Sidelined-How Women Manage and Mismanage Their Health



Sidelined, How Women Manage and Mismanage Their Health is a book written by Susan Salenger that I recently read. Susan, along with her husband, managed Salenger Films, a company which created corporate training and development films. When her kids grew up, she took anthropology classes at UCLA, which served as the motivation behind Sidelined.

I like to read books with public health themes, though if I’m being honest, I mostly like to read fictional books, because I don’t think there is anything more powerful than the right combination of creativity and scientific accuracy to drive home an important health message. Fictional films have this power too. I recently watched The Whale which was about one man’s struggle with morbid obesity. It’s definitely not a feel-good film. It makes the viewer really uncomfortable, perhaps because of the level of detail highlighting the daily struggle of someone with morbid obesity. But discomfort can be a positive thing for positive behavior change and health, something we sometimes lose sight of when trying to communicate without offending anyone. (An impossible task, by the way.)  Comfortable reads and films are like warm blankets and bubble baths, and we need those too in life. But uncomfortable reads and films, though they might trigger bad reviews initially by forcing folks to think about things they’d rather not, might have the most power to make people change for the better.

Anyway, back to Sidelined. This is a historical account of how women approach their health and why. It describes why women put themselves second, why women blame themselves when they receive a diagnosis and why getting a second opinion is vital. It describes how women can be misdiagnosed or not taken seriously by medical professionals, depending on how they communicate and dress. There is a section called “a pill for every ill” which describes how the pharmaceutical industry targets women, and it offers a critical take on the “positive psychology” movement and some parts of the wellness industry. My favorite part of the book is towards the end, where it describes the evolution of how women were diagnosed. Some of the historical examples are…shall we say, colorful?

I had the opportunity to chat with Susan about her book Sidelined on my Causes or Cures Podcast. You can listen to the episode here. I really enjoyed the conversation, and I think it is the only podcast in which I used the phrase “wandering penis.”

I hope you tune in. And, as always, feel free to check out some of the other episodes below:

The Fungus Killer Named After Keanue Reeves

Adding Milk to Coffee makes it More Anti-Inflammatory? 

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