Stef (firecat) wrote,

women, stress, poverty, race, perfectionism

via [personal profile] piglet

It's really good that people are talking about women's health and the effects of perfectionism, stress, poverty, and race. But I think this article conflates too many things and ends up being more on the "victim blaming" or "pitying" side and less on the "critical of society" side than it might intend.

It starts out by giving examples of privileged women who try to be perfect for their children and end up becoming sick. Then it goes on to say "The health risks associated with being a woman who does too much are even more pronounced for women of color." But the studies mentioned to support this claim didn't look at "doing too much." They seem to say that the poorer health of women of color is due to stress and poverty. Granted that a woman can cause herself stress through perfectionist tendencies, but if you're poor or a person of color, you don't have to be perfectionist or "leaning in" to be subjected to lots of stress. Society is capable of doing that to you even if you're trying to reduce stress in your life.

Then the article goes on to mention that women have more autoimmune diseases, depression, and anxiety than men. This might be partly due to biology (lower androgen levels, theorizes the president of the American Institute of Stress), but the article doesn't mention that there are likely diagnostic biases involved, or that women are more likely to seek medical care than men.

The author of this article has written a book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How Perfection Is Harming Young Women, which is about eating disorders. The first edition of the book was called Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body.

This entry was originally posted at, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.
Tags: feminism, health, linkage, privilege
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