Comments on: Sexuality and cancer surgeries: what’s mine is yours, apparently http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 19:47:12 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-472326 Sun, 01 Nov 2009 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-472326 No problem–thanks for the info, perpetua.

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By: perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-472299 Sun, 01 Nov 2009 14:21:58 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-472299 Historiann, if you don’t mind me posting this, in response to Rosa:

I’ve read this about sex abuse survivors and breastfeeding in most of the books I’ve bought on BF. But here is an internet link from kellymom (one of the best BF websites) that has links to some studies:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/bfhelp-mother.html#abuse

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By: Rosa http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-472121 Sun, 01 Nov 2009 04:03:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-472121 Perpetua, can you point me toward the studies about abuse survivors and breastfeeding? I’ve gotten that sense from women I’ve known, but I didnt’ know anyone had studied it.

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By: Comrade PhysioProf http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-471571 Sat, 31 Oct 2009 07:58:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-471571

He was like, yes, breasts are just secondary sexual characteristics, so they are expendable. So I wonder if there might be a more complicated history of all this? (surprise!)

There sure is. That history is one of excessive medical arrogance and paternalism, and the notion that patients should not participate in the decision-making surrounding their own treatment.

While the medical profession for the most part takes the position that this was all about the “bad old days”, and is now completely a thing of the past, anyone with half a fucking brain knows that is far from the case.

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By: femme inista http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-471357 Sat, 31 Oct 2009 01:50:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-471357 I cleaned my mother’s drains and had a very hard time with it, perhaps more the emotional effect than the physical one (although the physical part of stripping the drains was in my experience pretty awful — I clearly don’t have the stomach that RadReadr has).

One concern no one has mentioned is that (last I knew) breast cancer can manifest regardless of having had breasts removed. It does so on the chest wall rather than the breast, but there you are, still with cancer, albeit the likelihood is probably reduced.

@ perpetua, I have enjoyed nursing, but when my baby recently weaned herself I told my partner that they need some alone time. In other words, “get OFF of me!”

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By: perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-471031 Fri, 30 Oct 2009 16:50:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-471031 (oh, and last aside post: I know women feel like their breasts and bodies generally don’t belong to them during pregnancy/ breastfeeding. This is purely self-reflective, but I didn’t feel like that – I felt like my breasts were *mine* to do with what I wished. And what I wished was to feed my baby with them. But I can understand why it doesn’t feel like that to other women, who after many months of BF are like, “get OFF of me!”)

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By: perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-471029 Fri, 30 Oct 2009 16:34:54 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-471029 @ Historiann: on mewling infants & infantile husbands – she can privilege one over the other, or tell both of them to f&*k off! (While I said that jokingly, studies say, unsurprisingly, that female victims of sexual assault often find breastfeeding traumatic.)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-470826 Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:28:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-470826 perpetua–I think we were writing at the same time. This is exactly what I was getting at with my comment about the gendered nature of nursing: “To me, the tone of the story is all about how the bf deserves special consideration and compassion because he’s a *man* being asked to be a caregiver.”

Interesting point about nursing infants–many women may feel like that’s a period in their lives when in fact their breasts don’t belong to them, because of the nutritional demands of mewling infants! Breasts really are a kind of liminal body part that are oddly central to other familiy members’ experience of domesticity/family life. (That said, I think it’s totally reasonable to privilege the interests of the mewling infant over that of the infantile husband/male partner.)

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By: perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-470820 Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:21:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-470820 My problem with the boyfriend isn’t really that he had trouble dealing, or even that maybe he didn’t want to do deal (as somebody pointed out, he was her bf, not her long-term partner) – I get that. Nobody knows how ze will react to such a situation, and I don’t think bailing because someone ze is dating has a life-threatening illness is in and of itself the worst thing ever. (Although it’s appalling that he thought he had a “say” in what happened to her body!) What sticks in my craw is the idea Jessie puts forward in the end that we “give teh menz more credit for trying.” Men are not toddlers, who require positive reinforcement and cookies for not acting like tools during a life-threatening illness, or for not cheating on their pregnant wives, or for doing the dishes or any of the other five million things women are supposed to be super grateful that men occasionally do like it’s some great gift. To me, the tone of the story is all about how the bf deserves special consideration and compassion because he’s a *man* being asked to be a caregiver.

I have a good friend who had a preventive double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, as a young woman. It was devastating, physically and emotionally. Her husband was a giant tool, a total support no-show. Of course that fit into the general pattern of behavior, not an exception – he didn’t help around the house, take care of his children, etc etc.

A less life-threatening note, but still about breasts, men are *all the time* acting as though they have ownership over their wife’s/girlfriend’s body, her breasts in particular. As though if something happens to them (the breasts), it’s about them (the menz) rather than their wives. A good example is all those comments nursing mothers make about how their husbands were “jealous” of the nursing and felt like something was being “taken away” from them. Hey, menz, women’s bodies actually belong to *themselves*, not to you!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2009/10/29/sexuality-and-cancer-surgeries-whats-mine-is-yours-apparently/comment-page-1/#comment-470819 Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:19:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=8081#comment-470819 Oh, and I mean to say: Barb, your experiences are sadly not all that surprising to hear about, even with a female doctor. Physicians are (from what I’ve seen of med students) deeply conventional people. They’re people who have succeeded by fitting into a complex system as they found it. (This is not a slam–to a large extent, so are Ph.D. academics!) But what it means is that even very smart women don’t necessarily identify as feminists and aren’t inclined to question or challenge the beliefs and values that underlay their training.

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