Tag Archives: women

Silent Invaders

book coverI’ve been doing some research into women’s healthcare lately, and some of my best finds have been from old-school shopping the stacks at the library. Here are some (lightly organized) notes on the edited collection Silent Invaders: Pesticides, Livelihoods and Women’s Health. This text gives a nuanced history of conversations about pesticides and health, with a special focus on women’s health and much attention to a variety of contexts throughout the world. Many chapters reference the 1998 Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which are good places to start in understanding the regulation of pesticide use.

Marion Moses says the book’s focus is largely on toxicology and epidemiology, (as well as endocrine disruptors). She gives a useful history of the use of pesticides, with significant discussion of the process of resistance and secondary outbreaks. She references Carson’s Silent Spring as the first time the pesticide industry faced any significant criticsm. Further, she argues that “A ‘risk assessment’ ritual language emerged with predictable and stereotypical views” pointing to beliefs in objective science (p. 4). Contextual information like whether workers could afford protective clothing were largely ignored.

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Beyond the Reproductive Body

Book coverI’ve been working on a project about healthcare communication after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, and it looks like I’ll be focusing on the relationships between economy and healthcare rhetorics. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Marjorie Levine-Clark’s Beyond the Reproductive Body: The Politics of Women’s Health and Work in Early Victorian England; while I wasn’t surprised to find thought-provoking material there, I have been excited and intrigued by how very relevant many of her findings are to my work on Deepwater.

Specifically, I’ve been interested that most of the health-related materials I’ve found related to my research have to do with children or pregnant women. It’s not surprising, then, that Levine-Clark argues that in Early Victorian English, the able body was male and the reproductive body was female; “these models of embodiment did battle in the discussions about what to do to reform the English social body” and, she says, “they also collided in working women’s perceptions of their own bodies” (p. 5). That is, working women contested the notion that their sex meant they were inherently not able-bodied.

Official narratives ran counter to these working women’s understandings of themselves. Continue reading

A Thousand Tiny Paper Cuts

A re-post: This fascinating NYT article, “Technology’s Man Problem,” discusses the systemic discrimination faced by women who enter the tech sector.

“Women who enter fields dominated by men often feel this way. They love the work and want to fit in. But then something happens — a slight or a major offense — and they suddenly feel like outsiders. The question for newcomers to a field has always been when to play along and when to push back.

A male-dominated subculture, I’d argue, isn’t necessarily an urgent problem. (At least no more than a female-dominated one is; both such cultures could certainly benefit from a greater diversity of perspective.) But a misogynist-dominated culture of any sort–that’s a terribly urgent problem. And that’s exactly what’s described in this article.

“‘It’s a thousand tiny paper cuts,’ is how Ashe Dryden, a programmer who now consults on increasing diversity in technology, described working in tech. ‘I’ve been a programmer for 13 years, and I’ve always been one of the only women and queer people in the room. I’ve been harassed, I’ve had people make suggestive comments to me, I’ve had people basically dismiss my expertise. I’ve gotten rape and death threats just for speaking out about this stuff.’”

I, for one, am thrilled that Dryden continues the courageous project of speaking out.

No Longer Human

A re-post, because I know I’ll want to read this piece a few more times.
“[R]ecognizing the humanity of others has never before come at a cost to an entire class of people.” We need our legislators to stay out of such situations, or at least to think harder about the confluence of technology and humanity.

Full story here: http://www.thenation.com/blog/177873/no-longer-human#

The legal status of abortion in 2014

Several articles on abortion laws have come out in the past few days, most of which point out that significant amounts of legislation have been passed on this matter in the last 3-4 years. One of the best of these pieces appears in the New York Times. (Go here to read it.) I have appreciated Erik Eckholm’s reporting for some time, and this piece is no exception. This is a well-researched and carefully written article that is about as nuanced as an article of this length can be. Some highlights in this article include:

  • Attention to exigency: A federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday on a case stemming from the debacle in Texas this summer. (Run a search on Wendy Davis if this is news to you.)
  • A series of quotes from Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life: “I’m very encouraged . . I think it is more difficult to get an abortion in the country today.” This mindset is a huge problem. I wish NRL would be encouraged by and advocating for a decrease in the need for abortions, rather than just being smug about limiting access.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the ways current laws on abortion interact–or don’t. Eckholm reports bans on 20-week abortions are en effect in nine states, in direct violation of the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. Thus, this article makes clear that action is imminent. Further,  Ekcholm refers to a “legal patchwork,” which demonstrates how very dependent “rights” are on where one lives, one’s ability to be mobile, and one’s ability to access and understand regulatory rhetorics.
  • Several phrases that point out how insurance coverage (and laws that effect it) have a major impact on abortion practices. This points to a need to be aware of how the changing climate of healthcare in the US will affect access to abortions.