CHAPTER 1 morrow et al.docx

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15 Apr 2012
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CHAPTER 1OUR BODIES, OUR SELVESWOMEN’S HEALTH MOVEMENT IN CANADA
- Prior to the emergence of the owmne’s movement, women’s health issues were ignored or
relegated narrowly
o Medical and helath sciences were dominated by male researchers
o Neglected social determinants of health
Women and the Body
- Western traditions have ignored/dismissed the body. The transcendence of the body over the
mind is a vaulted goal in Western tradition
o Women’s roles as caregivers and nurturers—their bodies viewed as messythey
menstruate, lactate, give birth, etc.
o Women have historically be n understood as less capable than men
o Women’s bodies were seen as out of control and in need to be regulated.
- Bodies of people of colour and poor ppl were seen as morally suspect
- Scientific sexismviewed men and women as opposites and therefore were relegated to
different social spheres
- Present day preoccupations are with biological body, the genetic makeup of the body, and
prolonging life. Was understood that men’s bodies were standard while women’s were to be
compared with this standard
- Women’s health focused narrowly on physiological differences (ex. Giving birth, menstruation,
menopause)
- Contemporary feminists talk about body politics and the relationship between embodiment,
power, and knowledge
The Impetus for the Women’s Health Movement in Canada
- Is parallel to and part of the women’s movement in Canada
- Women’s health is much more than about particular reproductive organs and secondary sex
charactersitcs.
- Health is a social issue rather than just a medical and technical problem
- Began to tackle women’s health issues via their roles as caregivers
- 3 waves of the women’s movement are outlined in this section
- First wave
o Focused primarily on gainng access to formal political systems (right to vote)
o Was driven by white middle and upper class women
o They had involvement in the moral reform (focusing on social issues like housing, child
welfare, etc. )
o Ignored concerns of working class women
o Bodies should not prevent women from being able to participate in political decision
making
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