The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction

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After reading two chapters for book club, I borrowed this and finished it. The book discusses how women view menstruation, pregnancy, PMS, childbirth, menopause and more. It was fascinating to read about the metaphors we use to describe the experiences we have childbirth as a form of production, menstruation as a failed attempt at production and to reconsider how I view my own body and culture.

This book challenged a lot of my beliefs about what women experience, and it made me lo Fascinating. This book challenged a lot of my beliefs about what women experience, and it made me look more closely at many of my own assumptions. Among some of the fascinating details were descriptions of menstruation that question the commonly held belief that women are at a mental and physical disadvantage while they are having their period, descriptions of how women have resisted the cultural expectations set up for them during labor and have labored a their own pace and in their own way in spite of pressures coming from doctors and family members, and some analysis about how being a woman means different things in different economic classes and for different races.

This is a great read if you don't mind academic writing it's not quick and if you want to be made to think about things differently.

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In all honesty, I did skip a few pages here and there when the point was clear. Oct 19, Emily rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This book has the potential to be very empowering for women at important stages in their life. It also reminds them to re-think the terms they use and allow others to use towards them, as these terms tap into wider discourses which are deeply harmful. Martin encourages women to re-appropriate their bodies: '[W]omen - whose bodily experience is denigrated and demolished by models implying failed production, waste,' - menstruation - 'decay, and breakdown' - menopause - 'have it literally within the This book has the potential to be very empowering for women at important stages in their life.

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Martin encourages women to re-appropriate their bodies: '[W]omen - whose bodily experience is denigrated and demolished by models implying failed production, waste,' - menstruation - 'decay, and breakdown' - menopause - 'have it literally within them to confront the story science tells us with another story, based in their own experience.

Jan 08, Beth Melillo rated it liked it Shelves: , sociology , womens-studies , nonfiction. A reminder that the way we perceive the world is filtered through cultural motifs which seem "right" or "true" at the time. In this instance, viewing the body as strictly medical is what Emily Martin combats. Particularly I was impressed with her attack on the view of menstruation as "failure" to produce children when globally most women now birth fewer than 3 in their lifetime.

She advocates for viewing menstruation as a "success" in that most women are hoping to not conceive for the vast major A reminder that the way we perceive the world is filtered through cultural motifs which seem "right" or "true" at the time. She advocates for viewing menstruation as a "success" in that most women are hoping to not conceive for the vast majority of their cycles.

She has a strong Marxist take on the aspects especially birth she covers and this is very clear throughout the entire book. Oct 14, Mia added it Shelves: books-i-own. This was a really interesting and important look at the medical narratives that surround women. I found myself nodding along to most of Martin's analyses but there were a few points that gave me pause -- namely the parts that might encourage women to possibly put themselves in unnecessary pain, discomfort, or danger.

I also really enjoyed Martin's style of writing it was almost poetic at times but I wasn't a big fan of how she ends her chapters. They never seemed to wrap up neatly. Perhaps this This was a really interesting and important look at the medical narratives that surround women. Perhaps this was on purpose, but I always found myself a little surprised and jolted to discover I had come to the end of a chapter.

Not to my personal taste. Dec 26, Pearl rated it really liked it. Beyond the fact that the writer of this work was my thesis mentor, the book is an amazing piece of feminist literature. It's an eye opening account of what it means to be both a woman and also a machine, a something, an other, a not-a-man.


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  • THE WOMAN IN THE BODY: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction by Emily Martin | Kirkus Reviews?

But the book is never truly negative, simply enlightening. Jan 05, Sonia rated it really liked it. Martin's seminal work on the gendered nature and gendered organization of health and medicine is a must for anyone interested in understanding how health literature, knowledge, and practice attach and reflect notions of gender. Sep 15, Jen rated it it was amazing. Reading this book for a Medical Anthropology class inspired me to learn more about women's bodies and ways to respect them inside and outside a biomedical context.

One of my favorite books, especially the chapter that discusses pre-menstrual time as creative and communal. Dec 13, Meridel Newton rated it it was amazing Shelves: academic. Should be required reading for just about any social scientist. Or anyone, really. Well-written and illuminating.

the Woman in the Body a Cultural Analysis of Reproduction | Menstrual Cycle | Menstruation

Dec 30, Kari rated it it was amazing. All I can say is that this book changed my entire worldview. A wonderful sociological commentary. May 02, Tessa rated it really liked it. Pushed me towards my undergrad thesis topic--if you're at all intersted in the anthropology of the body or general cultural analysis of biomedicine, this is a great place to start. Oct 02, nicole rated it it was amazing. Shelves: academic , she-has-eggs , parenting-pregnancy-birth , ma-research.


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  4. It ended up being a lot more about medical technologies, metaphors, and lived experience than I was really interested in for the moment. Jun 02, Marianne rated it really liked it. I read this for a class, and it really got me thinking about the female body and the medical establishment.

    Definitely recommend this book! Jan 10, Amanda Shapiro rated it it was amazing. The evidence is indisputable.

    Theories of Gender: Crash Course Sociology #33

    But is it reasonable to project Third World extremes onto American culture? Are women in the West as victimized by men as the authors assert? Will prosperous American women really choose to forgo the experience of pregnancy, not to mention the opportunity to control the prenatal environment of their offspring, in order to save their figures or their place on the corporate ladder?

    There is no evidence that American women who can have babies will opt for other women to bear them.

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    It is also questionable that most men hate women and, if they could, would eliminate all but a handful from the planet. Martin is interested in the entire female life cycle and analyzes gynecological textbooks to demonstrate how men understand female bodies. In interviews with a cross-section of Baltimore women, Martin casts fresh light on PMS premenstrual syndrome and menopause, and childbirth.

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    She points out that the specter of PMS as a cyclical dysfunction that makes women unfit for responsible work has its own cycle: It reappears historically whenever women crowd the job market. Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading. It makes it easy to scan through your lists and keep track of progress. Here's an example of what they look like:. Your reading intentions are also stored in your profile for future reference. To set a reading intention, click through to any list item, and look for the panel on the left hand side:.