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Not TonightMigraine and the Politics of Gender and Health$
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Joanna Kempner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226179018

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226179292.001.0001

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Gendering the Migraine Market

Gendering the Migraine Market

(p.134) Chapter Five Gendering the Migraine Market
Not Tonight

Joanna Kempner

University of Chicago Press

Cluster headache is a notoriously painful and dramatic disorder. Unlike other pain disorders, which tend to affect women, cluster headache is thought to predominantly affect men. Drawing on ethnography, interviews with headache researchers, and an analysis of the medical literature, this chapter describes how this epidemiological “fact”—which recent research suggests may be overstated—has become the central clue used by researchers who study cluster headache, fundamentally shaping how they identify and talk about the disorder. Cluster headache experiences a legitimacy deficit, since it is often conflated with the feminized migraine or headache. Nevertheless, doctors and patients, both, can draw from masculinity when seeking to raise the status of this disorder.

Keywords:   cluster headache, pain, legitimacy, gender, masculinity

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