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Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (Glass Mountain Pamphlet)


In this follow-up to Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, Barbara Ehrenrich and Deidre English look at the evolution of the medical view of the female sex and how it has been used to reinforce the social view of women. Beginning in the late 19th century, the fact of women’s inferiority was "proven" through medical science. Today, the medical establishment still serves to give "scientific" justifications for the sexist values of our society. The point here is that medicine is not an objective, unbiased science; rather, it reflects and supports the prevailing social attitudes. In their quest for better healthcare, women need to address not only access to care, but also the prejudices which affect that care. — From The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women; review by FGP

 

Product Description

 

In this exciting sequel to their underground bestseller, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English document the tradition of American sexism in medicine before and after the turn of the century. Citing vivid examples, including numerous "treatments" and "rest cures" perpetrated on women through the decades, the authors analyze the biomedical rationale used to justify the wholesale sex discrimination throughout our culture-in education, in jobs, and in public life. Ever since Hippocrates, male medics have treated women as the "weaker" sex. By the late 19th century, when the authority of religious documents had waned, the ultimate rationale for sex discrimination became solely biomedical. In this intriguing pamphlet, the authors raise the diffuclt question: "How sick-or well-are women today?" They assert that feminists today want more than "more": "We want a new style, and we want a new substance of medical practice as it relates to women."

 

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