Invisible Women

By Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women: a uterus stuck into a male pelvis

#95・

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Invisible Women
Invisible Women: a uterus stuck into a male pelvis
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #95 • View online
Helloooo GFPs! I’m back! Let’s dive straight in…

Gender data gap of the week
Well, GFPs, it’s 2022 and we finally have a proper 3D anatomy for the 50% of the population who are female!
New 3D female anatomy model used to better treat women - BBC News
Let’s stop for a moment here and consider how ludicrous it is that in 2022 it should be considered revolutionary to have produced an anatomy model that represents half the world instead of just sticking boobs on the male version – and yet, here we are.
And, GFPs, it gets better. This model was actually launched by Elsevier back in January, and the press release made me laugh quite a lot.
The first thing that made me laugh was the revelation that this new complete female anatomy was being added to Elsevier’s global anatomy platform, which the company proudly proclaimed was already being “used daily in over 350 top universities around the world as well as with global clinical organizations.” And this anatomy platform was called…wait for it…
COMPLETE. Anatomy.
Well, maybe it’s not actually that funny, since, you know, actual doctors have been being trained on a system that, according to Claire Smith, Professor of Anatomy at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, used the male anatomy as the baseline, with “the differences in females added on as an almost strange kind of adjunct.” This new model, she explains, is a vast improvement, because “it’s not just a uterus stuck into a male pelvis, it’s completely designed with all of the female form.”
The other thing that made me laugh was the proud announcement that this Incomplete Anatomy “was honored as the Winner of the Apple Design Awards in 2016,” which when you consider Apple released a “comprehensive” health tracker app back in 2014 that could track your copper intake but not your period, is also pretty funny.
Anyway, luckily for us ladies, no longer shall our bodies be taught to med students as male bodies with some weird lady bits added on.
A complete female skeletal system includes a wide array of unique features, rarely seen in anatomical texts. Sexual differences have been applied to areas such as the pelvis and skull. Long bones have been proportioned, and bone angles accurately reflect the uniquely female architectural skeletal base.
Even more excitingly,
The female-specific regions have been created in detail that is equivalent to the male counterpart.
No, stop, please, you’re spoiling us
Snark aside, this is actually an encouraging development, and it’s great to see that students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School will be benefitting from it. I was interested to see Brighton & Sussex highlighted in the BBC report actually – longtime GFPs may remember from a newsletter back in 2020, that it was medics at Brighton & Sussex NHS Trust who not only published a paper reporting sex differences in mask fit test failure rates at their Trust, but also committed to collect disaggregated data on fit test failure rates in the future. As I said back in 2020, hurrah for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust!
Default male of the week
This week in the default male: the US supreme court uses centuries of people = men (aka default male) against women…
Of Course the Constitution Has Nothing to Say About Abortion | The New Yorker
Within a matter of months, women in about half of the United States may be breaking the law if they decide to end a pregnancy. This will be, in large part, because Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is surprised that there is so little written about abortion in a four-thousand-word document crafted by fifty-five men in 1787. As it happens, there is also nothing at all in that document, which sets out fundamental law, about pregnancy, uteruses, vaginas, fetuses, placentas, menstrual blood, breasts, or breast milk. There is nothing in that document about women at all. Most consequentially, there is nothing in that document—or in the circumstances under which it was written—that suggests its authors imagined women as part of the political community embraced by the phrase “We the People.” There were no women among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. There were no women among the hundreds of people who participated in ratifying conventions in the states. There were no women judges. There were no women legislators. At the time, women could neither hold office nor run for office, and, except in New Jersey, and then only fleetingly, women could not vote. Legally, most women did not exist as persons.
Incidentally I found Helen Lewis’s analysis of the shortcomings of the US legal & political system really interesting:
The rulings in Bostock, Roe, Brown, Obergefell etc are a very wobbly edifice on which to construct the protection of human rights—and a uniquely American one, fetishising the constitution and relying on the vague words of legislators from an earlier era to rule on situations they never envisioned. Alito’s judgement mentions 13th century jurist Henry de Bracton’s opinion on abortion—but not that Bracton believed the Pope was the supreme arbiter of earthly laws. It cites Matthew Hale, a seventeenth century English barrister who executed two women for witchcraft. It mentions, too, the English jurist William Blackstone, who believed married women had no legal rights, and could therefore not own property or make contracts: “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage … For this reason, a man cannot grant anything to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself”.
Help me out here. Modern America does not share these men’s opinions on witchcraft, papal infallibility or women’s legal existence. Why deify their thoughts on “quickening”? All of those men believed in monarchy, so why not defer to their wisdom and apologise for kicking out George III? Oh wait. In some circumstances you believe that attitudes, and laws, can change.
Argh. Still, this is what you get when you can’t pass new primary legislation: endless judicial chicanery and sleight of hand. Across the US, there is majority support for gay marriage, for abortion rights, for laws to prohibit firing people for being gay. But under the current system, these rights are fragile, and will always be fragile—the whim of a handful of lifetime appointees.
If you don’t already subscribe to Helen’s newsletter, I highly recommend it. It’s always this insightful and she’s also very funny.
If you are enjoying this newsletter, consider becoming a member! Members get access to member-only events, a members-only area, plus the warm glow that comes from supporting the work that goes into producing this weekly blast 😍
Product of the week
An update on last newsletter’s product of the week, from GFP Michelle:
I use the Jennis app! I’ve been a very active yogi for the past couple years - hour long sessions multiple times per week. I found I didn’t have the energy for it some days with no apparent explanation. It would feel really hard to do the moves, I would tire more quickly. Then I saw a video on TikTok about our hormonal cycles and energy levels and it all suddenly clicked. So I got Jennis and it tells me what kind of workout to do when and also when to rest, mapped to my cycle and my symptoms. It feels really good to go with my flow rather than always trying to go harder and being frustrated when my body isn’t on the same wavelength. 🙌
Homework
Obvious bit of homework this week, GFPs: donate to charities in the US that will help women who will soon have no access to abortion.
As I’ve written in previous newsletters, abortion bans do not impact women equally.
Poor women, women of colour, women with disabilities, undocumented women, and girls, will all be disproportionately affected since they are the least likely to be able to find the money, the time, and the wherewithal to travel out of state.
It also will not prevent abortions from taking place.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “in analyses that exclude China and India, whose large populations skew the data, the abortion rate is actually higher in countries that restrict abortion access than in those that do not.” And “in countries that restrict abortion, the percentage of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion has increased during the past 30 years, from 36% in 1990–1994 to 50% in 2015–2019.”
What they do achieve, is to drive unsafe abortions – and women’s deaths – up.
An abortion ban could mean a 21 percent increase in maternal mortality — rising by 33 percent for Black women — and those who survive physically still face a lifetime of discrimination and disadvantage. (Source)
If you want to lower the abortion rate, the absolute best thing you can do is improve access to birth control, and improve support for parents, including properly paid parental leave and properly funded childcare.
But that’s for the long-haul. In the short-term, GFPs who want to help should donate, and The Cut has produced a useful list of charities operating in every US state, “ordered by how dire the situation in their respective state is, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.”
Worried About Losing Roe v. Wade? Donate to an Abortion Fund
If you don’t want to choose a specific state yourself, you can also donate to the National Abortion Federation, who can direct your money on your behalf to where there is the most need:
Donate - National Abortion Federation
Poppy pic of the week
that nose 💔
that nose 💔
That’s it! Until next time, my dear GFPs…. xoxoxo
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Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

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