“What makes a mother real?” asks writer and performer Alice Eve Cohen in her newly-published play, What I Thought I Knew. In 1999, Cohen experienced the most improbably and bizarrely complicated pregnancy imaginable. Her play is a crystallization of her stranger-than-fiction pregnancy memoir that was acclaimed at its 2009 publication with book-of-the-year awards from Salon… Read more →
Category: Clio Reads
Like the best action, the new comic Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears, Vol 1: Baby Talk starts in media res. Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) talks on the phone with her best friend Carol Danvers (AKA Captain Marvel) as they both kick some ass. Carol is off in outer space, so they catch up about Jessica’s pregnancy. Six months… Read more →
I have never known a person who was 100% content with everything about their body, 100% of the time. The pressure to be physically perfect — thin and athletic, with flawless skin and hair that conforms to the perfect straightness or curl you prefer — obviously falls especially hard on female-bodied people. I think most… Read more →
In American media and pop culture, there is a constant barrage of fear and panic about teens, especially girls, and sexuality. Are kids having sex too young, too frequently, with too little emotional attachment? Is alcohol causing them to make poor or reckless choices when it comes to sex? Why is sexual assault seemingly on… Read more →
When Barbara Brenner was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, friends recommended that she read Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals. That book, together with Lorde’s A Burst of Light, inspired her to become a breast cancer activist. Three years after her death from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2013, So Much To Be Done. The… Read more →
“Female genital pain” is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of often miserable, frequently perplexing conditions that render women’s genitals, external or internal or both, a zone of persistent, intransigent pain. Yet the names physicians have given these conditions are indicative of little more than their primary symptoms: “vulvodynia,” perhaps the most common diagnosis,… Read more →
One of the products of Americans’ growing consciousness around racism and the police killings of African Americans is the conversation about the “talk” that African American parents conduct with their sons and daughters. I do not recall my mother and father engaging me in a specific conversation, but rather a series of conversations about navigating… Read more →
By Carrie Adkins
Many Americans think of female circumcision and clitoridectomy as cultural or religious practices that have taken place primarily in other parts of the world — not as medical procedures performed by doctors in the United States for the past 150 years. And though scholars of gender, sex, and medicine have noted the significance of clitoral surgeries, we have been missing a historical monograph on the subject. Sarah B. Rodriguez’s new book, Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment, fills this gap in the scholarship and, more importantly, explores the relationships between clitoral surgeries, social prescriptions for female behavior, and cultural approaches to sexuality and marriage. It’s an important book, and many Nursing Clio readers will find it fascinating.
In Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements, historians Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry survey the women’s movement from 1920 to the present. That periodization might be, as their title suggests, surprising to some readers, since “the” women’s movement is primarily associated with the 1960s and 1970s. But Cobble,… Read more →
By Lara Freidenfelds
What would you do if you desperately wanted to have a baby, and your spouse had HIV? In the mid-1990s, the introduction of highly-effective HIV drug regimens turned HIV from a death sentence into a chronic condition. People with HIV and their life partners could begin to imagine creating families and living to see their children grow up. But it was not until 2014 that researchers and policy-makers approved a prophylactic regimen that effectively protects against HIV-transmission even without condom use. (It still is not officially condoned for family-building purposes, but some physicians are willing to prescribe it for that purpose.) For almost two decades, HIV-discordant couples faced a special kind of infertility: it was childlessness caused by the threat of illness, by fear, and by a traumatized, cautious public health and medical community that could not move beyond its initial message, that “only condoms prevent HIV transmission.”
A new e-book, Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory over HIV, takes us into the lives of two couples who lived this history.