Breast cancer runs in my family, discussed by us for many years only in Southern whispers and associated with deep remorse. It also runs among close friends, whose families are less reserved, but who struggle with deep grief. My family whispers about breast cancer are oxymoronic given the number of books about the women’s health movement that line my bookcases. The women’s health movement ferrets out myths that mainstream science perpetuates about women’s bodies. Sometimes, even today, it’s still hard to distinguish “fact from fiction” in mainstream science without a copy of  Our Bodies and Ourselves, though. Is it true that childlessness causes women soRead More →

A recent visit to the ophthalmologist reminded me of the marriage plot and how much it’s woven into the fabric of our everday lives – even down to medical records for health care where marriage is irrelevant. Why does marital status affect eye care? The marriage plot is the standard narrative arc of stories that culminate in middle class, heterosexual romantic bliss. It’s the two-kid, picket-fence story of heteronormativity, i.e., not just heteronormativity or compulsory heterosexuality, but compulsory heterosexuality come to closure with marriage. Why does my eye doctor care if I’m married? Why check a box indicating married, divorced, or single? How is thatRead More →

Today I had a hot flash in my office, which is a feat since my office is ice-box cold. My cheeks got red, my hair clung to my neck, and I got prickly both emotionally and physically. It was a full-fledged where’s-my-chainsaw inferno. To celebrate the hotflash in this blog entry, I searched for an amusing yet affirming cartoon-like picture of a uterus – something Alison Bechdel might draw or Betty White might have laughed at, oh, thirty years ago. All the uteri out there are hungry for babies, not old and happy to retire.  Pictures abound of pregnant women, women with headaches,  and relativelyRead More →

This week I received many Facebook messages urging me to tell my friends “where I like it” in my Facebook status. I’ve seen my friends post such mysterious statuses as “I like it on the chandelier” and “I like it on my car seat.” This morning I posted, “I like mine without pinkwashing.” Many people didn’t understand my status or why the meme makes me so angry. I have two simple answers: 1. I hate pinkwashing. 2. This is nothing but Facebook slactivism. Put differently, I do not believe that if I post an “I like it…” status on Facebook, I have done something significantRead More →

Over Thanksgiving I had a conversation with my mother-in-law about women doctors. She explained that she had to see a woman eye doctor because her regular doctor was unavailable and that this made her uncomfortable. Some people are uncomfortable with women doctors even today. Comfort with a doctor is an emotional thing, not something you can necessarily address rationally. With each generation this discomfort will lessen. Still, when I play the very old doctor riddle with students in class, most can’t solve it. Here’s the riddle: A man and his son were in a car and had an accident on the highway. The boy wasRead More →

Google doesn’t allow abortion providers to advertise. Fair or not, that’s beside the point. The result, unfortunately, is that the google metrics or whatever it’s called elevates Christian pro-life clinics. Today, I was looking up examples of arguments for pro-choice and pro-life positions to bring to class. I Googled “pro-choice+arguments” and got an astounding number of hits that were Christian, anti-choice sites providing counter-arguments. Then I Googled “pro-life+arguments,” and I got the same thing. There were some pro-choice sites, but overall the hits favored the pro-life position. Certainly, the recursivity of Google’s search engine, combined with their choice about advertising, has caused this depressing result.Read More →

Today I visited the gynecologist’s office for my annual exam. The visit reminded me intimately of why I’m a feminist, and why feminism is still necessary today. Times have changed since the emergence of the women’s health movement in the 1960s (see Into Our Own Hands by Sandra Morgen), and since I read and studied Mary Daly’s Gyn/ecology and the early versions of the Boston Women’s Health Collective’s Our Bodies, Ourselves. Or, perhaps not. My visit was utterly..well…disheartening – even if you pretend all the problems about women’s reproductive freedom, the medicalization of women’s bodies, and women’s health were off the table. I waited anRead More →

Ever since I saw Jon Stewart’s spiel about emboldening the enemy on the Daily Show, I’ve been hyper-conscious of the word. Here’s this nifty entry on emboldening the enemy at Source Watch. When I saw a headline at MSNBC, it consequently caught my attention: Abortion ruling emboldens opponents. “Emboldening” is a word I associate so closely with “terrorists,” so that it’s not hard to interpret “Abortion ruling emboldens opponents” as “Abortion ruling emboldens terrorists.” Surely that wasn’t the implication. Or not…? Maybe it’s just a vast liberal conspiracy. I wish there were such a thing.Read More →