From our April/May print issue, here's our book review sidebar focused on three new nonfiction books about reproductive health — or, as we put it, "experts go deep on vaginas, uteri, clitorises, and feeling good under the hood."
Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain
By Abby Norman
What if you were symptomatic every day with pelvic pains worse than menstrual cramps, but no one, health professionals included, understood what your body was feeling? In Ask Me About My Uterus, author Abby Norman explores the history of endometriosis and her experience with it, highlighting the ways in which doctors have spent centuries writing off female pain as hysteria. Norman writes anecdotally, giving readers approachable information on this controversial corner of women’s health, while lobbying for a medical field that more fully engages with the struggles of its patients. Ask Me About My Uterus educates from the perspective of the ill—a side rarely seen as in depth as it is in this incredible read. 5/5 – Madison Nunes
Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy
By Hallie Lieberman
Masturbation is a fantastic way to pass the time and is a great stress reliever, but have you ever thought of it as a way to fight the patriarchy? In this penetrating text, scholar Hallie Lieberman explores how the history of the vibrator is linked to the history of women’s sexual freedom. She gives examples of how American culture demonizes female masturbation, and explores how this stigma holds us back from fully owning our sexuality. The main thrust of her argument is that someone with the means and self-knowledge to satisfy herself erotically is by definition less likely to depend on a man to fulfill her sexual desire. Knowledge is power, and sex toys increase women’s knowledge about how to pleasure themselves. So, next time you rub one out, chalk up another win for the sisterhood. 5/5 – Renate Robertson
The Wonder Down Under: The Insider’s Guide to the Anatomy, Biology, and Reality of the Vagina
By Ellen Støkken Dahl and Nina Brochmann, MD
Written by two Norwegian med students and inspired by all the questions they’ve received about vaginas, The Wonder Down Under is a comprehensive introduction to this glorious body part. Tackling topics from anatomy to contraception to abortion, the authors stick to science while staying readable and engaging. While Brochmann and Dahl do explain the fluidity of gender and sexuality in one great section, discussions of sex focus on vagina-penis intercourse. They explain that this is in response to the questions they most often receive. But their consistent use of the word “woman” to describe people with vaginas may feel isolating for non-female-identifying readers with this particular biological feature. That said, the engaging writing, cute graphics, and solid info make this vital reading. 4/5 – Ann Mayhew
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2018 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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