What we're reading - Fall 2010

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Publication Date: 
Thu, 2010-09-30

Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit from Female Sexual Dysfunction
By Ray Moynihan and Barbara Mintzes (Greystone Books, 2010)

A provocative exposé of the lucrative industry built around a newly constructed disorder.
Set against a backdrop of virtual intercourse, online porn, and burgeoning Viagra sales, this compelling new book reveals how women’s sexual difficulties are being repackaged as symptoms of a new disease—female sexual dysfunction, or FSD.
Award-winning journalist Ray Moynihan and drug assessment specialist Barbara Mintzes go inside the corridors of medical power to reveal how doctors, psychologists, and PR specialists are now working with global drug companies to promote awareness of this potentially lucrative condition and the drugs being hailed as its cure-all.
Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals explores the controversy about whether common sexual difficulties should be treated as medical conditions like FSD, which may be a dangerous distraction from the real problems in sexual relationships.
The book also offers practical information about the risks and benefits of the latest pills and canvasses other approaches to understanding common sexual problems.

For more from Barbara Mintzes, check out our webinar series. In a presentation on on Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals, Barbara discusses the book, what we might expect to see if a FSD drug ever makes it to market, and participates in a lively audience discussion.

Maternity Rolls: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Disability
Heather Kuttai (Fernwood Publishing, 2010)

Though much has been writeen about women’s experiences with pregnancy and childbirth, the experiences of women with disabilities have gone largely untold. Heather Kuttai, a spinal cord injured mother of two, argues that this silence results from a prevailing belief that living with a disability means living without sexuality. Kuttai reveals how this pervasive attitude affected her perception of herself as she matured into adulthood, and how, through pregnancy and childbirth, she was finally able to see herself as a “real woman and whole person.”

Valuing Care Work: Comparative Perspectives
Edited by Cecilia Benoit and Helga Hallgrimsdottir (University of Toronto Press, 2011)

There are many forms of paid and unpaid labour encompassed in health care systems, including home care for the eldery or disabled, community health services, and the care family members provide for loved ones. Valuing Care Work is an international comparitive study that examines economic organizations as well as intimate settings to show how personal service work is shaped by broader welfare state developments.

Gender, Health, and Popular Culture: Historical Perspectives
Edited by Cheryl Krasnick Warsh Wilfrid Laurier University Press (2011)

Health is a gendered concept in Western cultures, customarily associated with strength in men and beauty in women. Educated or self-styled experts, ranging from physicians to newspaper columnists to advertisers, offer advice on achieving optimal health. Historically, gendered concepts of health were transmitted through visual representations of the ideal female and male bodies, with media images resulting in the absorption of universal standards of beauty and health and generalized desires to achieve them. .Seemingly “objective” public health advisories are shown to be as influenced by commercial interests, class, gender, and other social differentiations as marketing approaches, and the message presented is mediated to varying degrees by those receiving it.

Women Who Care: Women’s Stories of Health Care and Caring
Edited by Nili Kaplan - Myrth, Lori Hanson and Patricia Thille (Nimbus Publishing, 2010)

In her third year of medical training – discouraged by how little focus there was on caring – a young woman was faced with a decision: she could throw her hands up and quit or she could risk speaking up and work toward change. She decided to send out a call for submissions, asking women to share their experiences of health care and caring. Her inbox immediately overflowed with stories from women across Canada. Together, this amazing group of women wrote Women Who Care. Most women have stories to tell about their experiences of health care. They care for themselves through personal health and illness; they seek care from others; they become lay caregivers to their children, partners, aging parents and extended families. Some work as health care professionals – physicians, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, social workers, psychologists. Others work in community centres and shelters, or as health administrators, health policy-makers, women’s health researchers, and as feminist leaders and activists in women’s health. Women Who Care is a collection of women’s stories about caring. Through prose and poetry, this book captures the personal and professional values and expectations of women caregivers at each stage in their lives and careers. It examines women’s experiences as the providers and recipients of health care.

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