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Homeopathy and Women Over the course of the past several decades feminist scholars in company with medical historians have developed a sophisticated framework for identifying the ways in which Western medicine as a system of social control tends to reproduce and legitimate the construction of gender in the wider society Wielded by physicians holding positions of power the notion that anatomy is destiny can become a potent ideological weapon labelling actions that violate natural law as unhealthy and their perpetrators as unsound For the most part these critical inquiries have not bothered to distinguish biomedicine from alternative healing traditions the latter having been regarded until recently as a mere fringe phenomenon But it there is any truth in the notion that these traditions embody not just different treatment modalities but also more holistic approaches to the medical encounter then it is worthwhile investigating the extent to which they have actually repudiated conventional gender practices Being rid of stereotype and domination would make these traditions alternative in the deepest sense At the focus of this paper are the life and works of Dr James Tyler Kent an eminent 19-th century American homeopath Kent himself would never have used the word alternative for his personal brand of homeopathy which he presumed was blessed by God but with the distance that time affords we can permit ourselves to use the term as a convenient approximation recognizing that there was more social overlap and shared ideology linking mainstream with periphery than either sector in those days could allow In any discussion of 19th-century homeopathy Kents name would invariably be mentioned whether in his role as a brilliant clinician a prolific writer or an influential teacher Yet Kent as a privileged male professional was also thoroughly representative of his own times Kent articulated a set of beliefs about gender that can be fairly summarized as androcentric1 If confronted as he may well have been by the
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