Penises and Privilege: Stumbling Towards Gilead

There appears to be a nationwide obsession with female reproductive health and, by extension, women’s sexual performance, and its relationship to the state. Women’s access to reproductive health services and the means to exercise full sexual autonomy (which, for heterosexual women, means birth control, including the option of abortion) has been regulated and, in some states, denied under both public and private insurance plans. Meanwhile, lawmakers have chosen to ensure that male sexual performance and the pleasure it brings is available even to those men who are on Medicare. Earlier this year, female lawmakers across the country, fed up with this sexual double standard, began introducing legislation targeting male sexual and reproductive health.

Sunday Morning Medicine

The Berlin Wall as a medical cure?
Women’s struggle over sterilization.
The enslaved Master Chefs of Thomas Jefferson.
Massive slave burial ground found in the Caribbean.
How contraception could save thousands of lives around the world.
Oh, those “distracting” rape crisis centers.

Nursing Clio Wants You!

Nursing Clio, a blog dedicated to discussing the history behind contemporary issues regarding medicine, health, sex, race, women, and gender, is looking for historians to become regular contributors. We are very interested in those who are writing about race, gender and medicine. We would also welcome those who can examine these topics from a global, transnational, or national perspective. Nursing Clio is a coherent, intelligent, informative, and fun historical source for these issues, and we are looking for indivduals who are excited at the propect of engaging in a public venue, examining how the personal is history.

Looking Like a MILF

“Don’t expect it to be flat,” is what the nurse said to me just hours after I had given birth to my son. You know she must have seen me glance in the mirror as I was climbing, actually dragging my beat up body into bed. I look at her and said, “huh?” “Your stomach, don’t expect it to be flat,” she pointed to my enlarged abdomen, “Many women think that once they give birth, *poof* their stomachs immediately go flat.” Since I had never experienced a flat stomach ever in my lifetime, I kind of smirked, looked in the mirror one more time, and thought, “it will go down.” But it never really did, especially when I found myself pregnant a year later (yeah, what was I thinking). In that time between the birth of my son and then the birth of daughter, I thought a lot about how I wanted to look as a mother, but it wasn’t until I made the conscious choice (well really my hubby did) not to have any more children, did I really begin to assess the historical and contemporary meaning behind motherhood and attractiveness. This led me to think more about the MILF and the idea of the sexy mama.

Sex Glands, Stem Cells, and “He Men”

By Adam Turner

It was 1921. A time in America remembered for activity, life, and energy. But Arthur was tired. A merchant, 57 years old, he’d lived with chronic arthritis in both knees since his late 30s. Recently the pain had been getting worse. Arthur had trouble walking just one or two city blocks. And it wasn’t just his knees. He didn’t feel as ambitious as he used to. He felt his memory was failing. He also noted a “distinct decrease” in his sexual potency. Rather than take these changes in his body as just the signs of aging, Arthur sought the services of a doctor who might help him. The doctor Arthur went to see was Harry Benjamin.

Sunday Morning Medicine

Lost and found report cards.
Probably the most disturbing feminine hygiene ad ever (and as gender historians, we’ve seen many).
Did you celebrate Independence Day? These suffragettes did not.
20th century author Anaïs Nin insisted on poetry in her erotic fiction.

Sunday Morning Medicine

The toxic history of preserving body parts.
The story of the modern toilet.
AHA roundtable on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Health Care Act.
Whatever happened to Stonewall Jackson’s arm?
The very recent and surprising history of pink and blue as gender signifiers.
Masculinity and submission.

Designing Women: Midwives, Class, and Choice

A couple of weeks ago The New York Times ran an article that asked its readers, “are midwives becoming trendy, like juice cleanses and Tom’s shoes?”  Turns out, yes.  At least for “the famous and the fashionable.” Although the article highlights an increased social acceptance of midwifery, the idea of midwives as being the marker of… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

The computer your viewing this on was brought to you by a gay man.
Want to date like it’s 1938? Here’s a handy guide!
The long (and quite technical) history of the espresso machine.
The very first drinking song discovered?
The mystery of Dolly Madison’s red dress.
Were nuns too sexy in the Middle Ages?

Better Babies, Fitter Families, and Toddlers and Tiaras: Eugenics in American History

Once upon a time (about two months ago) a group of academics/activists got together to start Nursing Clio, a collaborative blog project that aimed to engage with historical scholarship as a means to contextualize present-day political, social, and cultural issues surrounding gender and medicine. To be honest with you, dear readers (all 5 of you), in the planning stages I sometimes doubted whether we would have enough present-day material to continue the blog past the first month. What if we ran out of material? What if we said everything we needed to say? I made sure to make a list of emergency blog post ideas just in case we got desperate.

As it turns out, we have never once had to break into the emergency blog post survival kit. Between the North Carolina preacher who invoked the Holocaust in an anti-gay sermon, to the continuing War on Women, to the new movie Hysteria – our gender, medicine, and history cup runneth over, my friends.