Rhythms of Awakening: Re-membering the Her-story and Mythology of Women in Medicine.
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Subject:||Books (Book reviews)|
|Publication:||Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330|
|Issue:||Date: Winter, 2010 Source Volume: 22 Source Issue: 4|
|Topic:||NamedWork: Rhythms of Awakening: Re-membering the Her-story and Mythology of Women in Medicine (Nonfiction work)|
|Persons:||Reviewee: Bridgman, Karen|
Rhythms of Awakening
Re-membering the Her-story and Mythology of Women in Medicine
By Dr Karen Bridgman
Karen Bridgman 2000
Hawkesbury Campus UWS
Written by Karen Bridgman, this social ecology manuscript is her doctoral thesis. The document explores the roles and stories of women in healing throughout the ages and their experience within the current medical system. The stated objective of this research is to re-member women's her-story in medicine; re-connect women healers with the myths of healing used to guide the practice of medicine and to initiate humanistic changes into the practice of medicine generally.
At the outset this reviewer has to confess to finding this a challenging and provocative read. I had my world view well and truly challenged. As a white, middle class male, at times it felt like a direct attack on men. It was only by conscious effort that I moved from subjectivity to objectivity, adopting an 'observer' position. This allowed me to read the whole manuscript and I frequently found myself nodding in agreement with the conclusions reached about the direction of modern medicine. The thesis was developed by interviewing and facilitating meetings with two groups of women; one a group of health professionals from diverse ranges of modalities, the other a group of academics. A strong critique of scientific medicine provided the basis for an exploration into how women fared in the modern medical system as practitioners or patients. Each woman's story tells of disempowerment and a sense of being excluded because of gender. If a reader expects to hear horror stories of the abuse heaped on women by the medical system they will be disappointed. While each of the women involved had a horror story to tell, the author has chosen to omit the detail of these stories to good effect.
Using these stories the author sought to identify how the medical system could be transformed for medicine to become a more positive and empowering experience. The re-membered her-story and myths are then interwoven seeking to revitalise the feminine in medicine and find a new myth with which women may identify.
The author describes her research methodology as co-operative. She invites the participants to have as much involvement in the process as they are able to sustain. This seems to work well as the people involved were happy to contribute whilst allowing the author ownership of the process of writing the thesis. In using this method the author has drawn out a her-story of women in medicine and explored the mythology associated with the feminine aspects of healing. Adding to this the author has experimented with languaging and introduced hyphens and feminisation of words with great impact. This 'working of the hyphens' and feminisation of words commonly used in society, creates an interesting, if somewhat difficult read. This, I think, was the point; to jog the reader out of the accepted and acknowledged path sparking a movement toward a new paradigm for the practice of modern medicine.
I highly recommend all practitioners of medicine read this thesis. The ideas expressed command us to reclaim our right to have medicine serve us in the manner we wish to treat others--holistically and humanely.
Dr Bridgman donated a copy of her thesis to the NHAA library, reference only.
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|