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Must read

This book is a must read. It covers how generations of bias have left us with a shockingly incomplete understanding of female anatomy and discusses recent developments in gaining a more complete understanding leading towards great improvements in quality of life for people with vaginas.
 
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megacool24 | 5 outras críticas | Dec 18, 2023 |
Such a great book and amazingly informative but I had 2 problems : first : some chapters draaaged into not-so-relevant historical bits , and a lot of goddamn names that I just kept on forgetting , 2nd : we start with a certain scientist and then we go down the rabbit hole into more and more scientists then we go back to the original one which is probably forgotten given the big size of each chapter . Other than that , everyone must read that book including medical students to have a surface glimpse into the ocean that is female anatomy ❤️❤️
 
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Jessicaby234 | 5 outras críticas | Apr 30, 2023 |
I saw the cover and at first, because of the style, I somehow thought it was a metaphor and a book aimed at teenagers. It isn't; this is for adults. This examines scientific views over the years, social aspects over the years, and how medicine has changed or not, over the years, around vaginas and how people with them are treated. IT HAS A CHAPTER ON ENDOMETRIOSIS. ENDOMETRIOSIS IS TREATED WITH RESPECT. I have endo, so I was absolutely thrilled. I wanted to somehow hug the ebook edition I was reading. The book talks at length about gender-variant people, and has a whole chapter solely dedicated to trans women. They're mentioned throughout the book, too. I'm so glad I read this. I hope it's widely read and continues to be successful.
 
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iszevthere | 5 outras críticas | Jul 27, 2022 |
With each chapter dedicated to an organ, from ovaries to clitoris and everything in between, Gross invites the reader aboard a mesmerizing anatomical voyage through the female reproductive system. The author discusses historical, often laughably inaccurate, theories about the organs' functions and purposes, and then provides fascinating, up-to-date information as the result of contemporary research and inquiry. The gorgeous and fanciful illustrations were top-notch. It was eye-opening for me to consciously connect the majority of physicians throughout history being male to the meager amount of knowledge about and research dedicated to women's reproductive health, to the point of dismissal of same. In hindsight, though unjust, it makes sense that men were focused primarily on their own issues, but it also illustrates how much catching up there is to do, and one cannot help but wonder what exciting breakthroughs remain to be unearthed.
 
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ryner | 5 outras críticas | Jun 24, 2022 |
Vagina Obscura was written out of frustration that many women still don't fully know or understand the workings of their own bodies. It’s not surprising once we acknowledge how women have been marginalized from the study of science. On many levels, women have been treated as secondary; ess significant than men. That applies to both mind and body. Additionally, women have been made to feel our bodies were shameful; but necessary only for procreation.

The men who have 'studied' female anatomy before the 1930's often jumped to inaccurate conclusions falling back on misogynistically insensitive cliches to cover up their lack of actual curiosity, and objective research of women’s genitalia. They simply didn't care enough to bother!

Freud believed girls wanted to be independent and aggressive like men but as they matured into adults, they realized their role is secondary to men. They needed to be compliant, dependent helpmates to their husbands. Years later Freud admitted that women were mysteries he didn't (want to) understand.

It wasn't until the 1930's that female anatomy started being viewed more scientifically. Dr. Robert Dickinson, a Brooklyn gynecologist wanted to know why many of his married patients complained of not experiencing orgasms during intercourse. He researched this phenomenon by examining, measuring, and illustrating his patients' genitalia. He realized that the 'missionary' position often did not result in orgasms. He advised his patients to try different positions to increase pleasure during intercourse.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey was the next doctor to study human sexuality, using science, first in men, resulting in his 1948 book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, and in 1953 with Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. He debunks long held, puritanical beliefs that most women are virgin whey they marry. He found that many single women lead active sexual lives.

Kinsey is followed by Masters and Johnson's 1966 book Human Sexual Response. Between 1957 and 1990’s the two pioneered modern research into human sexual response and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions. They used a dildo-shaped camera to capture all ranges of intercourse from arousal to resolution and acknowledged that all orgasms start with the under-appreciated clitoris.

Sexologist Bev Whipple writes book about a women's 'g-spots, and in 1981 on a Donahue tv program, discusses it, bringing it public attention. Later, Whipple realizes that the g-spot differs from woman to woman, but is usually an area of the genitalia that touches the clitoris. Some of her research was based on studies of the man who developed the Intra-uterine Device (IUD), Dr. Ernst Grafenberg. He believed the urethra was responsible for orgasms in women. The 'G-spot' is named after him. (Read about his compelling life story at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Gr%C3%A4fenberg.)

Gross writes about those who study animal sexuality, from biologist, Dr. Patty Brennan with her deep dive into bird genitalia. And learning that 97% of male birds have no phallus. And her surprise discovery of male ducks’ aggressive sexual behavior to females, and how these females ‘fight back.’ Taking us to Brennan’s mentor, ornithologist, Tim Birkhead, who dissects bird genitalia to understand and learn. And continuing to biologist Emily Willingham who wrote “Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis.” These scientists along with many others are amazed by how UNDER-studied female genitalia are whether animal or human. All because society believed what they wanted. And mostly white male scientists’ pre-conceived beliefs informed what was considered significant and important, and that was, the penis.

Gross describes the deplorable practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) performed in many African countries, some Asian countries, and other countries around the globe on girls as young as 5! The purpose of cutting sexually sensitive 'pleasure' areas from girls aims to remove sexual temptation of women. Part of the procedure may include infibulation in which the labia is sewn together leaving a small hole for urination and menstruation. Fortunately, a number of doctors around the world can surgically 'undo' this inhumane but culturally accepted way of controlling women's sexual behavior. (In this case, I strongly believe men need to leave G-d's work alone.)

And then… I stopped reading. I think Vagina Obscura is very good; ambitious, brilliant and comprehensive, and a tome to go through slowly and methodically.

I benefited by learning much more about the beauty and complexity of the natural world, animal and human biology and of the critical necessity of balancing scientific research of male and female to maximize results, and benefit ALL of us.
1 vote
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Bookish59 | 5 outras críticas | May 17, 2022 |
While this book undoubtedly contains interesting and important information I did not finish reading it. I was annoyed by the constant harping on the neglect and wrongness of male researchers. Yes, male scientists were willfully blind and rather deliberately ignorant. Say it once and move on. The other thing that annoyed me was bowing to current trends by including information about transwomen. I'm sorry--this is a book about female bodies, their structures, their problems, the history of research about them. Why does the book need to contain information about attempts to imitate the female body?
1 vote |
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ritaer | 5 outras críticas | May 3, 2023 |
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