Book Suggestions

Walking Out on the Boys. By Frances K. Conley. Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1998. Conley, the first female full professor of neurosurgery in the U.S., describes in this memoir the shocking discrimination still encountered by women in surgical training and practice. A real eye-opener. Approx. $13

Cancer in Two Voices. By Sandra Butler and Barbara Rosenblum. Spinsters Inc. 1991. An honest and moving memoir, written with humor and sorrow, by a sociologist who had breast cancer and her lover. Approx. $13

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls. By Joan Jacobs Brumberg. Random House, 1997. This award-winning book by historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg convincingly argues that controlling our bodies through dieting, surgery, and exercise is now considered a moral imperative and has become the central goal of American girls. A scary and essential book. Approx. $10.50

A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student. By Perri Klass. G.P. Putnam's, 1987 Klass, a writer and pediatrician, describes her experiences as a medical student. Along the way, she explains how doctors learn to view pregnancy and childbirth as dangerous pathological events, rather than as natural processes, to value emotional detachment from patients, and to expect patients to accept their orders meekly. Approx. $12

Waist-High in the World: Life among the Nondisabled by Nancy Mairs. Beacon Press, 1998. One of the best essayists in the country describes the frustration, pain, and occasional humor and rewards of living with multiple sclerosis. Approx. $12

Midwifery and Childbirth in America. By Judith Rooks. Temple University Press, 1997. A comprehensive (hence the price) review of the history, legal status, scientific data, and current practices regarding childbirth in America. Covers medical care, nurse-midwives, and non-nurse midwives. Approx. $35 (Paperback)

Politics of Women's Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior By Rose Weitz (editor) Oxford University Press, 1998. A collection of articles by scholars, essayists, and journalists from covering a wide range of topics and perspectives, from how the female body is portrayed in the mass media to why pregnant women drug addicts are more likely to be jailed than to be treated for their addictions. Approx. $25 (Paperback)

One-Eyed Science: Occupational Health and Women Workers By Karen Messing. Temple University Press, 1998. Details the dangers inherent in "women's" work, from carcinogenic chemicals used in factories to repetitive stress syndrome among typists. Most importantly, explains why these dangers are rarely recognized by employers, lawyers, scientists, or government regulators, and how this willful ignorance reflects a broader tendency to discount women's health issues. Approx. $23 (Paperback)

Breast Cancer: Society shapes an epidemic. By Anne S. Kasper and Susan Ferguson (editors). St. Martins Press. Examines how economics, politics, gender, social class, and race-ethnicity have deeply influenced the science behind breast cancer research, spurred the growth of a breast cancer industry, generated media portrayals of women with the disease, and defined and influenced women's experiences with breast cancer. Approx. $23 (Paperback)

By Rose Weitz, January 2001

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Rose Weitz received her Ph.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Arizona State University. Her teaching and research interests center on gender and health. She is author of many research articles, co-author of Labor Pains: Modern Midwives and Home Birth (Yale University Press), and author of the books Life with AIDS (Rutgers University Press), The Sociology of Health, Illness, and Health Care: A Critical Approach (Wadsworth Publishing), and The Politics of Women's Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior (Oxford University Press).

"Women are the gatekeepers of life. We have not just the right, but the responsibility, to decide whether and when to bring new life into the world through our bodies."

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