Sunday 6 June 2021

UNWELL WOMEN by Elinor Cleghorn


'We are taught that medicine is the art of solving our body's mysteries. And as a science, we expect medicine to uphold the principles of evidence and impartiality. We want our doctors to listen to us and care for us as people, but we also need their assessments of our pain and fevers, aches and exhaustion to be free of any prejudice about who we are, our gender, or the colour of our skin. But medicine carries the burden of its own troubling history. The history of medicine, of illness, is a history of people, of their bodies and their lives, not just physicians, surgeons, clinicians and researchers. And medical progress has always reflected the realities of a changing world, and the meanings of being human.'

In Unwell Women Elinor Cleghorn unpacks the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women's bodies, and traces the journey from the 'wandering womb' of ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials in Medieval Europe, through the dawn of Hysteria, to modern day understandings of autoimmune diseases, the menopause and conditions like endometriosis. Packed with character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy - and drawing on her own experience of un-diagnosed Lupus disease - this is a ground-breaking and timely expose of the medical world and woman's place within it.

Just like The Menopause Manifesto, this is a book that I just had to get my hands on. Also, the cover is gorgeous.

As a girl who grew up to become a woman, I'm no stranger to being dismissed or harassed because of my gender. I've also experienced plenty of reactions from male doctors who either made me feel like I was complaining about nothing, overdoing it, or made it sound like every symptom in the world was somehow closely tied to my gender and weight. 

So, of course this book instantly caught my attention. Not just because I'm very interested in this subject, but because I can so relate to the concept of women's health being dismissed.

In this nice and thick book, Elinor Cleghorn lays out the many ways women's health issues are often ignored or misdiagnosed because not enough time and effort is devoted to research. She also shares her own experience after becoming an unwell woman.

I love how much history is packed into the book. Every page is full of handy information about everything. Some, I already knew about, but there's so much more that I didn't. I mean, it starts all the way back in Ancient Greece before covering every century between then and now.

There's a LOT of history and info packed within these pages, and I enjoyed reading about all of it.

Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Myth in a Man-Made World is an awesome book packed full of medical history that focuses on women. I found this refreshing, intriguing, and very interesting. 

This is another one of those books every woman should have on their bookshelf.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Myth in a Man-Made World, June 2021, ISBN 9781474616867, W&N

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