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Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine and Myth in a Man-Made World

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A trailblazing conversation-starting history of women's health--from Ancient Greece to hormones and autoimmune diseases--brought together in a fascinating sweeping narrative

In thirteenth-century Europe, Roman Catholicism decreed that menstruation was the curse of Eve, part of the punishment issued by God to all earthly women. In the 1860s, female circumcision was considere
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Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Published June 10th 2021 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published June 8th 2021)
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Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Unwell Women is an utterly incredible book. It explores the history of women through the lens of medicine, and how the intrinsic patriarchal bias that exists within medicine has impacted on the lives of women down throughout the ages.

In the book, author Elinor Cleghorn (herself an unwell woman), carefully details the history of medicine and the ways in which unwell women have not been listened to by the medical community, and how women as a whole have been denied agency over their own wellbeing
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Annie
Apr 25, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a compelling historical survey of the way that medicine has failed and exploited women since the Classical period and beyond. Cleghorn includes her own perspective as an unwell woman but it is primarily an objective account of the rhetoric that was and is used to control women's bodies, perpetuate myths about child-bearing being the raison d'être of every woman's life, and discredit women's accounts of illness while legitimizing men's accounts. I recommend this book to anyone who is inte ...more
Annette Jordan
Unwell Women: A Journey through Medicine and Myth in a Man Made World by Elinor Cleghorn is a concise account of how myth, misinformation and misdiagnosis of women's health issues has persisted to the current day where the understanding and treatment of unwell women still leaves much to be desired in far too many instances.
Moving from ancient Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Victorian Era and right up to the current day the author examines how the same ideas , often without any scien
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Yolanda Sfetsos
Just like The Menopause Manifesto, this is a book that I just had to get my hands on. Also, the cover is gorgeous.

As a girl who grew up to become a woman, I'm no stranger to being dismissed or harassed because of my gender. I've also experienced plenty of reactions from male doctors who either made me feel like I was complaining about nothing, overdoing it, or made it sound like every symptom in the world was somehow closely tied to my gender and weight.

So, of course this book instantly caught
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Kayleigh Brooks
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really detailed and interesting look at the treatment of women during the history of medicine in the Western world.

Particularly of interest was the "wondering uterus" theories of the ancient Greeks, the pushing out and persecution of women practising medicine and then being accused of witchcraft and the in depth analysis through time of hysteria.

I really liked how each part was presented and that it was acknowledged when a doctor or activist had also held troublesome beliefs.

This took me long
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Lauren
“This book delves into the ways that androcentric medicine has studied, assessed, and defined the biological and anatomical conditions labeled ‘female.’”

In Unwell Women, Elinor Cleghorn compiles and exposes the history of women’s medicine. Beginning with Hippocrates and stretching to the present, this book presents countless stories of women suffering at the hands of male doctors. Whether the theories those doctors espoused are laugh-out-loud ridiculous or downright horrifying, they are importan
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Christy
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a powerful history of how women’s health and women’s bodies have been medicalized, demonized, controlled, or ignored throughout western history, starting with Greek philosophers, to the witch hunts of the 1400’s and 1500’s, to lobotomies in the 1950’s for any number of “unexplained” maladies to the present day. The author includes her own experience with lupus and the seven years it took her to get a diagnosis, as well as the particularly harmful effects of medical practices and pre ...more
Chantal Lyons
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Unwell Women' is nothing if not thorough. The amount of research Cleghorn must have done for it is surely immense, and I'm in awe.

We begin as far back as Ancient Greece, and linger in the Medieval era as we encounter a procession of twisted religious views on women's bodies and minds and how these fuelled witch hunts. Moving forwards into the 1800s/early 1900s, much of the story shifts to the U.S. and medical "progress" which often came at the cost of causing terrible harm to women's bodies, i
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Verity Halliday
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Unwell Women is a comprehensive and clearly communicated history of the way medicine and doctors have treated women throughout history. The tale is a constant stream of disbelieving women’s pain, assigning all ailments to women’s “misuse” of their reproductive organs, general sexism, eugenics and racism, punishing women for their illnesses and causing tremendous harm for not-very-good reasons.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. It’s clear that education, research and belie
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Sarah
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books starts with Hippocrates and the ancient Greeks and works its way through history to lay out the misinformation and bias against women in Western medicine has and continues to affect the way women are treated and diagnosed with disease. At lot of this history is brutal. Terrible things have been done particularly to BIPOC, disabled, and poor women throughout history, and this book does not shy away from that truth.

This book isn't an easy read, but it's an important one to understand th
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Jillian Doherty
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Narrative nonfiction that enrages while it empowers (at least it did for me)!

A timeline illustrating bold and accumulative pressures - reaching back to the 5th century to present. Deftly outlining physical, emotional, social, male dominated repression that all women have felt at some level. While we all understand these facets, to varying degrees- there's never been a collective voice that so well illustrates it visceral, with historical and scientific backing.

If you're a fan of Stacy Schiff,
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Dolank
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you for writing this, you are empowering voices.
Emily
Required Reading.
Andréa
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
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