There has been a lot of controversy recently over Skinny Gossip’s criticisms of Kate Upton’s body. The site called her well-marbled and an example of how we are 80% genetically identical to cows (which is news to me). The outrage was loud and the fury palpable as website after website howled in protest over the Skinny Gossip’s insistence that Upton was fat. Yes, fat. I am not one who spends a considerable amount of time on any website (except for Nursing Clio and Facebook, of course), but I decided to devote some time on Skinny Gossip.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Having researched and delivered conference papers on the topic, the medical historian in me danced a little jig when I heard Sony Pictures Classics was releasing a movie called “Hysteria.” I did, however, enter the theater with some reservations. Motion picture portrayals are notorious for being historically inaccurate, and if films are true to history, those not in the field tend to find it a little, well, boring. (That is unless Werner Herzog is narrating it with his dry but inadvertently humorous observations.) Thankfully, the $7.50 spent on a matinee wasn’t a waste at all. Just about anyone- unless you are akin to the Victorian “social purist” Anthony Comstock- can walk away from this movie feeling quite satisfied.
Our own Carolyn Herbst Lewis recently sat down with Jackie Wolf, host of WOUB’s Conversations From Studio B, to talk about her new book, Prescription For Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era. Carolyn’s book examines “how medical practitioners, especially family physicians, situated themselves as the guardians of Americans’ sexual well-being during the early years of the Cold War.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this late-breaking historical analysis of the news. I planned on devoting my blogpost this week to my experiences documenting the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, but then Pastor Worley happened. The head of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina recently delivered a fiery sermon denouncing President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. His now-infamous sermon has swept the blogosphere and created easy fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. In Worley’s sermon he urges his congregation to never vote for “a baby killer and a homosexual lover.” Although some in the LBGT community would question whether the President is, in fact, a “homosexual lover,” many others, however, see the President’s public proclamation of support as a monumental step forward in the Gay Right’s Movement. Worley, on the other hand, sees Obama’s endorsement as a sin against nature, America and Christianity.
I remember the moment I found out I was pregnant. It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, the temperature was about 70 degrees, with a light breeze from the south, and the birds sang a glorious tune as I informed my wonderful husband that I was pregnant. We both hugged and contemplated the gift that was growing in my belly and what fantastic parents we were going to be. Pregnancy was just the beginning…
Going to a doctor, you generally expect a remedy to your problem. In fact, some times you might demand a cure even when there may not be one. (Now, be honest- How often have you visited a doctor’s office with a cold or a stomach virus and said, “But I don’t want it to run it’s course! Isn’t there something you can give me to make me better?!?”) Pain during sex can prompt visits, however uncomfortable they might be, to your general practitioner, urologist, or gynecologist. And, you expect results. After all, problems in bed can lead to other consequences- strain in the relationship, inability to conceive, linking sex with negativity rather than pleasure or enjoyment. Yet, barring an obvious physical problem, pain during sex, for women, is usually classified as vaginismus or dyspareunia- both mental disorders.
This view of female sexual dysfunction probably wouldn’t be as disturbing if this didn’t have sexist roots dating back over a century….