Tag Archives: feminism

In sickness and in health: misogyny in medicine

Shreya Sharma Ontario, Canada   Image by Rene Asmussen from Pixabay “You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?”1 These words, spoken by the unnamed narrator of Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s 1892 short story The Yellow Wallpaper, could have been articulated by many women about their medical experiences. Women have […]

Seeking medicalization: chronic illness without diagnosed disease

Camille Kroll Chicago, Illinois, United States   Surgical scars and the expansion of narrative possibilities. By Camille Kroll. I was wheeled into the bright lights of the operating room with the symptom-based diagnoses of chronic pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome. When I groggily emerged several hours later, I had a new label: someone with […]

The life of a trailblazer: Ogino Ginko, one of the first female doctors in Japan

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo of Ogino Ginko. From the National Diet Library. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. Ogino Ginko was Japan’s first female doctor of Western medicine. She lived a life full of struggles, achieved a flash of fame, and then quietly retreated into history. She advocated for the rights, safety, and […]

Intersection of mental illness, the supernatural, and gender in Pakistan

Sualeha Siddiq Shekhani Karachi, Pakistan   Man with the spirit of his deceased second wife. William Hope. c. 1920 Credit: National Science and Media Museum. No known copyright restrictions. Maria sits across from me in a pristine clinic room in a private hospital in Pakistan. At first reluctant to speak about her husband’s illness, her […]

Salernitan women

Vicent Rodilla Alicia López-Castellano Valencia, Spain   Figure 1. A miniature from Avicenna’s Canon representing the Salernitan Medical School. Source The first medical school in the Western world is thought to be the Schola Medica Salernitana (Figure 1), which traces its origins to the dispensary of an early medieval monastery.1 The medical school at Salerno […]

Ethics, feminism, and cosmetic surgery

Unaiza Waheed London   Illustration by the author In Reshaping the Female Body, Kathy Davis expresses surprise when a feminist friend announces she is considering breast augmentation surgery: “[She] was very critical of the sufferings women have to endure because their bodies do not meet the normative requirements of feminine beauty,” yet she still felt […]

The Yellow Wallpaper: the flawed prescription

Mahek Khwaja  Karachi, Pakistan   Yellow Wallpaper Art: A Bowl with “The House”~ Tower, the Yellow Room. By Julie Jordan Scott on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her short story The Yellow Wallpaper in nineteenth-century America when gendered norms prevailed in society at large and notably in medicine. In a previous article, “Charlotte Perkins […]

Women in the medical profession: the trial of Jacoba Felicie de Almania

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A meeting of doctors at the university of Paris. From the “Chants royaux” manuscript, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. BNF, Français 1537, fol. 27v. Source In November 1322 a group of folk healers and empirics were put on trial by the Faculty of Medicine from the University of Paris. Their […]

Dr. Avery, Medicine Woman

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode, Island, United States   Doctor Alida C. Avery, Photo courtesy of Archives and Specials Collections/Vassar College Library. Source In July 1878, astronomers headed into the American West to observe a total eclipse of the sun. Among them was America’s only woman astronomer, Maria Mitchell of Vassar College, and four of her […]

A history of blood: hysteria, taboos, and evil

Danielle Dalechek Norfolk, Virginia, United States   The witch no. 1. Joseph E Baker. c1892. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. “Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?”  —Carl Jung   Historically, the opposite of purity was often viewed and represented as […]