Reproductive Writes: The Science of Gender and Sex

Holly Grigg-Spall
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Lewis & Clark College in Bitch magazine's hometown of Portland, Oregon is hosting a Gender Studies Symposium this week under the title The Science Of Gender And Sex, from today through Friday. If you happen to live in the area, consider checking it out!

Dr Elizabeth Kissling, managing editor of The Society For Menstrual Cycle Research blog re:Cycling and author of Capitalizing On The Curse: The Business Of Menstruation, will be presenting on the topic of 'Pills, Periods and Postfeminism: The New Way To Market Birth Control.' For a bit more info on the topic, see this post I recently wrote about the branding of the birth control pill Yaz.

I will be interviewing Dr Kissling next week, and am happy to take suggestions from readers as to the angles we could cover, and the questions I might ask - in regards to the business of menstruation, birth control pills as menstruation suppressants and their advertising as such.

I will also be speaking with the conference keynote speaker, Leonore Tiefer. Tiefer will be presenting 'Is Sex More Like Dancing Or Digestion? Unpacking The Medicalization Of Sexuality.' Again, I'm open to taking suggestions of specifics to cover from readers - this time regarding the way women's sexuality is described in the media, ideas of abnormalities and implications therein.

A few posts back I wrote about the drug Flibanserin, or the new 'Female Viagra' as it will be known, and how this relates to the creation of concepts of normal female sexuality. Tiefer is an activist working against the restrictive idea of 'female sexual dysfunction,' leading The New View campaign as an opposing stance to what she sees as the pharmaceutical industry's drive to open a profitable market on the scale of that produced by the introduction of Viagra for men. A fascinating talk Tiefer gave in 2007 is available to view online:

Female Sexual Dysfunction, Marketing and Disease-Mongering

Update: I received an email this morning from writer Rose Aguilar informing me that the Utah miscarriage bill I discussed last week was not withdrawn as has been reported elsewhere. A new bill with the world 'reckless' replaced by 'intentional or knowing acts' was signed on Monday. The bill's sponsor is now looking to create 'model legislation' for other states to take on. Rose has written about this at Alternet.

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1 Comment Has Been Posted


I feel about 'female sexual dysfunction' the same way I do about 'micromastia'. The Pharmaceutical Industry is just like the American Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. They WILL find something wrong with you whether or not that problem exists. Then they will have it officially declared a disease so they can make a few extra million dollars off it. (Mind you I am currently wearing a bra from the childrens section.)

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