Prescribed Norms: Women and Health in Canada and the United States since 1800

By Cheryl Krasnick Warsh

© 2010

In her meticulously researched history, Cheryl Krasnick Warsh challenges readers to rethink the norms of women's health and treatment in Canada and the United States since 1800. Prescribed Norms details a disturbing socio-medical history that limits and discounts women's own knowledge of their bodies and their health.

By comparing ritual practices of various cultures, Prescribed Norms demonstrates how looking at women's health through a masculine lens has distorted current medical understandings of menstruation, menopause, and childbirth, and has often led to faulty medical conclusions. Warsh also illuminates how the shift from informal to more formal, institutionalized treatment impacts both women's health care and women's roles as health practitioners.

Always accessible and occasionally irreverent, Warsh's narrative provides readers with multiple foundations for reconsidering women's health and women's health care.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 15181

Book Formats

SKU# HE000336

  • PUBLISHED FEB 2010

    From: $35.66

    Regular Price: $41.95

    ISBN 9781442600614
  • PUBLISHED FEB 2010
    From: $30.95

Quick Overview

Challenging readers to rethink the norms of women's health and treatment, Prescribed Norms concludes with a gesture to chaos theory as a way of critiquing and breaking out of prescribed physiological and social understandings of women's health.

Prescribed Norms: Women and Health in Canada and the United States since 1800

By Cheryl Krasnick Warsh

© 2010

In her meticulously researched history, Cheryl Krasnick Warsh challenges readers to rethink the norms of women's health and treatment in Canada and the United States since 1800. Prescribed Norms details a disturbing socio-medical history that limits and discounts women's own knowledge of their bodies and their health.

By comparing ritual practices of various cultures, Prescribed Norms demonstrates how looking at women's health through a masculine lens has distorted current medical understandings of menstruation, menopause, and childbirth, and has often led to faulty medical conclusions. Warsh also illuminates how the shift from informal to more formal, institutionalized treatment impacts both women's health care and women's roles as health practitioners.

Always accessible and occasionally irreverent, Warsh's narrative provides readers with multiple foundations for reconsidering women's health and women's health care.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    The inclusion of a variety of women's experiences and the question of difference make this book a useful tool for teaching undergraduate women's health courses. Warsh's attention to the contemporary dimensions of women's health and recent debates around the HPV vaccine and alternative health practices is likewise a valuable teaching tool, as is her attention to discrepancies and limitations of historical sources on women's health. The book points to a need for future research on the expansion of health care and wellness practices in the late 20th century, including the rise of eating disorders and the physical fitness movement, as the very definition of health and normality continues to transform.
    Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

    For not only tackling a gargantuan body of secondary literature, but then wrestling it into a sweeping synthesis as insightful and delightful as this, Cheryl Krasnick Warsh deserves a medal... maybe even two. This book will be particularly welcomed by teachers of the history of health, women's history, and women's studies.
    Social History

    The elegant scholarship, cogent arguments, and wit of Prescribed Norms provide illuminating perspectives that broaden the histories of women, gender, medicine, science, and technology.
    Canadian Historical Review

    In a tidy 300-or-so pages, Warsh lights candles into the darker corners of women’s medical history, the areas whose historically-perceived impoliteness made even medical professionals bristle.
    Watermark

    Prescribed Norms is an impressively wide-ranging and witty study of over 200 years of women's health care and women's roles as doctors and nurses in Canada and the United States. As a contextual bonus, other parts of the world are added to the mix. Based on an exhaustive examination of the secondary literature, Cheryl Warsh presents readers with the complex reactions to and perceptions of women's bodies—awe and disgust, power and fragility—that dominate our past and present. Underlying her study is the challenge to 'embrace the chaos' of our bodily being and the need for medicine to do so as well.
    Wendy Mitchinson, University of Waterloo

    Bodies are a source of anxiety, pleasure, and pain. Prescribed Norms tells us just what this has meant for North American women over the past 200 years. No one but Cheryl Krasnick Warsh could be so compelling in explaining why girls and women of every age and in every community in Canada and the United States should have the power to control their own bodies. We owe her a debt of thanks.
    Veronica Strong-Boag, University of British Columbia
  • Author Information

    Cheryl Krasnick Warsh is Professor of History at Vancouver Island University and Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History / Bulletin canadien d'histoire de la medecine.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Part I: Rituals

    1. Wendy's Last Night in the Nursery: The "Disease" of Menstruation and Its Treatment
    2. Gladys, Take Your Medicine! The Culture and Business of Menopause

    Part II: Technologies

    3. Traditional Childbirth: Mothers and Babies
    4. Modern Childbirth: Mothers and Doctors
    5. Future Childbirth: Doctors and Babies

    Part III: Professions

    6. Networks of Support, Networks of Opposition: The Medical Education of Women
    7. Nursing: The Science of Womanly Arts

    Epilogue: The Case for Chaos

    References

    Index

Related Titles