After a viewing of “Taking Our Bodies Back: The Women’s Health Movement” and in parallel reflection of “Into Our Own Hands” by Sandra Morgen, I took notice to the development of various ethnic groups that were to inevitable form in a country built out of diversity. Listening to the collective dialogue of both the white women and black women, it was immediately transparent the specific and unique difficulties they faced within the medical business and separate needs that this created, socioeconomic reasons being the major disparity.
For the white women, their concerns came from a privileged position in which they faced violation in the cases of medical procedures, a benefit of health care that is unavailable to those who cannot afford it as well as to those who were at once denied it due to race, an issue that is addressed more thoroughly in Alondra Nelson’s “Body and Soul”. Therefore, the white women’s issues did not reflect the more extensive concerns that were felt by the remaining of society.
In contrast, black women discussed challenges such as blatant discrimination and denial of care. Their challenges did not reach the level of medical procedures but rather, were faced before any diagnoses were even attempted to be made. By way of racial discrimination, sexism and stereotypes, their experiences were examples of the authoritarian attitude many people encounter with medical professionals and in such cases, prevented many of these women from wanting to seek medical care in the future. From the women’s discussions in the documentary, it becomes apparent why the initial white women’s health movement could not sufficiently meet the personal or political needs of those outside of their social/economic status.
While the various developments of ethic/racial groups that transpired out the women’s health movement, although may seem as if it prevented an idealistic unity, is undoubtedly what brought such influential and wide-reaching development. The ultimate objective is to provide access, choice, education and ultimately, reclaiming control over our own bodies.