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Barbara Ehrenreich,Deirdre English

Complaints and Disorders

The classic work on women’s health and how the medical establishment helped to justify sexism, by the authors of Witches, Midwives, and Nurses.
From Barbara Ehrenrich, New York Times-bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, Bright-Sided, and other titles, and Deirdre English, former editor of Mother Jones, this book delves into the history of how women have been diagnosed, defined, and often dismissed, by doctors, a problem that persists even today.
From claiming scientific proof of female inferiority to prescribing the “rest cure” to labeling patients as “hysterical,” the medical profession treated women as weak and pathological—and here, the authors of the “underground classic” Witches, Midwives, and Nurses (Kirkus Reviews) show how this biomedical rationale was used to justify sex discrimination throughout the culture, as well as how its vestiges are still evident in abortion policy and other reproductive rights struggles.
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    Nast Huertacompartió una citael año pasado
    But in our concern to understand more about our own biology, for our own purposes, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is not our biology that oppresses us—but a social system based on sex and class domination.
    This, to us, is the most profoundly liberating feminist insight—the understanding that our oppression is socially, and not biologically, ordained. To act on this understanding is to ask for more than “control over our own bodies.” It is to ask for, and struggle for, control over the social options available to us, and control over all the institutions of society that now define those options.
    Nast Huertacompartió una citael año pasado
    It is easy enough to say that we must recognize the diversity of women’s needs, and that the demands we make of the medical system must represent the broadest possible range of women’s experience. But once we begin to talk about needs beyond the most minimal survival services (contraception, cancer screening, etc.), we are no longer on very firm ground. How much of our “need” is manufactured, and how much is real?
    Nast Huertacompartió una citael año pasado
    Self-help is not an alternative to confronting the medical system with the demands for reform of existing institutions. Self-help, or more generally, self-knowledge, is critical to that confrontation.

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