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The Woman in the Body


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About the Author

Emily Martin is professor of anthropology at Princeton University and author of Flexible Bodies- Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of AIDS.


Over 150 women, representing a variety of ethnic, age, and socioeconomic backgrounds, participated in the survey upon which this book is based. Anthropologist Martin sought to discover how these women experienced the uniquely female functions of menstruation, childbirth, and menopause. Using medical text definitions (which rely heavily upon a model of production/failed production) as a standard, she studied the ideas and attitudes of women she surveyed, finding not unexpected class and age differences in their acceptance (or rejection) of the medical metaphor. She examines how traditional cultures validate women's bodily functions, while industrial society requires women to deny the reality of their bodies. A fascinating study; for academic and large public libraries.Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.

Spectacular. There is no better study of the power of metaphor in modern medicine. --Thomas W. Laqueur, author of Making Sex

"One of the greatest strengths of this fascinating book is Martin's careful analysis of how medical language about women's bodies reveals cultural assumptions about women and their life's purpose. . . . Highly recommended." --Judith Walzer Leavitt, Bullentin of the History of Medicine "An important contribution. . . . In challenging the status of both bio-medical 'facts' and popular assumptions about women this book will stimulate scholars and students of gender, medicine, and American culture." --American Ethnologist "Provocative. . . . Martin's conclusions are ground-breaking." --Julia Epstein, The Women's Review of Books

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