Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (Contemporary Classics)

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9780912670201: Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness (Contemporary Classics)
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   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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About the Author:

Barbara Ehrenreich is author of the 2002 New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. She has written nearly twenty books, and has been a columnist for Time magazine and the New York Times. She has contributed to The Progressive, Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms., The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, and Salon.com. Deirdre English is the former editor of Mother Jones magazine. She has written for the Nation, New York Times Book Review, San Francisco Magazine, S.F. Chronicle Sunday Magazine, Vogue, and public radio and television. Currently, English is a professor at University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

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The surgical approach to female psychological problems had what was considered a solid theoretical basis in the theory of the "psychology of the ovary." After all, if a woman's entire personality was dominated by her reproductive organs, then gynecological surgery was the most logical approach to any female psychological problems. Beginning in the late 1860s, doctors began to act on this principle....widely practiced was the surgical removal of the ovaries. Thousands of these operations were performed from 1860 to 1890....As we have seen, surgery was often performed with the explicit goal of "taming" a high-strung woman, and whether or not the surgery itself was effective, the very threat of surgery was probably enough to bring many women into line.

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Ehrenreich, Barbara, English, Deirdre
Published by The Feminist Press at CUNY (1993)
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Ehrenreich, Barbara, English, Deirdre
Published by The Feminist Press at CUNY (1993)
ISBN 10: 0912670207 ISBN 13: 9780912670201
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