For Her Own Good

For Her Own Good

Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women

Book - 2005
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From the bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed and a former editor in chief Mother Jones , this women's history classic brilliantly uncovers the constraints imposed on women in the name of science. Since the nineteenth century, professionals have been invoking scientific expertise to prescribe what women should do for their own good. Among the experts' diagnoses and remedies: menstruation was an illness requiring seclusion; pregnancy, a disabling condition; and higher education, a threat to long-term health of the uterus. From clitoridectomies to tame women's behavior in the nineteenth century to the censure of a generation of mothers as castrators in the 1950s, doctors have not hesitated to intervene in women's sexual, emotional, and maternal lives. Even domesticity, the most popular prescription for a safe environment for women, spawned legions of "scientific" experts.
Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English has never lost faith in science itself, but insist that we hold those who interpret it to higher standards. Women are entering the medical and scientific professions in greater numbers but as recent research shows, experts continue to use pseudoscience to tell women how to live. For Her Own Good provides today's readers with an indispensable dose of informed skepticism.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2005
Edition: Anchor Books ed
ISBN: 9781400078004
Branch Call Number: HQ1426 .E38 2005x
Characteristics: xiv, 369 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: English, Deirdre

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ezhurbin Apr 26, 2016

While the book has a lot of historical information and analysis about the role and advice of so-called experts (medical, home economics,child raising, etc.) in women's lives, it was a little too scholarly/dry for my taste. The most interesting sections were about the evolution of the medical profession. Overall, it's a good book, but it would had been more interesting if the authors had added more anecdotes and examples, instead of just facts.


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