Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution” as Want to Read:
Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  72 reviews
An eye-opening, investigative account of the dismal state of women's healthcare in the U.S.

One of Elle's "30 Best Books to Read This Summer"

American women visit more doctors, have more surgery, and fill more prescriptions than men. In Everything Below the Waist, Jennifer Block asks: Why is the life expectancy of women today declining relative to women in other high-income
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Everything Below the Waist, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Everything Below the Waist

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  72 reviews

Sort order
Start your review of Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

It's been reported that doctors dismiss female patients while taking seriously male patients. For instance, doctors are more likely to miss symptoms of heart disease or heart attack in women than in men. Jennifer Block’s argument is that a feminist revolution in medicine is very needed, but that’ll only happen when the medical establishment genuinely values women; when women are more empowered; and when they're allowed to have a larger say in their care. Doctors need to check
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, feminism
Even though I haven't read it, I've rated it five stars to cancel out the one-star review of a guy who seems to be a Neo-Nazi.

Edit: I have read it, and I no longer have it rated five stars because I don't feel right giving an untrue rating. Basically, I liked it and think it's incredibly important. I was familiar with the subject of over-prescribed c-sections and other birth issues from the experiences of my mother, but most of the others I had little foreknowledge about. Every chapter was
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*dates reflect when my hold ran out on Overdrive app and had to wait my long wait for my turn again.*

Audiobook narrator: 5 stars

This is such an an important book, everyone needs to read it. I will be recommending this to all my friends and family (and my niece when she is old enough to understand ).

So much in this I didn't know (and some things that made me see red and want to HulkSmash). It definitely shows you how screwed up our healthcare system is.

Definitely buying a copy for my shelves if
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This book wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, but it is a solid introduction into the issue of women's health care. I expected this book to cover more general topics of health and look into how women may have a more difficult time being heard within the medical community, but instead it focused on women-specific health concerns, such as the Pill, female organs, pregnancy, and related topics. While this book was well-written and straight-forward, so that the average person like me could ...more
Donna Hines
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
"An eye-opening, investigative account of the dismal state of women's healthcare in the U.S."
As a woman who has suffered from chronic back pain which was finally diagnosed 30 yrs later as spinal canal stenosis, DDD, Bilateral Facet Atrophy, and severe foraminal narrowing requiring surgery I can tell you this, never trust doctors when they note that's normal wear and tear, that taking steroids or drugs is common place, that it is not significant or that as the physical therapist told me once they
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
(I received my ARC of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway).

I will start off by saying this book has taken me so long to finish because it is so heavy and in your face with information that it is at times quite overwhelming. (The first chapter about birth control pills actually sent me into a panic attack).

However, as I've continued reading, this book has become my very own personal Healthcare Bible. I've probably dog eared at least 50 pages for my own future reference because I kept reading and
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

An eye-opening, investigative account of the dismal state of women's healthcare in the U.S.

American women visit more doctors, have more surgery, and fill more prescriptions than men. In Everything Below the Waist, Jennifer Block asks: Why is the life expectancy of women today declining
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This is a book about feminism’s unfinished revolution in women’s health.”

Fascinating, informative, and appalling, Jennifer Block has written the most revealing book on women’s healthcare to date. This one is a must read for every woman currently under the care of the US healthcare system as well as all medical providers.

Offering up an extensive history of women’s healthcare, this book can at times be a bit dry. But those dry facts shed light on history many of us may not know as well as the
Renay Russell
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read - found it quite eye opening
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I wanted to read it immediately. As someone who has both chronic physical and mental illnesses, I have experienced the way our medical community often treats women. Everything Below the Waist contains not only a great deal of information on the state of women's healthcare, but also includes a lot of real life stories from women. I very much agree with the statement in the synopsis, that women are often over-diagnosed and over-treated. And I have ...more
Ian Rose
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a hard book for me to review. It wasn't written for me, and I'm not qualified to criticize it, many of the ideas, terminology and situations in it being new to me. I think it's important for men, particularly men in politics and public policy, to be at least basically literate on women's health. I'd prefer that my opinion was never asked on this topic, but it is, every time I vote, and so I should be minimally educated. I learned a lot from this book, but I will say I can't go as far as the ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything Below the Waist is a thorough investigation of women's health care. Block examines topics such as birth control, fertility/infertility, routine gynecological exams, and so much more. She dives deeply into each topic, and her research often goes back decades as she strives to give readers an understanding of how practices have evolved over the last 50-100 years. She makes a solid case that many common practices for women's health care are not based on good research and are not serving ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got an ADC from Netgalley for review.

I finished this a couple of days ago but I was not sure how to review it.

I went back and forth on 4 or 5 stars, because there was a lot I disagreed with but ultimately it was so well written, and taught me so much I didn't know about previous fights for abortion rights, that I could justify the 5 stars for info and research. I loved the knowledge and history shared.

I knew a little about birth trauma but some of the stories in's enough to make you
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Block's PUSHED was an influential work in the fight against medicalized birth. I found it to be the most well-researched book I read while preparing for the deliveries of my children in 2012 and 2015. While there are never any easy answers when it comes to birth, Block covered the story from a well-rounded and evidence-based point of view. I appreciated this same perspective in this book, which expands the scope to include birth control, IVF, hysterectomy, and abortion. I generally consider ...more
Victoria Tice
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for every woman.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Everything you think you know about women’s medicine is wrong. From IUDs to abortion to the birth business ... this book is eye opening.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An eye-opening, important book about inequality in medical care for women. Provides hard to come by statistics.
Cynthia D
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy cannoli! This book is chock full of information and so many bits of historical information around why healthcare is the way it is for women today. I really didn't expect that when I requested this book, and I'm pleasantly surprised by that.

I have a public health background and did an internship at Planned Parenthood as a student, so these issues are near and dear to me. Jennifer Block did a great job at processing all the information and history around topics like birth control, abortion,
Sammi Jayne Brooks
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Anyone that reads my reviews knows I hate "copy and paste" books. So for me to be giving this book 5 STARS is an incredible achievement.

I'm also not one to like reading stuff that makes no sense to me (OK, who is?), like detailed science or topics I don't know much about, but the author has made this very easy to read. They have used quotes from other websites and then added their own sentences in-between to make sense of what is being said.

Because of how the author has written this book, it
Mama's Got a Plan
Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution, is NOT Jennifer Block’s plea for everyone to donate more to Planned Parenthood. Instead it is a critical view of all aspects of women’s reproductive health care. Block covers obstetric violence, as she did in her first book, Pushed, before the term even existed. But she goes on to review fertility technology, pelvic pain, sexual pleasure, and gynecological teaching assistants, among many other useful and fascinating topics. ...more
The Lexington Bookie
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-tlb
Holy. WOW.

Not even 5% into this eARC galley I was already astounded. Block does her research and backs it with scientific evidence, case studies, and even more research! Right out of the gate, she is offering factual information without holding anything back, yet staying absolutely in control of her writing. However, it's not like reading a text book- it's like listening to your best friend who happens to by a genius feminist OB/GYN give a presentation to a room full of women, and you happen to
Carol Evans
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Everything Below the Waist by Jennifer Block was eye-opening. In the last few years, I’ve gone out of my way to see women doctors, they make me more comfortable and I feel like they listen better, but to be honest, I hadn’t really thought beyond that. Block’s focus is on women’s reproductive health specifically, but she does talk about how doctors and the medical establishment treat women both now and historically.

Female reproductive health covers a range of sub-topics, and Block laid out the
Ari Santillanes
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, I finally finished my summer reading challenge. And I am so glad I picked this book from a list of new releases recommended by the librarian. It took me a bit of time to read. Factor in the start of the school year and triaging more student writing.

When I was reading this book, I felt seen. At every age of my reproductive health. I recognized the teenager on birth control for myriad benefits and educated on none of the future consequences. I recognized the expectant mother pressured to
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good, robust and thorough examination of issues related to health care for women. It goes far beyond the typical "they only do experiments on men!" common complaint, examining topics such as pregnancy, menstruation, miscarriage, abortion, menopause, as well as issues affecting both genders but that are commonly approached differently depending on the person in question.

At times I felt this book went a bit too far in the "drama queen" direction--i.e., I felt it was complaining slightly too
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was hard to read. It broke my heart, enraged me, but also made me feel validated in my experiences. At times, I'd catch myself clenching my jaw at the horror of the experiences documented here, or I'd feel my lip curl up involuntarily.

I wish I could say I don't believe a lot of what's in here, but either I or someone I know has had similar experiences. I think this book is going to make a lot of people angry, but I think people should be angry about the state of care for women in this
Darcie K
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Good lord, why is everything so f*cking hard? Doctors don't know about women's bodies because they rely on research done by men on men's bodies. Oh, and traditional interpretations of history inform men (and women) that women's opinions and experiences are of a lesser value. Real conversation I had in an emergency room: "Pain? Maybe it's anxiety." "It's not. I don't have anything to be anxious about." "Hmm. Try relaxing for the next few weeks and let me know how the pain is." "I think it's more ...more
Elaine Ruth Boe
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
I'm not sure how exactly to rate this book. It made me question basically everything, but I don't know what I'll do with that wariness moving forward. Some questions, like about different forms of birth control side effects and the pros/cons of c-sections, I knew a little about. Others, like safe forms of abortion and marketing around the gardasil shot, I didn't even know to question. Basically, I finished this book skeptical about everything anyone, medical or otherwise, tells me about female ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, feminism
Advance copy from NetGalley-- and I am grateful. I didn't realize there was so much I didn't know about my own reproductive organs (and a lot I did know but it's still fascinating to read about). If you want to know more about how ignorance of the female anatomy system and pathology has painful consequences for women, read this book to better educate yourself and others so that more doctors/nurses/medical professionals will listen to women.

"Women are more likely to have physical symptoms than
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A strong contribution to feminist health advocacy literature! Block covers her vast topics well. Occasionally, I wanted her to delve further into a topic, or to more continually emphasize health disparities, especially among women of color (though she does so a solid amount and acknowledges that she's leaving out hurdles faced by trans people). Nonetheless, this book is solidly anti-oppression--radical in its reach and questioning of orthodoxy. I learned plenty, even as someone immersed in ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy cow. I have not read a book like this since college. There were as many things that resonated with me as things that challenged beliefs I've comfortably held for my entire adult life.

I loved the balance between evidence-based approach, historical context and anecdotal stories to drive the point(s) home. I loved that some parts were completely my lived experience (vulvodynia), and others I've had friends experience (the horrible system that is the fertility world), and some that I've never
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down
  • Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence
  • The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World
  • Spiritual Midwifery
  • Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention
  • Red River Girl: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine
  • No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
  • The Witches Are Coming
  • Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian
  • The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina—Separating the Myth from the Medicine
  • On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane
  • When I Was White: A Memoir
  • Things We Didn't Talk About When I Was a Girl: A Memoir
  • Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying
  • This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto
  • Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World
  • Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America
  • March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women
See similar books…