Tagged: Healthcare

Proposed U.S. Citizenship Test Questions! What is a woman?

This is the last in my series of proposed U.S. Citizenship questions. As always, I’m going to give you first the average British answer to each question, just to show what an uninitiated, unassimilated person would say, and then the real answer. Previously: What is Cream Cheese served with? How many bathrooms does the average family house need? and How do you make a cup of tea?

Question: What is a woman?

Foreigner’s answer:

Wow, that’s a complicated question! The simplest answer is that women are one half of the world’s population. And I guess the biological definition could be that women are people who have two X chromosomes, or who have female genitals and secondary sexual characteristics like boobs.

But we aren’t defined by our biology alone, and the social definition of gender is always historically and culturally specific.

The safest definition is probably a woman is someone who identifies as a woman. Which might sound circular, but that’s ok! Gender, like everything in our life, is ‘remade’ every time we enact it.

That said, it doesn’t exist in a power vacuum, right? So we can also acknowledge that what it means to be a woman depends on our other intersecting identities. Cis-women, heterosexual women, white women, adult women, and middle or upper class women are less likely to have their gender policed or called into question.

U.S. Citizen’s answer:

A woman is a uterus that sometimes acts as if it had a mind of its own.

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Rise in mortality rates among white working class in the US

This morning several newspapers reported on a study by two economists from Princeton University into rising mortality rates among non-hispanic white men and women in the US since 1998. (Or to be more exact, the mortality rates have been decreasing everywhere, but the rate of that decrease has slowed to the point of stopping among this group).

The Guardian’s coverage, for instance, presents the study this way:

A sharp rise in death rates among white middle-aged Americans has claimed nearly as many lives in the past 15 years as the spread of Aids in the US, researchers have said.

The alarming trend, overlooked until now, has hit less-educated 45- to 54-year-olds the hardest, with no other groups in the US as affected and no similar declines seen in other rich countries.

Though not fully understood, the increased deaths are largely thought to be a result of more suicides and the misuse of drugs and alcohol, driven by easier access to powerful prescription painkillers, cheaper high quality heroin and greater financial stresses.

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