Complaints & Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness

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The Feminist Press at CUNY, Jul 1, 2011 - Health & Fitness - 112 pages

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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Title Page
Women and Medicine in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth
The Sick Women of the Upper Classes
The Sickening Women of the Working Class
Notes on the Situation Today 1973
Concluding Thoughts

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About the author (2011)

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

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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