For Her Own Good: Review

TL;DR Synopsis

Women have gotten a raw deal from “authorities” for a long time.

TL;DR Review

Not at all what I thought I was getting, but a good read.

Read It If: 

  • you like books on feminism
  • you want to learn about how experts in various medical fields came to be

Skip It If:

  • you aren’t interested in the medical profession


When I picked For Her Own Good off my library shelf, I thought it would be full of outdated advice for women. The kind that’s funny these days because it’s so wrong, then kind of sad because people actually believed it. Stuff like, “when sewing, make sure to dress nicely in case of unexpected visitors.”

There is some of that in FHOG, but it’s really about medical advice. Ehrenreich and English get into the fall of women healers respected by the community and their replacement by the predominantly male “expert.” They then follow the changing expert advice through the decades until finally landing at modern (to them) times.

FHOG is a bit outdated, since it was published in the 70s. But it still (sadly) is worth reading, since a lot of the issues they address for modern feminists still stand.


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