Battling Medical Sexism with Jennifer Block


Medical Sexism

Like a hilarious Medical Sexism conversation with your feisty friend who doesn’t give a f*ck.

Brave stories, hot topics, and #truthbombs that will either balm your soul or light fire to your rage.

Podcast with Jennifer Block

This week Bianca and Amy interview Jennifer Block, author of the books Pushed and Everything Below the Waist, to discuss her work researching women’s health care and the insidious ways in which many harmful interventions are branded as feminism and sold to us without any discussion of the cost they can have to our bodies and health. Explore everything you need to know about Medical Sexism. Discover and learn with number of tips this article will provide to boost your knowledge.


This week featuring:                                                                                                                                                          

Jennifer Block is a journalist focused on health, gender, and contested areas of medicine. Her articles and commentary have appeared in The BMJ, Longreads, The Washington Post Magazine, Newsweek, The Cut, The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other outlets. Her first book, Pushed, led a wave of attention to the national crisis in maternity care and was named a “Best Book” by Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal. A reporter with Type Investigations, Block won several awards for her investigative reporting on the permanent contraceptive implant Essure, which has since been discontinued. For early chapters of Everything Below the Waist, she won a Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant.


Amy C. Willis (she/her) is a Sobriety & Mindset Coach who supports women in reclaiming their power and freedom through sobriety. Amy comes to this work after struggling with alcohol addiction for 15+ years and losing her dad to his alcohol addiction; Amy has been sober for 5+ years. Amy is a dual-certificated coach, a writer, a speaker and is also a certified meditation teacher and a certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)/tapping Practitioner, which are modalities she brings to her work with her clients. The foundations of Amy’s coaching practice are radical honesty, mindset transformation, habit change and resilience building. In addition to her coaching and healing certifications, Amy earned an interdisciplinary studies MA from York University and an HBA from the University of Toronto specializing in women’s and gender studies and majoring in sexual diversity studies. Amy is proudly queer, feminist, and sober. Amy is also tremendously grateful that she gets to teach in Birth Worker Business School (BWBS). As a feminist business owner, she knows how challenging it can be for women to get into entrepreneurship and to build their businesses with ethical, feminist principles. BWBS is such an exceptional business offering that teaches not only business foundations but in a way that centers the human experience.


Bianca Sprague feels especially passionate about creating access to quality pre & postnatal care for marginalized communities. She is an advocate for mental wellness for the entire family, and especially for the birthing parent, after suffering from PPD in silence and losing her father to suicide in 2012. She recognizes the barriers put in place for female entrepreneurs and believes that understanding the evolving online space can even the playing field for women in business.




Read the Transcript


Medical sexism in healthcare

This week on the Hot and Brave Podcast welcomed Jennifer Block, author of “Pushed: the painful truth about childbirth and modern maternity care” and “Everything Below the Waist” to discuss medical sexism. This week we got real, sharing our personal experiences with medical sexism in healthcare that left us feeling powerless, exploited, and mostly, mad!

We live in a very medically authoritative culture, meaning, when a doctor tells us something, we believe them without question. Even in circumstances where the advice they give or the solution proposed does not feel right in our bodies, makes us uncomfortable, or simply does not seem to make sense considering the information we provided – we still do as we are told. This happens all the time, where a person knows that something is not right yet the response that they get is, “Well you only need your breasts checked every 10 years” or, even more insidious, they tell us to “eat better” or lose weight. As if losing some weight is going to make the lump you feel or the bleeding you have magically disappear. Yet still, we listen. 

The care for women and people with internal sex organs is practice-based and not evidence based. There is not enough research or evidence that looks to the root problems of women’s health. Keeping us high on a perpetual pain management treatment or literally, removing our organs so that the problem goes away does not treat the problem. It mutilates us. Block notes that in her research, she found that there is not enough being done to get to the bottom of health issues that look like “female diseases” and are therefore assumed to be under the care of an OBGYN. 

Endometriosis, PCOS, excessive bleeding

Endometriosis, PCOS, excessive bleeding near the point of death are typically the sign of a larger, system issue or auto-immune disease, yet they are not treated as such. Biance compares this reactionary type of care to that which one receives in war – where doctors are forced to just do what they can, without time to consider future consequences. She notes, “the medical teams … like at wars that are like, let’s just do what we can. And just like, you know, that quick triage, trauma care … that’s how all women’s bodies seem to be handled.” Basically, the care we receive is akin to saying “I don’t really know how all this works, so lets just rip it out and see what happens.” Well, what happens are long term consequences that are irreversible. We cannot accept that healthcare for those with internal sex organs is done to avoid dealing with our own biology. 

Within the podcast, even liberating developments such as birth control are discussed as becoming a tool for avoiding evidence-based care in other areas. The birth control pill was a major turning point for women gaining control of their own bodies. Yet, now, it is prescribed as the magic bullet for a number of other issues without considering the cost. We are told that taking the pill to stop our periods is liberating, when really it masks the fact that there is so little research on the impact this has on cycling bodies. Or, research on how to assess menstruation and some of the issues that come along with it using research on what is actually happening within our bodies and not how to make it go away. Again, medical sexism pits us against our own biology. 


What else is going on at bebo mia?


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