1:27 am - 05/27/2012

Links Round-Up: Week ending 26 May 2012

Image showing Madge lassoing the words Links Round-up
Welcome to our weekly links round-up. This is a compilation of items from the past week that may be of interest to VPers and is intended to broaden the kinds of conversations we have here. To submit articles to the round-up, e-mail also_warriors@vaginapagina.com

As a reminder, in lieu of trigger warnings, I use keywords describing the themes of the piece. Please skim these before deciding to read the excerpt or click through for the full article. Outside sources are not safe spaces, and mainstream source's comments should almost always be avoided. The links I highlight don't necessarily reflect VP's views, or even my own, for that matter. 

This week's round-up includes: Field tests of DSM-5 show low reliability for 2 major diagnoses; cis people telling trans* narratives; a gallery of fat people rocking bikinis!; why gay is not the new Black; the suspicion of Black Studies; "The Dictator" and Islamophobia;  call for submissions: Outlaw Midwives

  1. Field Tests for Revised Psychiatric Guide Reveal Reliability Problems for 2 Major Diagnoses at Scientific American (Keywords: mental health, depression, anxiety, DSM-5, psychiatry)
    The DSM not only defines mental illness, it often determines whether patients receive treatment—in many cases, insurance companies require an official DSM diagnosis before they subsidize medication or other therapies. ... the APA has a problem on its hands: its own data suggests that some of the updated definitions are so flawed that only a minority of psychiatrists reach the same conclusions when using them on the same patient. And the APA has limited time to do something about it.

  2. A tear for Chloe Sevigny at Teaching Trans (Keywords: trans*, Hollywood, media)
    I'm starting to realize that widespread representation doesn't do any good at all if actual trans realities aren't represented in an accurate way. In fact, having cis actors portray trans characters seems like a recipe for utterly trans-ignorant people to think they know more than they do, and then get super defensive if anyone tries to imply that they're wrong. ... So, even if I think that Transamerica touched and taught a wider, more mainstream audience, I still need to ask: What exactly was it teaching that audience?

    Fat people rocking bikinis!

  4. Why Gay Is Not the New Black at Townhall.com (Keywords: queer, racism)
    2. The very real hardships endured by many gays and lesbians cannot fairly be compared with the monstrous suffering endured by African Americans. Conservative gay journalist Charles Winecoff wrote, “Newsflash: blacks in America didn’t start out as hip-hop fashion designers; they were slaves. There’s a big difference between being able to enjoy a civil union with the same sex partner of your choice – and not being able to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or use a rest room because you don’t have the right skin color.”

  5. On The Chronical of Higher Education's Reinforcement Of Suspicion Of Black Academia at Racialicious (Keywords: Black studies)
    Without Black Studies, what would we know of black protest of Jim Crow, slave revolts (and white suppression of records of these revolts), or the medical exploitation of black and brown bodies? Who would chronicle not just the struggle, but the achievements, creativity, and joys of black lives and experiences? Do naysayers really imagine white scholarship, on its own, has given an honest account on these topics? Or are such accounts simply irrelevant to them?

  6. The Dictator and the Zionist at Bina Shah (Keywords: Palestine, Islamophobia, Zionism, racism, movies, The Dictator)
    if you look carefully, each one of [Sacha Baron Cohen's] productions - from Ali G to Borat to Bruno to now, The Dictator, advances a certain element of Zionist propaganda against Muslims. Which is that Muslims are laughable, unintelligent, idiotic people with no intellect at best, and terrorists at worst. And Cohen uses buffoonery to do this.
    How? By taking the stereotypes, derived both from Orientalism and from anti-Islamic Zionism, and playing them out to such ridiculous extremes, that his audiences laugh. And in laughing, they feel entertained. And in being entertained, they swallow the stereotypes and the racism whole, without pausing to critically analyze what they've been presented with. You could call this SBC's particular genius. Yes, it's pretty clever. But it's also dangerous.

  7. call for submissions: things i desire from outlaw midwives at Outlaw Midwives (Keywords: midwifery, doulas, birth, parenting, bodies, economics, medicine)
    and can we talk about gender and sexuality? race and class? nationality and anarchism? can we talk about art and anger? the practical and the poetic? the questions and the answers?
    in other words: i want to talk about unassisted birth and economics. i want to talk about physiological birth and western medical hegemony. i want to talk about poetry and the ululations during second stage pushing. i want to talk about life. and death. and violence. and bliss. heaven and apocalypse.
So, what have you been reading (or writing!) this week?
atalanta0jess Re: #127th-May-2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
It makes me curious about how similar or different the new definitions are from the current ones.

Making the DSM must be a weird process. I tend towards the belief that they are trying to put things in discrete categories that just simply are not discrete! So it's no wonder it's difficult. It's not like measuring the bacteria in someone's urine and saying they have a UTI, you know? So much more complex.
sweetchild92 Re: #127th-May-2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Same, I really want to know what changed have been made.

Yep, so it's not surprising that there's so much debate/questions, since in the end we can't just do a quick blood test and determine someone's mental health.
atalanta0jess Re: #128th-May-2012 02:51 am (UTC)
Well, and I think (just my opinion) that mental illnesses just don't exist in discrete categories the way some physical illnesses do. Like a UTI, you either have it or you don't. I don't think the same is necessarily true of mental illness, especially in its more mild forms. AND, even when there is clearly *something* wrong, we try to cram it into these boxes that we made up. The boxes (e.g. is it depression or bipolar or PTSD or...) are just invented...they may not reflect real categories either because mental illness is so varied that there ARE no real categories, or because we aren't figuring them out very well.
also_warriors Re: #128th-May-2012 05:04 am (UTC)
You can view the new version, old version, and discussion of the changes here: http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevision/pages/depressivedisorders.aspx

It's really alarming to me that the new revisions are apparently not allowing mental healthcare providers to diagnose depression and GAD correctly. According to the CDC, almost 1 in 10 adults in the US have depression at any one time. Almost 5% of all adults have "major" depression. It is one of the most common mental health diagnoses, with a high comorbidity, and the DSM-5 is not allowing MHCPs to diagnose it correctly. This is a Problem, and to me, it speaks to the potential for larger issues with the DSM-5. As that article points out, the DSM-5 was slated to go into use in about a year, so at this rate, it can either go forth mis-diagnosing 5-10% of US adults, or they can go back to the drawing board. I sort of suspect they are going to push forward. What issues have they not discovered yet?

As much as I have Feelings about the diagnosis/naming/categorization of mental health concerns, which are SO individual, you'd sort of hope the people in charge of doing that would be able to do it at a rate that they themselves have identified as acceptably reliable.
atalanta0jess Re: #128th-May-2012 03:04 pm (UTC)
Hm...from what I can tell, there aren't all that many changes for MDD (recurrent), major depressive episode, or GAD. Which seriously makes me wonder about the current diagnostic reliability...I don't know that there's any reason to think that the DSMIV-TR was allowing people to be diagnosed "correctly" any more than the DSM V will. Or that that the current CDC numbers are any more accurate, you know?

I am always skeptical of those numbers on mental illness. I know that tons and tons of people struggle with their mental health at some point. I guess where I differ from the stats makers is that I see a difference between the majority of those people, and those who have very serious life long struggles (who I suppose they would call severely and chronically mentally ill). I just see it as way too easy to get a diagnosis though, in the sense that I don't think everyone who is diagnosable is necessarily "mentally ill" at all. Now, I don't think that's a bad thing, because it gets people access to services they wouldn't otherwise have, and that they may very well benefit from. At the same time, I wonder if when they say things like "x percentage of the population has a mental illness" if that's really reflective of wide spread mental illness in our society, or whether it just means that x percentage of people are having a hard time at any given moment, because we are human and sometimes have hard times. (Anyway, these are just my semi-related rambles, so perhaps I should stop.)

On another side note, I am not looking forward to having to learn the DSM V (as a MHP) and furthermore am severely confused about why the criteria for a major depressive episode require that there has never been a manic episode, but bipolar I requires that there has been a MDE, but how can there have been if bipolar I also requires a manic episode. Maybe I'm missing something...
atalanta0jess Re: #128th-May-2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
I didn't say that exactly right. Bipolar I does not require a depressive episode, but can include one, and that's why you can specify "most recent episode depressed." But how can you do that if a depressive episode requires that there has never been a manic episode. WTF.

Also, did not know that olfactory reference syndrome was a thing. You learn something new every day!
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