Saturday, July 18, 2009
The importance and necessity of create DIY womyns self health groups
Knowing about our bodies as womyn is very important in helping us to understand how they work, how we can cure ourselves, and how we can help other womyn. When we understand our own biology and health we have more freedom to choose the type of medical treatment that we are willing to use. Many times the medical industry preys on our own ignorance about health and our bodies to sell us fear, quick fix pills, and expensive, chemicals, which in the end can be detrimental and addictive. It is a fact that not all treatments are the same in side effects, and conditions of use, and it is important to make educated decisions about how to treat any ailments we might have.
Throughout history medical and health knowledge has been in the hands of the powerful male oriented medical establishment. The scientific basis of the western medical establishment was based on the opinions of early male scientists, who deduced their theories, causes, and consequences of medicine in relation to their own masculine experience. In this opinionated environment the function of women’s bodies were viewed as solely that of reproductive purposes in accordance with the limiting social strata which they occupied. What can we hope to learn from gynecology that is based in this limited medical view?
That time is over, our time of self realization and exploration as womyn is here.
Fortunately many womyn did not settle for these male dominated theories about womyn’s sexual function or health. During the womyn’s rights movement in the 70s, in the united states in particular, there were many feminists and midwives who were tired of sitting back and watching the botched abortions and other false medical claims. They took action to save womyn’s lives and help each other learn about sexuality and health, by forming DIY women’s' health collectives and feminist health clinics. In the beginning they came under a lot of repression from the medical establishment and the law for performing basic procedures like self exams and menstrual extractions (extracting the menses during the first few weeks of pregnancy) . Later after the ruling legalization of abortion, their work became easier and feminist health clinics began to prosper.
The collective process of forming a womyn’s DIY health group is an important means of sharing experiences and feelings and learning about ourselves and our health. We live in a world controlled by patriarchy and capitalism and this very much effects how womyn's and lesbian's health care is denigrated and is given less importance than that of men's. For example, in the majority of medical anatomy books the clitoris is shown as a small fleshy nub on the vagina, but in reality it is a extensive system of muscles and nerve endings that flow throughout the entire vagina, and has a very important role in female sexual response and pleasure.
We formed our Barcelona women’s health group in 2006 from inspiration from these feminist health groups, dissatisfaction at the medical industry, and a thirst for self knowledge. We think it is necessary to share information and experiences with each other relating to our health, and mental states of being. When we worked together as a collective we did a lot of research into different health issues from diseases to nutrition to sexuality. As we shared or histories, opinions and research our feelings of solidarity and empathy grew and we realized we had more in common than we originally thought. Although our group is more dispersed now than before, we are still working on these issues and learning about ourselves.
For many womyn and lesbians it is difficult to find medical information about alternative therapies that are accurate or not male centered. The medical industry has been controlling womyns reproductive rights and prescribing dangerous chemicals without forethought for too long. We see this as a challenge to all people to take control of our bodies and our life to learn about how our bodies work, how to heal them and how to experience pleasure with them unabashedly. DIY Take back your life!
If you would like to contact us our email address is: