Circling the Drain

Vagina Science with Rachel E. Gross

September 13, 2023 Ellie Dvorkin Dunn & Julia Granacki with Rachel E. Gross Season 3 Episode 58
Circling the Drain
Vagina Science with Rachel E. Gross
Show Notes

Rachel E. Gross is an award-winning science journalist who wrote an incredible book called Vagina Obscura which was a finalist for the 2023 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. Go ahead and be impressed, but do not be intimidated. Rachel will enthrall you with stories of outlandish treatments for ailments that plague people with female reproductive systems, including a personal tale involving rat poison and her own vagina. She takes us back through history to when the fallopian tubes were named after an Italian Catholic priest and when Freud decided that all "women's issues" were psychological. She discusses how medical terminology can be harmful, placing blame on the woman or the body part itself. If that's not enough to draw you in, listen as we realize that both Ellie and Julia know a ton about bacterial vaginosis, and in a delightful epiphany, Ellie gives the perfect name to the wall of vagina-inspired art in Rachel's home. Bonus points if you count the number of times "vagina" is said in this episode.

Topics and timestamps
10:40 - How Rachel got into writing about science, specifically the science of vaginas
18:02 - The Vagina Poison Story
24:37 - The microbiome of the vagina
30:57 - How medical language puts the blame on the body part (#incompetentcervix)
38:50 - Ancient ideas that have been carried through to modern medicine
43:46 - Thoughts on implanting bits of ovarian tissue to stave off menopause

Handles and sites
Rachel's website
Rachel's writing
Rachel's Insta
Buy Vagina Obscura

List of Resources Mentioned
Pooping only every 3 or more days linked with cognitive decline, research finds
Rachel telling her vagina rat poison story on Story Collider
Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery

Other Links
Erin's Faces Affiliate Link
Julia G Wellness
Leave us a review!

Support the show

Be one of the helpers! SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on APPLE PODCASTS or SPOTIFY and leave us a review on APPLE PODCASTS.