The clitoris, pain and pap smears: how Our Bodies, Ourselves redefined women’s health

0
55

The clitoris, pain and pap smears: how Our Bodies, Ourselves redefined women’s health

First published 50 years ago, the feminist classic was hugely influential, telling truths about women’s bodies long obscured by a chauvinist medical establishment

In 1969, Wendy Sanford was still in the early days of her marriage, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and their newborn son. A couple of years earlier, she had graduated with high honours from the prestigious Radcliffe College, and yet the path before her was clear: domesticity, home decor, dinner parties. She struggled with this new life. “My husband was so disappointed that I wasn’t happy,” Sanford remembers. “I cried a lot. I was in the middle of postpartum depression, and had no words for it at all.”

Sanford spoke to her doctor, who suggested she find solace in raising the next generation and supporting her husband. He also prescribed a diaphragm. She asked when she ought to put it in, and the doctor gave her the same mantra he gave all of his female patients: dinner, dishes, diaphragm. “So that was the era,” Sanford says. “And he was a very kind man, but he embodied sexist medical care. He had no idea that he was just pushing me into the arms of feminism.”

Continue reading…

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/apr/22/our-bodies-ourselves-clitoris-pain-pap-smears-womens-health