Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

by Jennifer Block
Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

by Jennifer Block


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"A jaw-dropping investigation into the women's health industry." Shelf-Awareness

"A fascinating examination of the past and present of women's healthcare" —Delfina V Barbiero, USA TODAY

"A must-read for women, especially any woman who might ever need to see a doctor. " The Washington Post

American women visit more doctors, have more surgery, and fill more prescriptions than men. In Everything Below the Waist, Jennifer Block asks: Why is the life expectancy of women today declining relative to women in other high-income countries, and even relative to the generation before them? Block examines several staples of modern women's health care, from fertility technology to contraception to pelvic surgery to miscarriage treatment, and finds that while overdiagnosis and overtreatment persist in medicine writ large, they are particularly acute for women. One third of mothers give birth by major surgery; roughly half of women lose their uterus to hysterectomy.

Feminism turned the world upside down, yet to a large extent the doctors' office has remained stuck in time. Block returns to the 1970s women's health movement to understand how in today's supposed age of empowerment, women's bodies are still so vulnerable to medical control—particularly their sex organs, and as result, their sex lives.

In this urgent book, Block tells the stories of patients, clinicians, and reformers, uncovering history and science that could revolutionize the standard of care, and change the way women think about their health. Everything Below the Waist challenges all people to take back control of their bodies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250110053
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,062,410
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Block is an independent journalist focused on women and health. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Pacific Standard, The Cut, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Her first book, Pushed, led a wave of attention to the national crisis in maternity care and was named a "Best Book of 2007" by Kirkus Reviews. A reporter with Type Investigations, Block won several awards for her investigative reporting on the permanent contraceptive implant Essure, which has since been discontinued. For early chapters of Everything Below the Waist, she won a Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her son.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Problem with Medicine as Empowerment

Chapter 1: The Church of the Magic Bullet
Midcentury science on ovulation progressed parallel to the Pill, but fertility-based methods of contraception have been dismissed as unscientific.

Chapter 2: Fertility Insurance
Most infertility is “unexplained,” while most assisted reproductive technology is applied to women’s bodies: the injustices of snoozing the biological clock.

Chapter 3: Pelvic Tension
The many causes of chronic pelvic pain, including ignorance of female anatomy and physiology and damage to vital sex organs.

Chapter 4: GYN Exceptionalism
Gynecology was a foundational branch of surgery, but it has drifted toward general practice—and that means less surgical training than other surgical specialties.

Chapter 5: Birth Trauma
In response to the crisis in maternal mortality, leaders are trying to disrupt hospital culture, but there’s a bigger problem: entitlement over women’s bodies.

Chapter 6: Women’s Health, Inc.
Women’s health advocacy organizations fought for more representation and research; today they also push Pharma-funded campaigns.

Chapter 7: The Case for Home Abortion
Abortion clinics have become so inaccessible and undesirable that a new abortion underground is rising, calling up an expanded role for midwives.

Conclusion: The Case for Physiological Justice

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