Audiobook, Books, Feminism, History, Medicine, Non-Fiction, Science

Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn is a well-researched feminist history of women’s health

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World by Elinor Cleghorn, the author’s debut, is an in-depth history of women’s health published earlier this year by Dutton Books. I was happy to see that in the introduction, the author notes that not all people who menstruate are women, and that not all women have a uterus. This bode well for the rest of the book, which points out outdated terms of the past and how we view them today.

The first section of this book includes a history of women’s health, starting in ancient Greece with wandering wombs, and then take us through the middle ages with plague and witchcraft. Before reading this book, I was unaware that doctors in the late Victorian era in England were using clitoridectomies as a medical procedure to prevent “hysteria” amongst other “diseases” (like masturbation).

It is very easy to see how well-researched Cleghorn is on this topic, with endless interesting examples and tons of primary sources cited. I originally borrowed the audiobook version from my local library, but I liked this book so much that I ordered a physical copy for myself as well.

Unwell Women: 9781474616867: Amazon.com: Books
The UK cover is pretty gorgeous.

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