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Doing Harm

The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

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About the Book

In this shocking, hard-hitting expose in the tradition of Naomi Klein and Barbara Ehrenreich, the editorial director of Feministing.com, reveals how inadequate, inappropriate, and even dangerous treatment threatens women’s lives and well-being.

Editor of the award-winning site Feministing.com, Maya Dusenbery brings together scientific and sociological research, interviews with experts within and outside the medical establishment, and personal stories from women across the country to provide the first comprehensive, accessible look at how sexism in medicine harms women today.

Dusenbery reveals how conditions that disproportionately affect women, such as autoimmune diseases, chronic pain conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease, are neglected and woefully under-researched. "Contested" diseases, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, that are 70 to 80 percent female-dominated are so poorly understood that they have not yet been fully accepted as "real" conditions by the whole of the profession. Meanwhile, despite a wealth of evidence showing the impact of biological difference between the sexes in everything from drug responses to symptoms to risk factors for various diseases—even the symptoms of a heart attack!—medicine continues to take a one-size-fits-all approach: that of a 70 kilogram white man.

In addition, women are negatively impacted by the biases and stereotypes that dismiss them as "chronic complainers," leading to long delays—often years long—to get diagnosed. The consequences are catastrophic. Offering a clear-eyed explanation of the root causes of this insidious and entrenched bias and laying out its effects, Doing Harm will change the way we look at healthcare for women.

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Critical Praise

“Ever since the centuries of burning women healers as witches, because they taught women how to govern our own bodies, thus to control reproduction—the medical world hasn’t included all of humanity. Doing Harm shows what is left to be done, and directs both women and men toward healing.” —Gloria Steinem

“Maya Dusenbery’s exhaustively researched book is equal parts infuriating and energizing. No woman will see the medical establishment, and perhaps even more profound, her own body, the same way after reading it. In a just world, it would be required reading in medical schools from this day forward.” Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

“Maya Dusenbery brings new life to one of the most urgent yet under-discussed feminist issues of our time. Anyone who cares about women’s health needs to read this book.”  —Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object

“Dusenbery challenges a new generation of women and practitioners to fight for medical equity—shinning a harsh light on the sex bias that pervades every level of medicine. It’s outrageous that such malignant neglect exists more than two decades after the government acknowledged the gaps in knowledge about women’s health.”  —Leslie Laurence, co-author of Outrageous Practices

“In this groundbreaking book, Maya shows how the same forces that hold women back in society more broadly lead to sub-par medical care and inadequate attention to health issues that impact women. Every doctor, scientist, health care provider and researcher should read this book. And so should every woman.” —Jill Filipovic, author of The H-Spot

“Doing Harm is a deeply researched and very readable exploration of the systematic mistreatment of women in our medical system—and how even those with the best intentions perpetuate it. This book is an eye-opener; may it also be a call for real, sustained change.” —Kate Harding, author of Asking For It and co-editor of Nasty Women

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062470805
  • ISBN 10: 0062470809
  • Imprint: HarperOne
  • On Sale: 03/06/2018
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price: 34.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: HEALTH & FITNESS / Women's Health
  • BISAC2: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
  • BISAC3: MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery

Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

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