Holy Hormones Journal – I love the byline on this blog – ‘Because the Personal is Historical’. The author, Carrie Adkins is so correct how society views women is reflected in our laws and guidelines on sex, reproduction, contraception and abortion. Women are victimized and held accountable in all of these areas. Then throw in the Gardasil HPV vaccine – and place the onus of blame on young girls having STD’s.
They are already struggling with their self image over menstruation and then add in the shame for being unclean from HPV.
Women’s history – and the ongoing cultural and religious perceptions of women’s roles over the years needs to be understood so that women can take off the blinders and start realizing how we have become manipulated and demonized by the very men and their practices we have been taught to revere and uphold.
Wonder Woman Wields a Speculum
Nursing Clio – Because the Personal is Historical
by Carrie Adkins on May 12, 2012
“As a historian writing about women’s health, though, I kept thinking that taken together, these developments were about so much more than sex, reproduction, contraception, and abortion. They were about the gendered dynamics of power, about the way that we, as a society, view women.”
Like many graduate students, I obsess about my particular academic interests and have a hard time letting them go at the end of the day. I happen to study the history of women and medicine in the United States, so I see my specialization everywhere, often to the dismay of my friends and family. I interrupt movies to point out inaccuracies and anachronisms, and I offer unsolicited historical commentary about the depictions of women on Mad Men. I lecture people about the stupidity of 1950s nostalgia, and I get angry about advertisements for Dr. Pepper. I am, in short, lots of fun at parties.
I realize, when I do these things, that I’m being obnoxious. I know that most people don’t want to hear about history all the time, and so, for most of my grad school career, I’ve been making an effort to separate my academic life from my “real” one. Balance is good! We don’t need to look at every current development through the lenses of gender or medical history! Right? Right. But then, this past winter, I started writing my dissertation about the history of gynecology, and, at the same time, a series of disturbing gynecology-related stories started appearing with increasing frequency in the news. These stories made my research seem uncomfortably, horrifyingly relevant, and suddenly, my academic life was my real life. Here is a brief sampling, which is by no means complete:
- In Virginia, Republicans proposed a bill requiring any woman who wanted an abortion to submit to a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound first. The bill was amended before it was passed to allow for a less invasive abdominal ultrasound.
- A Georgia state representative named Terry England argued that women should not be allowed to abort stillborn fetuses but should, instead, suffer through labor and delivery. He supported this argument by comparing women to livestock, suggesting that if cows and pigs could deliver dead babies, women could do the same.
- Arizona passed a bill permitting physicians to withhold information from their pregnant patients about their health and the health of their fetuses, provided that the deception is intended to prevent women from choosing abortions.
- Republicans in Arizona also proposed a bill requiring women with birth control covered by health insurance to prove to their employers that they needed the pill for a medical reason, not for contraception. Women who continued to use birth control for the prevention of pregnancy could be fired.