About the physiological nonsense of women

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Illustrated publisher's cover of the 9th edition, 1908

An essay by the neurologist and psychiatrist Paul Julius Möbius, first published in 1900, is about the physiological nonsense of women .

With the publication of his provocative 23-page work in the collection of informal treatises from the field of nervous and mental illnesses , the previously largely unknown Möbius received great public attention. The essay was reprinted several times and appeared in multiple editions, also as a single volume, with numerous letters to the editor included in the appendix , which made up a large part of the book in later editions.

Möbius' essay came at the height of a heated debate in Germany about the admission of women to medical school . In it Möbius put forward the thesis that women naturally have a physiologically determined lower mental talent than men. This female " nonsense " serves the preservation of the human species and is a consequence of his evolution .

Votes against

In 1903, the doctor and writer Johanna Elberskirchen took on feminism and science of the Möbius essay in her essay :

“I could also have written 'feminism and nonsense', because the criticism that is violated of feminism in the name of science often has little to do with science. However, my innate courtesy towards the male sex forbade me to walk in the ways of Mr. Möbius. In my opinion, the scholars, especially the scientists and doctors, are the most unsuitable people to deal critically with feminism. You are too personal and too materialistic about women and judge them from a very crooked and very limited perspective, at least from a completely unscientific point of view. "
"No, Mr. Möbius, woman is not weak, not inferior, not 'physiologically feeble-minded', but woman is sick - she suffers too much from the dominance of male sex."

In 1905 Max (ie) Freimann published a satirical response to Möbius' essay entitled On the Physiological Stupidity of Men .

In 1913, the doctor, nationalist feminist and opponent of women's suffrage, Mathilde Ludendorff (still under the name of Kemnitz ), took a critical position in her doctoral thesis on the asthenic infantilism of women in its relationships to reproductive and intellectual activity . She advocated the thesis that the established differences in the intellectual abilities of men and women are the result of upbringing and social processes. In order to be able to scientifically determine gender-specific differences, equality between the sexes must first be established. She established this thesis in other books such as The Woman and His Determination. A contribution to the psychology of women and the reorientation of their duties (1917) and erotic rebirth (1919).


  • Paul Julius Möbius : About the physiological nonsense of women (=  collection of informal treatises from the field of nervous and mental diseases . Volume 3 , no. 3 ). 2nd Edition. Marhold, Halle a. P. 1901, DNB  580748456 .
  • Paul Julius Möbius: About the physiological nonsense of women . Instead of a comment: The girlfriends . A scene by Lemercier de Neuville and three poems by Helmut Maria Soik . Matthes and Seitz, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-88221-003-6 (ISBN in the book wrongly 3-8821-003-6).
  • Paul Julius Möbius: About the physiological nonsense of women . Facs.-Dr. the 8th, change Aufl. Halle, 1905. Bechtermünz-Verlag, Augsburg 2000, ISBN 3-8289-4845-6 .


  • Holger Steinberg (Ed.): “As if I were speaking to a stone wall.” The neurologist Paul Julius Möbius. A work biography. Huber, Bern 2005, ISBN 3-456-84175-2 .

Web links

  • Review (PDF; 203 kB) In: Schweizerische Ärztezeitung , 2001.

Individual evidence

  1. Maxie Freimann: About the physiological stupidity of the man (=  Kultur-Kuriosa . Volume 13 ). Matthes and Seitz, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-88221-013-3 ( e-book at archive.org [accessed October 1, 2019] Original title: About the physiological stumpiness of man . Berlin, Leipzig 1905. First edition: Carl Wigand) .
  2. ^ Mathilde Ludendorff. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )