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 →
Category: Clio Reads
“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.
Ghostbelly: A Memoir. By Elizabeth Heineman. (New York: The Feminist Press, 2014. 320 pp. $16.95.) How do you grieve for a stillborn child? How do you ensure your child is remembered for having lived, not just for having died? These are the questions that Elizabeth Heineman explores in the unflinching, yet deeply intimate, Ghostbelly: A… Read more →