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Witches, Midwives, and Nurses (2nd Ed.): A History of Women Healers (Contemporary Classics)

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For one thing, they still couldn’t claim to have any uniquely effective methods or special body of knowledge. For example, until recently, most nursing students were taught such upper class graces as tea pouring, art appreciation, etc.

What do witches and nurses have in common? | RCN Magazines

With tenfold more plausibility and reason we say it is the appropriate sphere for woman, and hers alone. Witch hunts did not eliminate the lower class woman healer, but they branded her forever as superstitious and possibly malevolent.

e. those which already had enough money to begin to institute the prescribed reforms), there was the promise of fat foundation grants. At first, male doctors were a little skeptical about the new Nightingale nurses – perhaps suspecting that this was just one more feminine attempt to infiltrate medicine. The health movement was concerned with women’s rights in general, and the women’s movement was particularly concerned with health and with women’s access to medical training.

Witches, Midwives, And Nurses - Booktopia Witches, Midwives, And Nurses - Booktopia

Finally, the first two all-female medical colleges, one in Boston and one in Philadelphia, were themselves “irregular. Dix and Nightingale did not begin to carve out their reform careers until they were in their thirties, and faced with the prospect of a long, useless spinsterhood. Let us look a little more closely at the women who invented nursing, because, in a very real sense, nursing as we know it today is the product of their oppression as upper class Victorian women. But, despite the glamorous “lady with the lamp” image, most of nursing work was just low-paid, heavy-duty housework. And so the middle class feminists of the late 1800s dissolved away some of the harsher contradictions of sexism.

Is this because the Popular Health Movement naturally attracted dissidents of all kinds, or was there some deeper identity of purpose? This is an important clarification with major implications for the way we view the evolution of medical institutions, patriarchy, class power and population control.

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