The ugly ableism of Kelly Brogan

holds card with text unable on old wood plank

Silly me. I thought I couldn’t feel more contempt for quack psychiatrist Kelly Brogan than I already did. Then she posted this:

Saying no to pharmaceuticals is an act of feminism. Every time you open that pill bottle, you are saying ‘nope, you don’t got this’ to your body, and you are instilling a message of oppression by a system that says feeling anything is dangerous.


First, it makes no sense — but then that’s true of a lot of what Brogan writes. She strings together the words and beliefs of New Age nonsense in apparently random order without any concern for what they mean.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Only someone who has never experienced severe, unremitting depression could make such an ugly, ableist claim.[/pullquote]

What system says that feeling anything is dangerous? Not any system I know.

Where is feeling disoriented from hyperglycemia, breathless from asthma or suicidal from depression a form of freedom? I’m not aware of any place like that.

And where does feminism involved in denying women the means to control their own bodies? Maybe on Planet Brogan, but nowhere else.

Second, far from being an expression of feminism, Brogan’s statement reeks of misogyny. The idea that women deserve to suffer has existed in nearly every time, place and culture. Indeed, it is embodied in contemporary natural parenting which views women’s pain and suffering, physical or emotional, as unworthy of concern.

Third, and perhaps most important, Brogan’s message is profoundly ableist.

What is ableism? According to

Ableism – are the practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities.

Ableism is a form of privilege. People without disabilities don’t understand the pain of, the contempt for and struggle by people with disabilities simply to live the life that the non-disabled take for granted.

Ableism is as old as time, as is the belief that a disability is merited punishment.

Traditionally, in many cultures around the world, people with physical, sensory or mental impairments were thought of as under the spell of witchcraft, possessed by demons, or as penitent sinners, being punished by God for wrong-doing by themselves or their parents.

Only an ableist, someone who doesn’t need pharmaceuticals or medical technology to live (or doesn’t recognize that are already dependent on such technology), could make the ugly statement that Brogan did.

Does Brogan wear glasses or contact lenses? If so does she think it is an act of feminism to throw them away and be unable to see? Does she think vision correction is a message of oppression that by a system that says experiencing anything other than perfect vision is dangerous?

I doubt it.

Does Brogan think that an insulin-dependent diabetic refusing insulin is an act of feminism? Does she think that an asthmatic’s inhaler is an instrument of oppression by a system that denies that feeling air-hunger is a form of liberation?

I doubt it.

But Brogan apparently thinks that feeling depressed, even to the point of feeling suicidal, is liberating.

She apparently believes that depression can and should be treated by magical thinking — “telling” your body that “you got this.”

And she apparently is unaware that treating depression does NOT leave women unable to feel anything; it’s just leaves them able to feel happy.

Only someone who has not experienced severe, unremitting depression, affecting themselves or a loved one, could possibly make such an ugly, ableist claim as Brogan has done.

Why does Brogan oppose the use of medication?

Is it because medication treats the actual causes of diseases, including psychiatric diseases, robbing Brogan of the opportunity to sell women books and seminars that only treat the symptoms?

That would be even more reprehensible than even her ugly ableism.