ICYMI: An Infuriating History Of Breast Cancer And The Psychological Depth Of ‘YOLO'

ICYMI: An Infuriating History Of Breast Cancer And The Psychological Depth Of ‘YOLO'

ICYMI Health features what we're reading this week.

This week, we took a closer look at psychology across disciplines. We were fascinated that 18th-century doctors blamed women for their breast cancer diagnoses and disappointed that new research confirmed what many already suspected: teachers tend to punish black students more harshly than white students for the same infractions. In pop psychology, we learned that living life without regret is the common denominator uniting Miley Cyrus's and Friedrich Nietzsche's world views.

Read on and tell us in the comments: What did you read and love this week?

yolo culture
Miley Cyrus, circa 2013; Friedrich Nietzsche, circa 1887. (Photos: Debby Wong/Everett Historical/Shutterstock/Pacific Standard)
A highbrow look at the psychology of you-only-live-once (YOLO) culture using Friedrich Nietzsche as a lens.

Quote: "YOLO is the late capitalist predecessor of carpe diem, the rallying cry of a Millennial culture tired and frustrated with burdens of the economic crisis and the constant nagging of doddering New York Times op-ed columns."

Eighteenth-century doctors found women's biology so confusing that they claimed everything womanly -- including wearing a corset, makeing choices about whether or not to breastfeed, and having an irregular period -- caused cancer.

Quote: "When the female body and its breasts were not used for their ‘correct’ purpose -– childbearing and rearing –- the risk of breast cancer increased."

marijuana epilepsy
A new drug derived from a non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant is undergoing clinical trials to see if it is effective for treating early-childhood epilepsy.

Quote: "It is irresponsible for doctors to condemn parents whose only other option is to watch while their children suffer and possibly die."

In isolated farm towns, where everyone knows everyone, it can be extremely difficult for farmers to seek help for mental illness.

Quote: “I’ve had many men tell me, ‘I’m not going to park outside the mental health center with my pickup, everybody’s going to know I’m nuts.’ That is a problem.”

wide hips
For 50 years, anthropologists thought there was an evolutionary battle between wide-hipped and narrow-hipped women. Wide hips were good for childbirth and narrow hips were good for efficient running (read: fleeing danger). Turns out, that theory might be totally wrong.

Quote: "Even outside of textbooks, the general public thinks that if your hips are wide, you’re a bad biped, and that does not seem to be the case.”

A new study from Stanford shows that when a student has multiple infractions, teachers tend to fall back on racial bias.

Quote: "Teachers tend to view black students more harshly than white students even when their disruptive behavior is exactly the same -- possibly triggering a destructive cycle."

Despite the popular perception that taller people are healthier, the longest living population on the planet -- the people of Japan's Okinawan islands -- only average 4 feet, 9 inches in height.

Quote: "While being tall can suggest evolutionary advantage in some places, it doesn't in others. And reproductive viability does not mean longevity."

dr oz
Is it better to mock pseudoscientists, to earnestly debunk their theories or to refuse to give them media attention at all?

Quote: "Even when you're telling people not to worry about something, they worry a bit more about it. It doesn't help to start screaming, 'There's no fire in the theater, everybody!'"

The first shopping carts were so unpopular that shop owners had to trick shoppers into using them -- and buying more stuff in the process.

Quote: "Faced with an army of tired women and men determined to show off their virility while buying diapers and cereal, Goldman 'eventually had to hire attractive models to walk around the store pushing the carts to make shopping carts seem like an acceptable or even fashionable item to use.'"

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