Psychedelic Birth: Bodies, Boundaries, and the Perception of Pain in the 1970s

Monday, 17 September, 2018 - 15:00

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How was pain understood in the 1970s? ... As this article will demonstrate, gender plays a key role.  Current studies show that women both experience and tend to report more pain than men.  Yet they are “more likely to be less well treated.” In the early 1970s, gender differences were even more pronounced.  Prior to the women’s health movement and the feminist demand for agency and validity in the doctor’s office, the subjectivity of experienced pain seemed to support the assumption that women were indeed the weaker sex.  If women were more fragile and emotional, then of course it was “all in their head.” Without the presence of objective biological indicators of pain—the only type of evidence valued in modern medicine — then subjective, experiential reports were irrelevant. But by the early 1970s, some scholars began to challenge this medical model, and the presumed distinction between body and mind.

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