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Everything Below the Waist

Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution

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Summary

Elle's 30 BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER

"A jaw-dropping investigation into the women's health industry." (Shelf-Awareness)

"A fascinating examination of the past and present of women's healthcare" (Delfina V. Barbiero, USA Today)

An eye-opening, investigative account of the dismal state of women's healthcare in the US. 

American women visit more doctors, have more surgery, and fill more prescriptions than men. In Everything Below the Waist, Jennifer Block asks: Why is the life expectancy of women today declining relative to women in other high-income countries, and even relative to the generation before them? 

Block examines several staples of modern women's health care, from fertility technology to contraception to pelvic surgery to miscarriage treatment, and finds that while overdiagnosis and overtreatment persist in medicine writ large, they are particularly acute for women. One-third of mothers give birth by major surgery; roughly half of women lose their uterus to hysterectomy.  

Feminism turned the world upside down, yet to a large extent, the doctors' office has remained stuck in time. Block returns to the 1970s women's health movement to understand how in today's supposed age of empowerment, women's bodies are still so vulnerable to medical control - particularly their sex organs, and as result, their sex lives.    

In this urgent book, Block tells the stories of patients, clinicians, and reformers, uncovering history and science that could revolutionize the standard of care, and change the way women think about their health. Everything Below the Waist challenges all people to take back control of their bodies.

©2019 Jennifer Block (P)2019 Macmillan Audio
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Critic reviews

"A fascinating examination of the past and present of women's healthcare" —Delfina V Barbiero, USA TODAY

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5 out of 5 stars
By Mark Del Toro on 07-09-19

Everyone MUST read this book!

My women’s group is diving into the book chapter by chapter. It is so rich. It has given me language and resources for thoughts and ideas I have had as a birthworker and mother. Thank you so much for this work. It is invaluable!

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2 people found this helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Katie on 16-12-19

Mind-blowing!!

This book covers a variety of topics related to women's health care and it is absolutely fascinating! I now need to order a hard copy to go over again with a fine tooth comb and highlight and re-read. As a midwifery student this book is really helping me evaluate how to approach health care for my clients and myself! I can't stop thinking about it or talking about it. I HIGHLY recommend it!!

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5 out of 5 stars
By LK on 22-10-19

Bravo!

The writing was excellent. The narration was excellent. Bravo to Jennifer Block!

My favorite thing about this book is the reexamination of classic liberal feminism. I consider myself a feminist through and through but there are some old tropes that need redefinition, namely that as women, equality hinges on our ability to compete with men in their spaces and within the framework of capitalism.
This book makes some great points about how the healthcare system, patriarchal in nature, seems to be able to offer only one-size-fits-all approach and is failing us as a result.
I could go on for a while but, basically, this book is a great and refreshing take on feminism and women’s health.

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5 out of 5 stars
By E C on 07-09-19

Necessary considerations for any born female

No sacred cows. Much needed critical thought applied to the juggernaut of "normal" and "routine" medical care and even to some of the progress made by waves of feminism itself. An up-to-date discussion on the realities of remaining autonomous in your own health care and the reforms needed within the systems which convolute and prevent that.

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1 out of 5 stars
By harley fowler on 03-08-19

Mystery Solved

Spoiler alert, women life expectancy is going up compared to men because of a lower birthrate. clickbait title and a lack of depth in research.

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