The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association contains an article whose headline is:…
Alice, good point. I can't actually see any dr agreeing to sign now that you mention it, but it is a good idea in theory. Maybe just the act of preparing something and ASKING them to sign might cause them to pause and think about the seriousness of what they are doing. Also, digital tape recorders are cheap and would easily fit in a pocket or purse. Pulling one of those out after they have acted "unethically" would certainly have an effect on their peace of mind. Some cell phones come with one built in. Lies, buddy system, tape recorder, promising legal documentation, all good.
Both my Wife and I agree, it's DISGUSTING that some women think that it is 'ok' to drop their knickers 'on the drop of a hat' for a complete stranger! A male stranger who decided to become a Doctor during his hormonal years! It's obviously women who control the sex within our society (even though men think they do), so why allow this situation?
Women whom refuse Male Obstetricians, Gynaecologists and Male Doctors wanting to perform intimate examinations are to be commended for attempting to protect their dignity along with the sacred intimacy of their Marriages. It is simply improper for a woman to electively seek out a Male Ob/Gyn, Doctor when it can be avoided!
Women are having a difficult time accessing Health Care without being coerced into a Pap/Smear Test or even a Pelvic Examination. Some women are actually bullied by their Doctor to the point of having to leave the Doctor's office without having the actual reason for their doctor’s visit addressed (this is a far cry from 'informed consent'). This situation is endangering women’s health as some ladies are refusing to go to their Doctor due to the pressure being applied to them to drop their knickers in front of their Male Doctor!
It is high time that Male Doctors had their Speculums confiscated. If a woman is having worrisome Gynaecological symptoms or if she wants to be screened for Cervical Cancer (which, by the way, is RARE) by having a Pap/Smear test, then the woman should be referred to a Female Gynaecologist. Only Female Gynaecologists should be the sole keepers of the 'coveted' speculum. This way a woman will be able to go to a Doctor or Clinic without being coerced into stripping and spreading her legs before a Man before she can gain access to other health care. It will also free up Doctors to focus on the woman's actual reason for an appointment with her Doctor.
Alice and Sue, I think voice recorders are the wave of the future here. So many cameras and cell phones can do this now; you can get "spy" watches in the toy store; you can bring an old school tape recorder...anything to get it documented. I'd almost say it's more valuable than bringing a witness because there's irrefutable proof of what was said.
This has worked well with other situations. In the States, in a number of cases, they've finally been able to discipline teachers who are bullying or verbally abusing students. Why? Because the parents sent the kids to school with hidden recorders, and the kids got it all documented.
I'd check the wiretap laws in your area though, in some states it's illegal to record a conversation without someone's knowledge. If I lived in one of those states? I'd plunk the recorder on the counter in full view and say "I'd like to tape this so I don't forget what you tell me."
Yes Dianne in NZ taping a conversation is legal as long as 1 of the parties (that can be you) is aware it is being taped.
Welcome Mark and Rachel. It is good to see you here. So how have you dealt with these issues about female health care?
I think the form is a great idea. It would be good if the form included the section of the Drs ethical code that states that patients can deny tests or treatments without losing access to healthcare. No Dr would sign it as your are then asking them to sign stating that they are going against their professional ethics. But producing such a form would certainly get your point across that your are an informed patient. Chances are your presenting concern would then be treated. It may also be good to remind some Drs of their ethics and what informed consent is.
I'm not sure if it was here or on Sue's blog but someone wrote that women's medical concerns are often not listened to by Drs and they are denied pain meds. I recently spoke with a friend that I hadn't seen in a while and learned that she has been living with chronic debilitating pain for the past year. It has only been recently that a Dr has taken her seriously and has referred her to a specialist. Up until now she has been told to suck it up, lose weight, and has not been offered pain meds. Then of course she has been questioned about her last pap. What the heck does a pap have to do with chronic pain not to mention the expectation that someone in such pain could assume the position to get one done. I am still angry about how she has been treated.
i hate that " when was your last pap" it implys this test was expected of you and they want a date. i know i have said this before but it really ticks me off when your there in pain with somthing totally unrelated and your being houned for a pap date thin when the woman does not have a date shs is subjected to drama.
I wonder, what do doctors mean when they talk about "drug seekers", (all too often refering to patients that request pain medications)?
Maria, when they call someone a drug seeker, they're accusing the person of trying to obtain pain medications (or other meds, like tranquilizers or sedatives) to abuse or get high from. The idea is that the person doesn't need the meds; they're just faking or exaggerating their issue.
I think I linked an article in Sue's blog but it's also been talked about elsewhere, that women with chronic pain (or pain at all) are much less likely to have it adequately addressed by doctors. They're more likely to be seen as "hysterical females" and totally dismissed.
This is the article I linked at Sue's site about it; it has a lot of links to clinical studies on this issue.
I can vouch for this one; I haven't been offered a single measure of pain control for my orthopedic issue (which includes several ripped ligaments). And when I had my tonsils out, the doctors gave me Tylenol #3 - that is paracetamol and codeine for our AUS/NZ friends. When my cousin, a man, had the same surgery done with lasers (ie, less bleeding, etc.) a year later, they handed him an endless scrip for percocet (paracetamol and oxycodone). He recovered quickly and without a lot of pain. I, on the other hand, was in agony.
The US doctors have become accustomed to labeling everyone as a "drug seeker", and it's doing a huge disservice to patients. There have been a LOT of articles about how patients with legitimate pain concerns, or chronic conditions where they NEED ongoing pain control, either don't get enough pain medicine or are made to feel like criminals.
And the "when was your last pap" question at EVERY APPOINTMENT annoys me to death. The clinic I use now doesn't pressure about paps, but they do ask, and I have also been asked when my last mammogram was. Sigh.
also there is a push now in the US to treat all woman pre pregnant. that means denying woman accses to drugs that could cause harm to a fetus even if the woman has no intention to get pregnant. this means woman in pain get freken tylenal and men get oxycoden. look how woman are treated when they have there cervix fried and cut there is no mager pain relef given. i guess they think woman are supose to suck it up cus they induer chuld laber.
they never ask when was your last skin cancer or brain cancer screening its all about female parts.
Kleigh, sadly you are so right about the treatment of women as pre-pregnant. I'm so sick of it!
While I was younger, every doctor was managing my "health care" around their firm belief that one day I will get pregnant. The interests of the maybe-exist-some-time-in-the-future fetus was put above the interests of the real me, existing there and then. I told them that I was not going to have children, but they were laughing, saying that I was too young to know, and that in a few years I will surely change my mind. I was pissed off: I was declared too young to know whether I want children or not, but the strangers were sure they know me better than myself. That was so arrogant!
Then I got older, and the "one day you will be pregnant" song changed to "it's time now, do it before too late". And again I have to insist that I am not going to have children, ever. And again the medical arrogance is sure it knows better.
Their brain just can't comprehend that a healthy married woman may not want children. Did they ask my marital status to make the decision about annoying me about pregnancies and children? Now I think that might be the case.
Besides having zero interest in being a mother, our medical system is main reason why I don't want to get pregnant. I'm unhappy with the system enough already, but at least I still have the freedom, the room, the time and the ability to protect myself, to defend my interests, to insist on my conditions, to leave the doctors I didn't like. And they have to listen, at least sometimes; because I am an adult and this is MY body.
Once I become pregnant, it will not be my body anymore. It will become a womb that belongs to the System for breeding a new taxpayer. They will not listen to me anymore, they will focus on the fetus. When a pregnant women refuses to submit to every demand of the medical system, she is treated as hysterical, infirm and deranged.
I know it all too well, fortunately for me and unfortunately for the system. I was that "buddy" for my pregnant friend through her pregnancy. She wanted to have a child, but she didn't want to hurt by the system. She felt they are not acting in her and her baby's best interests, but she was too shy and soft to protect herself. So she asked me for help. She ended up birthing a healthy baby with minimal damage for her own health, but it was not because of the system's "heath care", it was despite it!
After being on her side for moths, going through all the "necessary" appointments, threats, coercion, pressure and tonnes of bull$hit, I was shocked and disgusted how the system treated a woman in a vulnerable state. The system was abusing her vulnerability and pressuring her with the fact that, once advancely pregnant, the woman can't exit the condition and can't avoid the "heath care". It felt like a prison, not like "care". And all that experience made me even firmer in my decision not to have children. I know that if I had to go through that humiliating process with our medical system again, by the end of it I will be in such dreadful state, which will not only cause an irreparable harm to my health, but I will also be very harmful for the baby.
You know Alice if any doctor read this they would think they we have an irrational hatred of doctors. But have you ever read the comments of an article about any medico-legal issues from doctors? I have. They are COMPLETELY hysterical and irrational and their hatred of patients is over the top. Just yesterday, I can't remember where,but one male doctor who has practised for 30 years and has done intimate exams on women said that although he has never had one complaint againgst him in the 30 years,he would never advise younger doctors to perform an intimate exam on the oppsoite sex without a chaperone.
And in another journal there was a study that found that patients often don't get their complaints acted upon - to which one doctor started a rant how there's a whole support system for patients who have complaints legitimate or not. I thought, they really see us as the enemy, more so than we see them in that way.
Mary, I understand that it must be very difficult for the doctors when a patient tries to sue them for a wrong reason. But that is a part of their professional life: big power, big money = big risks, big responsibilities. If someone wants to have the former without the latter, they should not be a doctor. In any case, while doctors are risking their careers and money, the patients are risking their health and lives. Doctors only deal with our heath issues from 9 to 5 (or whatever their working hours are), but we are left with our problems and pain 24/7.
There are some doctors (hard to find!) who treat their patients with respect and understand that the patients are grown-ups and entitled to make their own decisions, that the doctors are there for help and for guidance, not for taking the absolute power over the fate and private life of the patients by using scare tactics, withholding the truth and abusing the professional position.
The problem is that such doctors are very hard to find. All because the majority become doctors to get the special status, to secure the employment, to get paid well, to fulfill the parents' wishes, or to satisfy the lust for power over people.
Only a small minority become doctors because they truly want to help, care and heal.
My negative attitude to the medical profession was not innate. It was achieved by the medical system and its doctors over the years. I am not the sort of person who easily jumps into negative conclusions. My hatred must to be achieved by long, persistent and hard efforts, and our medical system seems to be very good at that.
RE: 9031 - Graeme NZ
"Welcome Mark and Rachel. It is good to see you here. So how have you dealt with these issues about female health care?"
Hi Graeme, we have 'dealt with these issues' by agreeing not to allow the opposite sex to examine either of us intimately unless it's an EMERGENCY medical scenario.
So basically, routine pap/smear (female doctor only), prostate examination (male doctor only). Pelvic examination (female only), testicular examination (male doctor only). RTA crushed pelvis or birthing emergency (either sex of doctor as long as risk of death is minimised).
Kleigh and Alice, I am so with you on the "pre-pregnant" thing. I am childfree too - I've never had an interest in having kids and I've never wavered in that at all - but doctors (and others) have completely blown that off. If I said I WANTED a kid at age 30, nobody would think I was too young to make that decision or that I would change my mind. Say the opposite and doctors just totally blow you off. It's everything from proper treatments and medications to the constant nagging to take folic acid supplements, etc. I remember going for an abdominal ultrasound once to check for gall stones, and the receptionist who checked me in automatically said "congratulations!" Huh? It took me a minute to figure out that she thought it was a maternity visit. Of course, the only thing I could possibly be having an ultrasound for would be pregnancy related, I don't actually have any other organs in my entire body. *eyeroll* I really didn't need to be congratulated about the state of my gall bladder.
It's funny but I see a parallel here, to say you don't have pap tests or don't want to have children often triggers a similar response.
I was very young when I worked out there was only one acceptable answer, "Yes, I want children"...you might also get away with, "maybe, one day" or perhaps, "I'm not sure"...but a NO was going too far.
It's the same with pap tests and mammograms, breast feeding, working/studying/not working after you have children - others feel they have a right to judge, scold, lecture...comment.
Regardless of what we say, IMO, we don't really view women as individuals, we're all expected to feel the same way about certain things or we're pressured, judged or lectured. I worked with a woman many years ago who came out with some incredible statements like, "woman who chose not to have children are unnatural or have something wrong with them"...and the usual, "you'll regret it when you're older"...thanks for that, but doesn't it sound familiar on so many levels.
There are studies that conclude CF women lack confidence or perhaps, have a genetic "issue". There must be a reason why we feel the way we do...are there similar studies about men who choose not to have children?
I know they might be called immature, but then they still have time, they'll change when they meet the right woman, so CF men face their challenges as well.
Some words of advice from someone safely on the other side, give them nothing or very little, especially if they're putting you on the spot or being rude. I worked out that debating/discussing the topic was pointless and uncomfortable, it's a very personal matter. I avoided doctors so there was no or little pressure there. I stayed away from certain groups or social situations, avoided "baby-talk" groups (and certain women) or made an excuse to walk away if they turned on me, "better make that phone call".
I'd also change the subject or made light of the probing (sometimes rude) comments and advice. I also understand some people (usually women) simply cannot comprehend a woman might choose never to have children, for them it was the most important thing in life. Fine, but we're not all the same.
I still get the occasional, "Oh, I'm so sorry"...people assuming we were infertile (which I briefly correct and then move on) but just as I'm now more comfortable to say I don't screen, I'm also more comfortable to make clear some women/couples/men choose not to have children. I think people (and doctors) need to hear that more. IMO, for most it basically comes down to never being "sufficiently" interested, it doesn't mean they hate children. Another group are those who wanted children, but didn't have a partner, or a suitable or willing partner.
I know there are a lot of lucky children out there with involved, loving, supportive and generous CF aunts and uncles...and that comes back to us in equal measure. I know our nephews have and will experience lots of things and be in a better place to seize opportunities because they have that wider support network. I know their parents also appreciate the support and feel more comfortable knowing we're all a real presence in their kid's lives...there are more than two people watching over them. We've all enjoyed the school plays, speech nights, tennis finals, birthday parties and next year, (fingers crossed) a University graduation.
We consider our nephews to be children of the family.
SOME women do change their minds at some point, so do some men, but I hated being "told" I didn't know my own feelings, simply because I wasn't giving them the "right" answer.
It's a complex and personal matter, but just as women who choose not to have pap tests should not be judged or called names, neither should those who choose not to marry, breast feed, have kids or who choose to stay at home or work/study after having children.
As I keep saying, we ARE all different, don't try to shove us all into the same hole and when we don't fit, call us abnormal.
It’s a worldwide cultural expectation for women to want to have kids, and most women do, and I appreciate that some women also enjoy being mothers and that’s a good thing when it come’s to the possibility of human extinction. However I think in the West we put far too many expectations on the mothering role, and women struggle under the pressure, taking time to incubate and raise children adversely affects women’s careers, education, financial stability and independence, ABS statistics show that women still continue to do most of the childcare and domestic labour and this figure hasn’t changed much since the 1970’s.
For all those reasons and more I’ve also chosen to be childfree, and when people do the usual intrusive, “but why?” I’m happy to talk about what we as a society need to change to give women a better deal in parenting. I also like to challenge the gender stereotypes that feed into the belief that just because I have female reproductive organs, I must be ‘naturally’ sensitive and nurturing, there’s no substantial evidence to suggest that women are biologically better at childcare than men. But people can be irrational about facts, just as they are about sexist medical practices.
Elizabeth, you are so right, as usual. It is frustrating how many people and situations we have to fight just because we don't give the "right" answer: to pap-smear, to do mammograms, to screen, to want children, to get pregnant, to run to doctors after every sneeze... I too found it much easier to change topics, or, if people sill insist, find a reason to walk away. Those people ask the "why?" questions, but they don't want to accept the answers. The only acceptable answer for them is "yes, I want paps/screens/mammograms/kids/etc".
They think there are only two ways: one is theirs, another one is wrong.
I find it interesting that so many of us are alike, even if separated in age and from different countries. I've often felt quite alone with my strong feelings over the decades, it took this forum to draw us together. It's so nice to speak to people who share my feelings and concerns.
We may be the collective black sheep...I've always thought for myself and if someone pressures me I'm more likely to walk away. I get the feeling most of you are the same way.
Which reminds me, speaking of those who think for themselves, are you still doing okay, Jacqui?
Sue, I don't want to upset you, but I suspect the reason the doctor forced the script for the Pill on you was to cover his tracks in case you complained to the Medical Board. Many Canadian and US doctors "require" the well woman exam for the Pill. It would be easier to explain it all away with a script for the Pill on your file. All of that for a sprained ankle is quite another thing. I know some/many of your doctors screen opportunistically, but even so there are things that take your experience into a sinister area. I have a sinking feeling that doctor knew exactly what he was doing...and the script was part of his modus operandi.
Elizabeth I'm glad you mentioned Jacqui because I've been missing her too. And I highly doubt anything coming from you would ever upset me Elizabeth. I agree with you that the dr was most likely covering his tracks when he forced the prescription for the pill on me. He worked in a clinic affiliated with a University, most likely for reasons we can all imagine, and for reasons that support your sinking feeling. Unfortunately he has not been the only predatory dr I have had the misfortune to encounter.
Alice, good for you to take on the challenge of advocating for your friend who was pregnant, and what a great success to get her out relatively unscathed and with a healthy baby.
The great posts on this page have really got me thinking about how deeply we have all been affected by exploitative medical practices, not to mention other coercive and unrealistic societal pressures. I too am trusting by nature and it took a lot to get me to do a complete 180. But as Alice has said, our medical system is very good at that.
Elizabeth, I too feel very happy that I found this blog. It is very supporting and empowering to know that there are many like-minded people out there. Perhaps, we will be able to organise a real meeting one day, at least for those who live relatively close to each other.
Sue, lots of posts in this blog either helped me to maintain my position or opened my eyes on the dark sides of the system I have never thought of before. It's a great site. One of these sites that literally change life, or even save it.
The problem I have is that when my wife goes to her male doctor for her pap/smear test she doesn't want to know me afterwards, it's like she's in love with her doc for a week afterwards?
Elizabeth, Sia, Alice, I agree. It's interesting that we all have so much in common despite our differences in age/location/et al.
I very much agree with what you've all said. The traditional script requires women to get married, have kids, dedicate their lives to said kids, and be happy about it - regardless of what the women might actually want to do. We're supposed to be maternal and all. Not every human being has the interest or the nurturing drive to be a parent, but if a woman expresses that, she's treated like an unnatural freakshow.
And it's an interesting, and telling, thing that women are always expected to explain their "deviations" from the status quo. It's not enough to say "I've decided to opt out of pap testing;" it has to be a song and dance and a show and tell with peer-reviewed articles with the doctor. It's not enough to say "I don't want kids," you end up explaining yourself there too. It's a real illustration of how women aren't trusted to know themselves, make informed decisions and have opinions that can be respected - and as a woman it really makes me angry.
As you say, blogs like these, and the internet in general, can be very empowering. Women (and men) who don't want to be parents can find support and community - it can be hard when everyone around you has kids and they can't talk about anything else.
And Sue, I am so sorry about your experience with that doctor. He sounds like a predator - and unfortunately this profession and this specialty seem to attract a lot of them. Doctors don't want to be seen as the enemy but when a good, competent, respectful physician is the exception, and not the rule, what else can they expect?
I heard a story through a friend of a friend who had a daughter who kept complaining of back pain. The mother kept taking her to the doctor over and over again and was getting blown off, until the pain was so bad that the child landed in the ER. Someone thought to do an x-ray there and it turned out the back pain was from tumors that were pressing on the spinal cord. She had Stage IV cancer and later died...and one has to wonder, if that idiot pediatrician had LISTENED and done something earlier, that child might have had a better chance. Doctors sit there and beat women over the head about rare cancers and ignore the ones sitting in front of them...battling with a doctor CAN literally save your life.
Diane, a gyn where i live has a tv add saying that the " the greatest gift that you can give your family is to take care of yourself." thin it goes on to tell about the annual exam and then said they" take care of the most imporatant member of your famely ie the care taker. the obgyn add plays on the womans roll of wife and care taker using guilt and fear. its as tho these exams are pushed at woman to control fertility and help insure the care taker stays in tip top shap to beable to perforom her dutys as wife and mother. i have to wonder if there ideas about woman were influenced by nazi Germany. that was a round the time when pap smeara were invinted and hitler forced gyn exams on woman and forced them to stay healthy and reproduse.
Just to let everyone know, I am childfree (by choice), also. Years ago when I was on the pill my doctor asked me a few times if I was "ready" to have a baby. And she also wouldn't do a tubal ligation when I first requested one. She finally relented when I was 37. I guess SHE made the decision that I was old enough to know what I wanted and that I wouldn't change my mind. I knew from the time I was a child that I didn't want to have children. I really haven't been hassled too much over the years although I do have one sister-in-law that has asked "why" I didn't want kids and I can tell she thinks I am a little crazy for not wanting them. It does all boil down to everyone respecting other's decisions and not questioning or judging them, especially when those decisions are personal and have no negative impact on anyone else. And for the record, my husband (who was agreeable about the no kids thing) and I have one of the happiest and longest marriages of anyone I know, including those with kids. It is good to know that there are other "black sheep" out there, not only when it comes to being child-free, but also when it comes to refusing screenings. Happy to know I am not the only one!
I am another one who doesn't want to have children, I have known it since I was veeery little. Especially when I was surrounded by women, it was much easier to just say "maybe sometime in the far future", it kept them off my back. My female family members were all sure I would change my mind. Well, I did not. Now just past 30, I just say it as it is. I love children but I can't picture me raising a child. Lucky me, I am with a man who feels the same...
So many childfree women here! Awesome!
JeanArt, I've also been unsuccessful in getting my tubes tied, thus far. I've given up on it for the time being, in fact. It's another example of the disparity between the health care that men and women receive. I've heard from many CF men and couples that it's far, far easier for men to get vasectomies than for women to get tubals.
It goes back to the lack of respect that the medical profession has for women - and I also think it's about economics. After all, once you have a tubal you really have no reason to see the GYN again. Unless you have a condition like PCOS you're not going to need hormonal BCP from them anymore, and they can't hold it over your head to try to force you into a "well woman exam" and pap. They lose the income from those visits and paps, and obviously you won't be coming to them for prenatal/maternity services. You'd think they'd want to act in their patients' best interests instead of try to keep longterm customers, but you know they don't roll that way.
And Kleigh, I've seen commercials like that too: "don't get checked for yourself, get checked for all the other people you take care of!" It really tries to prey on women's emotions and pigeonhole them into that caregiver role.
Diane, you are so right! Doctors' attitude against ChildFree women is largely influenced by monetary benefits. Doctors lose a great deal of their income on CF. CF are more likely to have enough time to do their research and say 'no' to annual exams, pap smears and other unnecessary medical invasions. CF are also not going to bring the gold mine of pregnancy- and childbirth-related visits. They are not going to become "regular customers" of ob/gyns because they won't have the problems women get during their pregnancies, childbirth, screenings and other related female "heath-care". Of course doctors don't want that.
What doctor with a business-oriented mind would let a prospective regular customer go? It's better for the business to pressure a woman into regular screening, find some harmless abnormalities, butcher her cervix because the abnormalities "may turn to cancer", then make more business on the pregnancy complications that risen from the cervix damage, then make even more money on a birth complicated by the butchered cervix, and then get a life-long business dealing with the post-natal heath problems. And all that will be called "heath care" and be done "for the women's own good".
Has anyone ever seen a doctor demanding explanations and asking 'why' when a women said she wants to have kinds, wants to have an invasive check-up or wants to do pap smears? No. We only required to explain and defend our point when we don't want to be pregnant or don't want to smear, even though the statistics clearly show that pap smears do more damage than good, and that pregnancies damage women's health way more than the lack of pregnancies.
Has anyone been ever told they are immature, abnormal, stupid, selfish, will change their mind, must change their mind, or asked 'why' when they said they want to have kids? Hardly ever! The brain-drilling experience only starts when we say 'no'.
Paul, the situation with your wife may be the opposite to what you think: she is not "in love" with her doctor, she is in hate with her womanhood.
Women are coerced into these exams and tests, and many women are pressured believe that the exams are necessary and that it is a "normal part of being a woman". Many women hate it, but they are brainwashed to think that they can't say 'no': it will make them irresponsible and they will drop dead if they don't do the check-ups and screening, because the female organs are dangerous time-bombs waiting for an opportunity to turn into cancer and leave the family motherless.
After such forced and invasive "necessary" appointments, women may feel violated and depressed. They may hate the fact of being women, see it as unfair punishment and may not want to have anything to do with the female parts of their body. It may also may also lead no a negative attitude to men, especially intimacy with men, because men are not forced to suffer like that. This state may last for a while: days, a week or more. And many women are too brainwashed to realise what is really happening to them.
Alice, that last comment, I'm sure you're spot-on there.
I often read posts from women who've had children and some of the comments are sad and concerning, "pap tests, you won't worry about them after you've given birth and the whole world has been between your legs"....that sort of thing.
You also get this sort of comment from some doctors as well, "women are used to these exams, they have children after all"...it seems because we can have children, these exams are regarded as somehow easier for us or we just have to "get used" to them. (I hate that expression) I think that's why there was absolutely no rush to find an alternative to the pap test or offer self-testing...they knew they could pressure or capture most women and get away with it...using our need for medical care, pre-natal care, the Pill etc.
Some of the women who post here are mothers and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them. I know Mary has 2 or 3 children. So there are women who've had children, but still value their bodily privacy.
Once again, I wonder how much of this acceptance that you are now devoid of bodily privacy because you've given birth...is once again women being told how they should feel about their bodies and childbirth. I know women who've given birth, yet they also value their bodily privacy. These women were treated respectfully and privately. The whole world wasn't invited into the room for a look.
These attitudes may make it easier for the medical profession, but it also says to me there are some serious failures in obstetrics when so many women end up feeling that way.
I think many women, mothers or not, are heartily sick of being told how they should feel. It also makes me happy to know that some girls are being raised by mothers who are well aware of the facts and will ensure their children understand that informed consent matters for women as well and that our bodies are not public property. So often women who've been brainwashed and endured decades of probing and "treatments" do the grooming for the medical profession and deliver up their girls at an early age...to get them "used to it"...ensuring their daughters take their place in day procedure some day. The generational cycle of well-woman misery.
I'm so glad I found this thread. I saw a male gyn just over a year ago and was left paralysed in shock after he gave me a 'surprise' breast exam. I was nervous enough as it was and I wasn't expecting him to go anywhere near my breasts, but he did and he didn't warn me at all! He said he needed to listen to my heart and lungs which I reluctantly let him do, them he just went right ahead started feeling my breasts (I was laying down) also he was inappropriate in other ways. In retrospect I wonder why on earth I didn't react by slapping him in the face but I think it's not always easy for a woman in that situation who is not as well informed as she should be. I admit I was very naive, I hadn't seen a male gyn before and some of the things he did were 'jumped' on me with no forewarning. This was my first and very last male gyn!!!
Elizabeth, I feel lucky that I ended up with elective c sections. The thought of a vaginal birth in a hospital scared me to death as I heard horror stories from friends. They all seemed to happen because these women were in vulnerable positions- the stories weren't so much modesty issues (although they could have been that as well) but just loss of control issues (one being denied a c section even though it was breech, another ending up with forceps (shudder) for example). My husband is a very placid man and I was terrified that he wouldn't the balls to advocate for me. So I was quite relieved to end up with c sections. And it is pretty bad indictment on the hospital system that women feel they would rather go through a c section just so they are in control and not traumatised.
I just hope that no women here feels so strongly about the fear and modesty violations that could happen during birth that it puts them off becoming mothers. Because OIA showed that it could be done on her terms.
PS I hope Jacqui comes back soon too.
I NEVER wanted kids and have been asked COUNTLESS times why I never had them, why I didn't want them; very very hard to extricate myself out of uncomfortable situations. NOW I have a very good answer: "I don't see the purpose of having them." Which renders everybody speechless and NOBODY has EVER given me a plausible reason for having children, but if they turn nasty, I stop them cold with: "Nobody looks particularly thrilled if they DO have kids. All I ever see or hear are people angry and screaming at their kids. Doesn't seem like fun to me." I NEVER am left alone, but now, at 45-1/2, because I look like I am 20, if that, people still say: "You have time..." And I hold up my hand and say" "I've never wanted kids, never will have them; just because I have the equipment to bear them doesn't mean I want them." I have always been given unsolicited lectures, commentary and hateful, hate-filled remarks and nobody will leave me alone, especially the men I once dated, who ALL said I was "not normal" for not wanting kids. To those fools I said: "If you want kids so badly, go out and have them with somebody else. I'll be damned if I am going to change those disgusting diapers and listen to YOUR KID screaming and crying and whining all day while you go off and play tennis!" And they all made the worst comments to me; as a result, I broke up with all of them and haven't dated anybody seriously since 1995. Since it's always about the constant nagging and outright pressure to bear their kids, let them go off and find a woman willing to turn her body inside out; I am NOT willing to do this and I have ALWAYS been extremely honest and upfront about my lack of wanting children.
I want you all to know that repeated doc sexual exams on my wife sickened me so that I couldn't see my wife in the same we. I divorced her in the end as she couldn't understand how the man docs affected me. She thougt I was possessive. Now I have a loving and understanding wife.
I hear you Jonathan! My wife left me for her male doc in the end! I wasn't worried about her going to see him, turned out there were more than pelvic exams going on! To top it all off, the pair of them tried to stop me from seeing my children! The Doc was inbelievably arrogant. I would never trust one again.
Mary, it definitely does speak to the lack of competence/compassion/et al in the medical profession that a C section would be preferable to a vaginal birth.
I've read OIA's story here, and I've also heard that many more women are now opting for doulas/nurse midwives instead of going to OB/GYNs...and of course, there's endless screeching from the medical profession about how it's unsafe and wrong and how home births are bad. Of course, anything that interferes with their control and impacts their bank accounts is "wrong." I'm glad that more women are standing up to doctors and doing what is best for them!
And in regards to being childfree, I really won't explain myself anymore. I did in the past, but now I figure that I don't have an obligation to justify my life choices to anyone, so I simply say "that's my choice," and leave it there.
I'm unattached right now but I would never get involved with any man who wanted children. That is an absolute deal breaker for me.
I've just been reading about a procedure used on women during childbirth a few decades ago in Ireland, called a symphysiotomy, doctors would break the woman's pelvis, without her knowledge or consent causing a lifetime of disability and pain. It's appalling that we have a long history of medical abuse towards women, cervical screening without a doubt, follows this trend.
I’m concerned that some male posters may be using this forum to berate their wives, ex-wives, partners or girlfriends for having gynaecological exams. So here’s a list of suggestions for the men who are unhappy about the women in their lives having these exams:
1. Respectfully discuss your concerns with her, if you’ve done some research, ask her if she would like to read it then respect her right to make decisions for herself. You do not own her body; just because she shares intimacy with you does not give you entitlement to make decisions about how she chooses to care for her body. My partner makes healthcare decisions that I don’t agree with, but I’m not going to berate him for it, it’s frustrating but I also respect his right to bodily autonomy.
2. A gynaecological exam is not a sexual act, even though pelvic exams and pap smears may be unnecessary, there are genuine health issues where a woman may need that part of her body examined.
3. Stop blaming women, as Alice has already said, genital exams are an expected part of women’s healthcare, women are groomed to comply with their doctors recommendation, not only by the health profession, but also by her peer group, cancer foundations and government sponsored incentives. Women are systematically coerced, threatened and denied medical care unless they conform to these exams. Many women genuinely believe these routine gynaecological exams will save their lives.
4. Many women feel exposed and vulnerable after these exams, don’t blame the victim, you may alienate her further, try and be sensitive to her needs and don’t pressure her for sex, give her time to recover.
5. Not all male doctors are sexual predators, there are many reasons a woman may choose a male doctor, and sometimes it might just come down to the fact that she is the most comfortable with that particular individual, regardless of gender.
debunking the myth of the male predator
Thumbs up to the men that support and advocate for the women in their lives, when they refuse to comply with unnecessary, harmful and sexist medical procedures.
I have an aversion to male doctors for reasons other than thinking they are sexual predators (Although, I have been a victim of predatory behaviour).
From my experience of male doctors I have felt that they:
1. Do not listen.
2. Do not take no for an answer.
3. Fob off my concerns.
4. Treat me like I am stupid.
I'm not saying that every female doctor is perfect, but I have never met a female doctor who just outright dismisses me and disrespects me the way male doctors have.
I agree Mary, many men behave badly towards women, including male doctors, though my point is that male predatory behaviour is not a biological trait, it's learned behaviour and a sense of entitlement to women's bodies sanctioned by our culture, and not all men are sexual predators.
I have the same aversion to male doctors for the reasons mentioned by Mary. With few exceptions, I have found that female doctors have less of a God Complex.
As for the numerous posts from the "husbands" about how it is "improper to go to a male doctor" I'm somewhat convinced it's the same person or a small group posting over and over again.
Sia, the symphysiotomy story was extremely interesting. The story highlighted very well how women have been, and continue to be, harmed and exploited. Similar to the pap test (unreliable and worthless) which women are commonly bullied into and which almost always leads to further business for obgyns and mutilation to a woman's cervix. It is very disturbing to see how history repeats itself.
Men are not all predators I agree, but all men are motivated to procreate. The word "predator" is subjective. In my own experience it seems all male drs are more likely to be motivated to coerce a woman into stripping and spreading her legs at every opportunity. Male drs are biologically inclined to do so and it is only the most unethical and aggressive drs that are categorized as predatory. It is more a matter of degrees than anything.
At the same time however, some women are more comfortable with a male performing a pelvic exam simply because they are more used to having a male viewing that part of their anatomy. To each her own. I can see how some men are upset by having their wives go to male drs for a pelvic exam as men understand how all pelvic exams ARE sexual to some extent in the eyes of male drs. Old, young, thin, stout, attractive, unattractive - vaginas are vaginas and most men (unless gay) are drawn to them, want to see them, and want to touch them.
If I had no choice but to see a dr I would prefer a female dr because, as Mary, Sia and Diane have said, they are less likely to be dismissive, less likely to be insufferably arrogant, and more likely to listen to me. In addition, I have had four traumatic experiences with male drs who certainly would fall under the "predator" category.
Diane and Mary, I agree it says a lot that some women would prefer to have a C-section than to go through the dehumanizing experience of giving birth in hospital and being put on display in their most intimate moments to numerous intrusive strangers. I like the term "birth rape" that has been coined as it captures the experience of giving birth in the hospital very well. What actually irks me most though is the unnecessary urinary catheterization of women in hospital as it most always leads to chronic urinary tract infections for the rest of the woman's life.
Elizabeth and Diane, I almost forgot I have been wanting to thank you for your kind comments regarding my first pelvic exam. I felt cared for and validated, thank you. The comments on my blog (under the post "The other side of the speculum") reveal I am certainly not alone in having had a traumatic experience with male drs and pelvic exams. There are some disturbing and revealing stories coming out on other sites as well, it is wonderful to see women talking about this.
"Here's my story.
When I was a teenager I started having skin problems 'down there' and went to see my female G.P. She took a simple swap test to rule out infection then referred me to a female gynecologist. Unfortunately the problem turned out tho be hard to diagnose and treat and I ended up seeing four more gynecologists and three dermatologists (all female), being misdiagnosed twice and countless unsuccessful treatments. That went on for years, I'm now in my early thirties!
This had a terrible effect on my life, causing me embarrassment, physical discomfort with my intimate relationships, loss of confidence, feeling like a failure and depression. I decided I needed to seek out a doctor who specialised in the condition as regular gynes and dermatologists didn't seem to have enough knowledge and experience. I'd become desperate and was in a really bad place, at that point I didn't care if I saw a male or female as long as they could help me, that's when I found the male gyne on the Internet. I went off recommendations I found online by women who suffered the same as me and they all seemed to think he was a good doctor, so I decided to see him.
When I finally saw him he had the typical 'Mr. Charming' way about him. He asked me to undress fully and put on a paper gown which I thought was strange. When I was laying down he asked to listen to my heart and I remember staring at the ceiling not looking down but he reached across me to listen to the side of my chest and I felt him rest his hand on my breast. He then went straight into giving me a breast exam without warning me. I was so shocked! I just laid there staring at this one spot on the ceiling feeling like some sort of medical mannequin, like I daren't move. As he was doing the exam the paper gown fell completely open and when he was finished he just walked away to the end of the table without saying a word, leaving me there exposed. I fumbled to pull the gown back over me and felt really embarrassed.
He then examined my lady parts using a speculum first and then inserted his fingers into me to feel around. At one point he started thrusting one of his fingers in and out of me a few times asking if it hurt. It did hurt and he knew it did because he knew my condition and that's the whole reason I went to see him in the first place! During the exam he rubbed my thigh and my arm inappropriately as if to comfort me and commented a couple of times on how attractive he thought I was when he was trying to make small talk. Also, he walked back in on me when I was getting dressed to 'pick up something he forgot'.
In contrast, NONE of the female doctors I saw felt it was necessary to listen to my heart, give me a breast exam, ask me to undress above the waist, use a speculum or insert their fingers into me or to touch any part of my body apart from the affected area (which was on the outside of my body, not the inside).
I realise he had a terrible God complex which he concealed behind a charming, laid back swagger and pretended to care in a sickly, condescending manner. He thinks he's God's gift to women based on the fact he can treat things that other gynecologists can't and thinks that's his 'free pass' to vulnerable, emotionally weak female bodies.
The sad fact is, for a while I tried to justify what he did because he was able to help me. I almost felt guilty for hating him, I thought 'how can I hate someone who helped me?' Thankfully when I met my boyfriend he got a pin and popped that delusional bubble I was trapped in.
It makes me feel sick when I think of the doctor's smug little face, I imagine him sitting back laughing at what he gets away with. I guess he thinks he can do what he wants and his 'get out of jail free' card is the fact that he can 'fix' sexually dysfunctional women and women fall for it."
#2870 - Van Lear Rose (Luton, UK) - 29/11/2012
As usual, I have a lot to say, but the Internet is difficult to access at the moment. I'll be online on Monday...
I received an email alerting me to a new post on a thread over at "Against all Evidence"...a woman trapped on a miserable and painful cycle of testing, re-testing and "treatments" over many years. She was posting at 4.30am....I could feel her pain in every word. One sentence jumped out at me, she didn't think she had a choice about this testing.
How successfully they've manipulated the thinking about an elective cancer screening test? I doubt many would feel the same way about colonoscopies. I'll respond to her when I have better access...
this test is an internal vaginl exam with hands and tools. i hate the way mediacl people say its meadical not sexuall. they have to be brainwashed to think its okay to present this test as a law with no choise. i have never heard it sound opptional the words are always "must" and "should". and the Acog is the worst and cdc for telling woman what test they must have. there needs to be regualtion with this testing an doctors should be scared to test woman with out full concent. when a woman feels forced to have this test then itsd rape. and if the gyns really cared about woman they whould come out with a less intrusive test. imposing this invasisve test on all healthy woman is over the top and overkill.
Van Lear Rose, reading about the male gynecologist and the way you were treated was making my skin crawl. You captured very well his manner, "concealed behind a charming, laid back swagger and pretended to care in a sickly, condescending manner", and I am sad to say I have encountered the same charming, laid back swagger. Kind of a humored, joking way designed to elicit trust and put you at ease. And it makes you feel that much worse when you realize that he took advantage and misused his position of power.
The following excerpt I found was helpful for me when I was trying to make sense of traumatic experiences with male drs, and when I didn't know even what to call it:
"These non-stereotypical experiences are no less valid or serious than the stranger assault we hear about on the news, although our society often considers them to be less legitimate . . . This makes sexual assault a very lonely issue for some survivors. It’s a lot harder to recover from something when you don’t even have a name for it.
The farther someone’s experience is from the stereotype, the more difficult it can be for them to identify what happened as sexual assault and access supports.
The impact is the same, but the context in which it happens can be a barrier.
There is no hierarchy of validity or severity in sexual assault. Recognizing all experiences of sexual assault, regardless of how they fit into a stereotype, is the first step in breaking down barriers to support and holding perpetrators accountable" (Sexual violence: It's misrepresented)
I am happy for you that your boyfriend was able to help you make sense of the experience. It is sickening that drs can do what they do, and get away with it. Even worse, when a formal complaint is filed it most often is covered up, leaving the woman invalidated and feeling re victimized. I have discovered that prevention is the best route to take when it comes to male drs, and as long as I am able bodied enough to make my own decisions I will never go to another male dr.
i have been hearing whith the new American health care law.doctors will be sent papers on men and woman that are not up to date with the recomended screenings and other health exams. they are saying every time a doctor gets questioned for why there patents are not geting the screenings its going to count aganst them forceing the doctor to fier or refuse all care untill the person is up to date. i find this very scary.