I reveal no secrets when I say that the idea of the male ob/gyn sorely inflames the revulsion center in my obstreperal lobe. This morning, as the rosy fingers of dawn reached across the sky to chuck me under the chin, this inflammation was exacerbated by a tiptoe through an ob/gyn listserv.
The thread in the listserv to which I was directed (by one of our patriarchy-blaming MDs) begins with a male ob/gyn whining that one of his adult patients wants him to recommend a female gynecologist for her teenage daughter. The discussion turns into a celebration of (mostly) male resentment over patients who have the gall and stupidity to prefer women doctors when “chromosomal arrangement” is clearly irrelevant to medical expertise.
Of course it is! Or rather, it’s irrelevant when the chromosomal arrangement is XY. That’s because, in a patriarchy, men have a perfect right to be in charge of female reproductive organs. And since the context is “medical” rather than “sexual,” any gender preference manifested by the patient is, as one of the male ob/gyns put it, “illogical.”
Because of the lame listserv architecture, the thread is difficult to follow, and as a result I’m sure I’ve missed a few gems, but here are some of the lowlights:
Dr. A: I suspect that many men overestimate the pain of a normal birth.” [context]
Dr. B: My assertion has never been that one needs to have had a baby […] to provide good care, but that it is not unreasonable for a person to prefer someone who at least has the same equipment to care for their sexual health.
Dr. C: Nonsense! [context]
Dr C: My mother fixed this problem when I was born and named me Lynn. Many a woman has been quite shocked when a 6’4″ male walks into the exam room. When they say they thought I was a woman, I simply respond by saying, “too late now.” [context]
Dr D: Our hospital referral line was responding to requests for a referral to an OB/GYN would you like a women [sic] doctor and until one of our male OB learned this and complained about discrimination did they stop [context]
But here is the pièce de résistance, a female ob/gyn (thanks a bunch, sistergirl!) who opines that a woman patient whose history of abuse has made her leery of the idea of a strange man cramming his hand up her vagina should, for her own good, be “desensitized” by disallowing her preference. “Going along with [a patients’ preference for a female doc] is not ultimately healing.”
This patronizing arrogance is astonishing, but not surprising, given the supremely misogynistic nature of the medical establishment. Women, who their whole lives have been conditioned to exist in a perpetual state of reaction to male authority and who have justifiably found this situation unsatisfactory, clearly have no business expressing this sort of “sexist” and “discriminatory” preference. Social control of women morphs into medical control.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in a patriarchal society — which, let me refresh your memory, is a society more or less built on the fetishization of female genitalia — any dude who springs out of bed one fine morning to declare “I will be a gynecologist, by Jove!” is precisely the sort of dude who should be confined in an asylum.
I mean, in what other profession does a man view disembodied pussy as a source of revenue?