Breasts. Uterus. Cervix. Heart. Vagina. The source of life, right? Well, for multi-hyphenate Deborah Copaken, it turned out to be just the opposite—almost. Between escaping from a toxic marriage, facing down the challenges of solo-parenthood, attempting to find love again, dealing with the indignities of both sexual harassment and the American healthcare system, and re-finding her footing after everything holding her together fell to (literal) pieces proved more slippery than she ever could have anticipated. From a Fourth of July near-death that brings new meaning to the words “rocket’s red glare,” to wearing a giant heart monitor while out on Tinder dates, Ladyparts is Copaken’s funny and irreverent inventory of both the female body and the body politic of womanhood in America.
Copaken’s Ladyparts mines, with pitch-perfect irony, the breakdown of a body during a time of intense spiritual and psychological rebirth and upheaval, and paints with both black humor and breathtaking candor the portrait of a woman in revolt. From bloodclots and breast biopsies, to heart palpitations and heartache, to the terror, loneliness, and lack of agency of a woman fighting for both power and her life, Copaken weaves her harrowing experiences together with insights from medical and historical research to show how many of these common health issues and disabilities merely amplify what women around the world confront on a daily basis: lack of scientific data, warped beauty standards, workplace sexism and ageism, sexual politics, and a healthcare system geared toward profits, and the male body. By shining a light on her most private struggles, Copaken strips for parts all our preconceived notions about female pain, rage, and resilience, and lovingly puts them, and herself, back together again.