Title: Nature of Their Bodies : Women and Their Doctors in Victorian Canada.
Publisher:  University of Toronto Press, Toronto , 1991, ISBN:0802068405
Seller ID: 94590
MITCHINSON, Wendy. The Nature of Their Bodies : Women and Their Doctors in Victorian Canada. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, (1991). Pp [i]-ix,(1),-474,(2),+ 8 pp plates. Index. 8vo, illustrated tan card covers. Contents : 1. The Victorian World: Doctors, Science and 'Woman' 2. The Frailtyof Woman. 3. Three Mysteries: Puberty, Menstruation, and Menopause. 4. Sex uality in Women. 5. A Modern Issue Emerges: Birth Control. 6. The Emergenceof Medical Obstetrics. 7. Changing Obstetric Care. 8. The Rise of Gynaecol ogy. 9. Gynaecological Surgery. 10. Women and Mental Health. 11. Insane Women: Their Symptoms and Treatment. "In 1864 woman was admitted to the Toronto asylum and diagnosed as suffering from 'mania', a not uncommon diagnois for women, a step beyond 'hysteria'. The cause cited by doctors for the patient's instanity was lactation. This ios one of the scores of cases cited byWendy Mitchison in her history of the medical treatment of women in Victor ian Canada. The cases, combined with the medical literature of the period, reflect the society's preoccupations, both among the general population andthe medical profession. Above all, they illustrate in sharp detail the soc iety's perceptions of women. For most medical practitioners, the male body was taken to be the norm; women were 'other'. Doctors were uncomfortable with some of the central physiological experiences of women, such as menstruation and menopause. They often felt that healthy bodies should not undergo such stresses. From this attitude it was a short leap to viewing the normalfunctions of women's bodies as illnesses to be treated by specialists. One of the most significant medical developments of this period was the rise o f gynaecology and medical obstetrics as major medical specialties. Practitioners used surgical gynaecology to alleviate disorders -- mental as well asphysical -- in women. In documenting the changing nature of interventional medicine, Mitchinson considers the medical treatment of women within the c ontext of what was available to physicians at the time. She also explores the kind of pressure that women themselves brought to bear. Faced with a medical profession that viewed them as creatures of weakness, women used theirstrength and stamina to change attitudes and treatments." - from the intro ductory preamble. Very good. 18.00