What makes for a healthy vagina? (Let’s hope whiteness isn’t required.)

“New US findings suggest our accepted definition of a healthy vagina could be ethnically biased, say some researchers, but others caution against over-interpreting the data. A new study published today in Science Translational Medicine found, what an accompanying commentary describes as, an “unexpected and astonishing” variability over time in the vaginal bacterial communities of apparently healthy women.
…. “Because the earliest studies that attempted to characterise bacterial biotypes in the vagina were performed on white women, it is interesting to ponder whether the widespread acceptance of lactobacilli as being essential for a ‘normal’ vagina has an ethnic bias.”

Shame and silencing continue to be issues, it sounds like. One of the researchers comments that research in this area is hard because “People don’t want to talk about vaginas” but it may be also that women speak but aren’t heard.

From “Experts debate what makes a healthy vagina,” by Anna Salleh

For more see http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/05/03/3494111.htm?topic=health.

Petition: Chronicle Column Suggests Eliminating Black Studies

UPDATED May 7, 2012 [profbigk]:  I am genuinely surprised to be able to post this update, but the CHE editor has apologized for previous editor’s comments, and announced the imminent departure of the blogger who wrote the post (“The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations”) in question.  It’s fascinating to read.  Not only is the editor’s “Note to Readers” responsive to the many criticisms leveled at the CHE and the OP, but the note specifically observes that the invitation to debate mistakenly elevated the post “to the level of informed opinion, which it was not.”

Over 6,400 people signed the petition calling for the blogger’s removal.  Wow.


UPDATED AGAIN by profbigk: The author and the editor of the “Brainstorm” blog-section of CHE have both added replies, but a comment under the editor’s unctuous invitation to us to “take part” — or drive traffic, whichever — is more interesting to me than the blogpage-editor’s chiding; the commenter says,

Please join me and send an e-mail of complaint to Philip Semas, President and Editor in Chief of the CHE at philsemas@chronicle. I also sent one to editor@chronicle.com

UPDATE May 3, 2012: The Chronicle is now hosting, also on their Blogs page, “Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education just published a truly appalling attack on Black Studies, [UPDATED to add: but if you don’t want to increase the author’s traffic at the Chronicle site by clicking over there, then instead, see this outstanding blog-post for excerpts and criticism!] of a stunningly ignorant sort (the author bases her argument on her knowledge of the titles of a few dissertations in the area, and says remarkably vicious things).

You can sign a petition criticising the Chronicle’s decision to publish this here.