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

Elinor Cleghorn

6 Reviews

Rated 0

History

A groundbreaking new story of women's journey through medicine, exposing the historic origins of the gender pain gap.

Medicine carries the burden of its own troubling history. Over centuries, women's bodies have been demonised and demeaned until we feared them, felt ashamed of them, were humiliated by them. But as doctors, researchers, campaigners and most of all as patients, women have continuously challenged medical orthodoxy. Medicine's history has always been, and is still being, rewritten by women's resistance, strength and incredible courage.

In this ground-breaking history Elinor Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women's bodies, illness and pain. From the 'wandering womb' of ancient Greece to today's shifting understanding of hormones, menstruation and menopause, Unwell Women is the revolutionary story of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical misogyny. Drawing on Elinor's own experience as an unwell woman, this is a powerful and timely expose of the medical world and woman's place within it.

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

  • UNWELL WOMEN is a powerful and fascinating book that takes an unsparing look at how women's bodies have been misunderstood and misdiagnosed for centuries. From wandering wombs to demonic explanations of menopause, Elinor Cleghorn packs each page with disturbing historical details that will haunt your psyche for days and weeks to come. - Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering Art

  • Unwell Women is one of the most important books of our generation. I read it in a rage, and recognised myself in its pages. - Fern Riddell, author of Death in Ten Minutes

  • Cultural historian Cleghorn's meticulous and wide-ranging debut examines the links between patriarchy, misogyny, and the mistreatment of women's health needs... After building a damning historical case against the medical field, Cleghorn shares the harrowing story of how her symptoms were "overlooked, ignored, and dismissed" for seven years before she was diagnosed with lupus. The result is a deeply informed and passionately argued call for change. - Publishers Weekly

  • This book will make you angry. And so it should! Just like their brains, women's bodies have been treated as defective and deficient for centuries... Even in the 21st Century Cleghorn uncovers harsh truths about medicine's continuing biases, especially in the intersection between gender and race. Hopefully this book will be a wake-up call to a profession that can still refer dismissively to 'women's problems.' - Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain

  • If doctors have ever misdiagnosed you, disbelieved your symptoms, or discriminated against you, then Unwell Women is the holy grail of answers you have been waiting for. Elinor Cleghorn has written a decisive, comprehensive, well-researched, and fascinating book about the ways in which medicine has failed women, from the 19th century until now, and what that neglect has cost us-including our lives. I wish I'd had this book in 2018 when I was fighting with my gynecologist to remove my fibroids, but I am glad to have it as I navigate two chronic illnesses; as we continually negotiate power dynamics with doctors, Unwell Women will instantly become an invaluable addition to the arsenal of tools we need to fight for the care we deserve. - Evette Dionne, author of Lifting as We Climb

  • If you live in a female body, and if you've ever thought to yourself, "Why-oh-why are doctors not taking my legitimate health concerns seriously," this book answers that question definitively. This history of the female patient is the one I was searching for the entire time I was writing my own book, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. One thousand more books like this, please. - Sarah Ramey, author of The Lady's Handbook For Her Mysterious Illness

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Elinor Cleghorn

Dr Elinor Cleghorn is a feminist cultural historian. After receiving her PhD in 2012, Elinor spent three years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Ruskin School, University of Oxford, working on an interdisciplinary medical humanities project. She now works as a writer and researcher, and lives in Sussex. Her own pain and other symptoms were dismissed for seven years before she was finally diagnosed with lupus.

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