University in 2005, with a one-year doctoral internship at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). She is an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Brasilia and coordinator of the Post-Graduate programme in Clinical Psychology and Culture (PPGPSICC)/UnB. She coordinates the research group "Mental Health and Gender" (focus on women) at CNPq, which conducts a reading of the mental health field from a feminist gender relations perspective (and intersectionalities with race and ethnicity) regarding epistemology, semiology, psychiatric diagnosis and professional practice. She has written numerous articles, chapters and books on the topic.

Activity under the Doctoral Programme in Feminist Studies (FLUC/CES)


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