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Sep 17 2009

CrotchWatch ’09

Today Spinster HQ kicks off our much-anticipated new feature, CrotchWatch ’09. Through CrotchWatch ’09 we’ll keep careful tabs on global genitalia. Because the state of being female is a medical condition, we’ll start with NetDoctor.

NetDoctor is a UK-based health tip website. It contains “all you need to know about the prevention, treatment and management of more than 500 diseases and conditions.”

That’s a fuckton of diseases and conditions!

Today’s post represents an effort to quell the incessant clamor for an in-depth analysis of NetDoctor Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG’s views on hetero women’s sexuality. His views are important because they appear on “more than 800 radio and TV programmes” as well as on the Internet, and because Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG is not just a dude, he’s a dude with pink skin, white hair, a stethoscope around his neck, and a serious alphabetical APU (authoritay-pile-up) appended to his name.

But on to CrotchWatch, and Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG’s pronouncements on the health problems associated with the dimensions of women’s junk.

Worries about vaginal and vulval size are extremely common among women. This is scarcely surprising, because a woman’s feelings about her own vagina and vulva are central to her sexuality.

I’m sure we’d all like to congratulate him on not using the word “junk,” and on grasping the difference between “vulva” and “vagina,” but this is clearly a misstatement of the facts. What Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG really means is, a woman’s crotchal insecurities are scarcely surprising because Porn Nation’s feelings about her own vagina and vulva are central to her sexuality. But this mistake is understandable. The difference between “woman” and “porn” is negligible. And anyway, the doctor is correct in identifying women’s “feelings” as a medical matter.

But what of this “size” stuff? Well, Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG postulates that the post-partum vagina really can be “too big,” pointing out that a vacuous vadge is prone to “fanny-farting” as well as the dreaded bath-water vacuum effect. News you can use!

Speaking of pornography, here are Dr David Delvin MB BS LRCP MRCS DObst RCOG DCH FPA Cert MRCGP Dip Ven MFFPRCOG’s remarks on that zesty topic.

There has always been a difference between men and women where porn is concerned.

Not true! Back in the Lower Paleolithic, Homo habilis chicks kicked it old skool, enjoying violent rape flicks on VHS as much as the next caveman. It wasn’t until the Mesolithic and the rise of the art critic that the female response to cinematic sex-based violence began to diverge from the established norm.

Men tend to be turned on by things they can see, while women seem to prefer the images and fantasies they have in their heads.

Which is why all blind guys are universally impotent, and all women are nuts. See how it all begins to make sense?

For this reason, women often don’t enjoy the sort of porn that men like. If the people on the screen don’t appeal to them, they don’t get turned on.

Is it possible that Today’s Woman finds the graphic representation of her own oppression less palatable than the myth of romance? I was rather under the impression that porn empowerfulizes women.

Also, women tell us they do not find sitting in front of a desktop very conducive to arousal.

Well, this is spot-on; it is a well-known fact that women have to be surrounded by piles of pink velvet laundry in order to visualize Fabio flexing his lovedong on a tropical beach.

Women can also feel uneasy and inferior about the bodily ‘perfection’ of the women in porn. This can put them off sex, rather than turn them on to it.

Pah. The Porn Beauty Standard has absolutely nothing to do with “a woman’s feelings about her own vagina and vulva being central to her sexuality.” Sometimes we just have a goddam headache, you know?

They can feel threatened by their man’s enjoyment of these images and quickly feel that if a man is enthusiastic about porn, he must be losing interest in her. We would say this is often not the case at all.

Yeah, rest easy, straight girls. Your man’s obsession with the graphic representation of rape is no reason to fret. Men can consume an infinite number of two-dimensional women while simultaneously remaining capable of keeping a 3-D version (i.e. you!) around to wash his socks.

Whether women like it or not, because porn is so available, most men are going to view it.

Suck it up, ladies. Porn’s not goin’ anywhere. And remember: while Nigel is furtively jacking off on his laptop, you can always have an affair with your Swiffer mop. But use birth control!

102 comments

  1. Molly

    I think I need to go drink about 10 margaritas to scrub my mind of the image of Fabio flexing his lovedong. Which phrase I will shamelessly be ripping off, by the way.

  2. Jeanette

    CrotchWatch ’09 breaking news update. This just in from Czechoslovakia: Ladies, while enjoying your man’s porn-induced arousal, please have the best orgasm possible: http://www.physorg.com/news172398076.html

  3. birkwearingblamer

    A dude who spreads fresh manly wisdom about women’s sexuality, despite the fact that he lacks a vagina or vulva. Let’s given him one.

  4. Notorious Ph.D.

    Just read Jeanette’s link. O my f-ing gods. “Vaginal orgasm is best.” For what?!?

    (No one will be surprised to learn that the study also concluded that women need a large-sized schlong. Or that women’s “failure” to achieve vaginal orgasm was just because no one had educated them during their formative years as to how very *important* vaginal orgasms were.)

  5. Julia Grim

    If I use birth control then how will I make my fortune selling tiny semi-intelligent swiffer mops on the black market?

  6. yttik

    I’m having a good laugh. Not sure which is more amusing, that I’m supposed to put worrying about vaginal size on my to do list or that having an affair with a Swiffer sweeper really does sound more appealing then what the NetDoctor is suggesting.

  7. Pinko Punko

    So keeping his stethoscope in the refrigerator is pretty far down the list for this- wait for it- Knobstetrician.

  8. FemDoc

    I am usually quick to reassure a female patient that, indeed, her vagina is normal and that perhaps her complaining male partner may be the one with the, ahem, size problem.

    As a family doctor (I guess what would be called a “GP” in the UK), with only the humble “MD” after my name, I am actually more concerned about American Medicine’s penchant for “Stepford-Wifing” female patients with various psychotropics (someday, perhaps, I’ll get my shit together enough to write an essay, “Prozac: The Stepford-Wifing of America”, and submit it to the New England Journal of Medicine). Apparently, perimenopausal “moodiness” is a dangerous disease process that must be cured, so that the American husband and children don’t have to walk on eggshells around the “crazy woman” who has replaced the doormat they had all come to love, or at least tolerate. She’s not doing cartwheels after trashing her own dreams to clean house, make meals, cart kids around, and take full responsibility for the continued sexual pleasure of her mate? She MUST be NUTS! She must be medicated (hubby just can’t “put her away” in a mental institution so easily any more, damn it, but he sure can say, “Something is wrong with you–go see the doctor”)! I guess hubby would be pissed to find out that THIS doctor is more likely to tell his wife otherwise. He might also be surprised to find out that the most commonly prescribed antidepressants pretty much kill libido and cause anorgasmia (or perhaps HER enjoyment of sex is not a priority to him, anyway–but the whole issue of libido deserves its own rant–our culture would have you believe that adult human beings of all ages should want to hump like rabbits at all times, which is just not the case for normal women OR men).

    Since its inception, when female herbalists and midwives were demonized and/or outright exterminated, Medicine has been a tool of the patriarchy. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to help women understand that THEY are normal–it’s our culture that is sick.

  9. FemDoc

    By the way…I don’t know what a “Dip” is, but it does seem to appropriately summarize Dr. David’s alphabet-soup of accomplishments…in fact, he should just drop the rest, and go with “Dr. David Delvin, Dip.”

  10. Shelby

    I am baffled at Dr. Dude’s advice about inserting a small dildo AS WELL AS inserting your partner’s manstick if your junk has been overstretched in childbirth. What the fuck? I’m trying to visualise the logistics. Does the dildo go in before the schlong or do they go in side by side or does Nigel go in first and then you try and fill up any empty space with as many small dildos as possible. Surely there’s a guiness record crying out somewhere here?

  11. slythwolf

    Fabio flexing his lovedong on a tropical beach.

    Oh, Jill, how is it you can make me throw up a little in my mouth and cry with laughter at the same time?

  12. Shelby

    And another thing, just because I’m on the cans now and probably shouldn’t be drinking whilst in control of the heavy machinery keyboard, but, why the fuck is penile enlargement surgery on the NHS in the UK? It’s not elective surgery so you don’t have to pay. It’s absolutely vital emergency surgery that every dud(e) in dudenation has the medical right to a large looking schlong!!!! fuuuuuuuuuckeeeeeeeeeeeeers! IBPT.

  13. little_sis

    femdoc, i wish you were my gp!

  14. Isa

    WAIT WHAT SHIT WHAT penile enlargement surgery NHS WHAT?! I’m not sure if that’s hilarious or tragic… or… hilariously… tragic. Eh. I’ve been drinking too.

    Worries about ‘vaginal size?’ That nonsense drives me nuts. To be honest I was pretty much isolated from pop culture and whatever as a wee horny nerdy lass, but I was never uncomfortable with my ladyparts. I’m pretty happy with them. Also my partner tells me they’re very pretty. I’m inclined to agree.

    PS Fabio flexing lovedong = favourite combination of words ever. Thank you.

  15. speedbudget

    I concur with all that everyone has said, but I think it was amazingly awesome that Dr. Dip used the word “wank” in a clinical context.

  16. servical

    Also, FemDoc – your comment on stepford-wifing is tops. I just came from HuffPo, where some dude is tackling the “Why women are so unhappy?” issue for us. He’s going to let us know how we should do life better. He’s made it his goal for the forseeable future. Really, I was so disgusted by his column I had to rush over here to try to get the stench off me.

  17. notalady

    Shelby, perhaps a threesome with the Swiffer would do the trick. Then you can mop and doink at the same time.

    I’m sure Dr Dip would approve.

  18. Val

    “our culture would have you believe that adult human beings of all ages should want to hump like rabbits at all times, which is just not the case for normal women OR men”
    Fantastically brilliant point, FemDoc!

  19. yttik

    “Why women are so unhappy?” Yep, saw that. Men have four times the suicide rate and commit 93% of the violent crime, but women are obviously much less happy because we “self medicate” with anti depressants more often. Women have this astounding ability to do many things by themselves. We often self impregnate, walk into walls and abuse ourselves in our own relationships, and now we self medicate.

    Actually reading that article and hearing how good we have it, how equality has practically been achieved, how we aren’t working any harder than men, how much housework they are doing, certainly dropped my happiness quotient several points.

  20. birkwearingblamer

    Personally, I don’t believe that GPs or gynecologists should prescribe antidepressants. If a patient is really depressed, the patient be treated by a psychiatrist, a specialist that is qualified to alter brain chemistry. A specialist is held to a higher standard of care than a GP. Having a gynecologist (reproductive specialist) mess with your brain chemistry is a bad idea, but some of my friends do it. Some gynecologists in my area have even branched out into plastic surgery. Get a pap smear and a new labia! Efficient!

    Femdoc, I would hope that you wouldn’t think that “trashed my own dreams” by staying home with my kids. I don’t like that kind of judgmental bullshit.

  21. Jill

    Hey birk, who’s judging you for dreaming of staying home with your kids? Femdoc’s remarks were obviously not directed at you personally. She alludes to a narrative popularized by The Feminine Mystique and played out daily by millions. Why the snarl?

  22. CassieC

    Not all gynecologists see undermining women as their business. Anecdote: friend goes to see gynecologist, has breakdown during pap smear, gynecologist tells her she needs to see a therapist, gets the insurance paperwork done to make sure it happens. Said therapist gets my friend exercising instead of taking pills (same effect), helps her get her self-confidence back, and in due course friend dumps abusive shithead of a husband. Woot!

  23. bitchin'an blamin'

    You always cheer me up. I will never look at my swiffer the same way.

  24. Denise

    Not only is vaginal orgasm “best”, but it has nothing to do with any boring foreplay but entirely to do with how big Nigel’s wang is and how long he pumps away at you.

  25. slade

    Did Dr. Dip dare to declare the delightful degree of deification devoted to the Clitoris? What a dandy word, Clitoris. But I rarely hear its sweet syllables. Alas.

    If I were in charge of sex education, da boyz would be taught how to make a woman come with no chance of pregnancy. Does any school teach that? Or is it just too much work for da boyz to move a finger?

  26. Nolabelfits

    I trashed my own dreams. Or rather, they were sorta trashed for me. Having kids meant I didn’t really have a lot of power to do much about it. I don’t resent them for it, however. IBTP.

    This blog keeps me sane. Thanks, Jill.

  27. birkwearingblamer

    Jill, it’s the old mommy wars. You know, the patriarchy set up in which a mother is blamed for whatever choice she makes. Don’t blamers all want a society in which a woman doesn’t have to give up her dreams when she has a baby? I’ve lost my patience with the whole deal. Just cranky today, I guess.

  28. Felicity

    Why does it always have to be a man to comment on female unhappiness- the sexual mind of a female? ‘I know shit but I’ll talk about it anyway.’

    Why is it always so mainstream to solve a mystery about half the world’s population? It’s completely dehumanizing and only dude nation could be so stupid!

  29. Bella Donna

    Personally, I never suffered from any form of vaginal-insecurity until I started hanging out with college dudes, whom, upon realizing that I was not up for casual sex began openly discussing their past and present girlfriends in front of me.

    Up to that point I had always assumed that there was some unspoken agreement of basic respect for a person who had shared their body with you, but apparently not.

    Many of these guys would tell me that I just needed to “relax” and “get laid” like I would ever let some guy get near me when I knew that any virgin mistake or slight physical flaw in my body would be open for mocking discussion amongst both friends and mere acquaintances.

    Still, it took a few years to get over an underlying anxiety that the first time I slept with some guy he would be revolted by my body. IBTP

  30. agasaya

    Birk,

    The P trashed my dreams of having kids because of the way female physiology gets in the way of profits from the crap being peddled in this country (a lot of it illegal to sell in Europe). Just look at the current rate of miscarriages and childhood learning disabilities, illustrating the problem.

    Any limits placed upon women will trash the attainment of our goals. That includes devoting our time and energies to raising kids.

  31. Friend of Snakes

    From the sound of it, sux to be heterosexual.

  32. sonia

    “a woman’s crotchal insecurities are scarcely surprising because Porn Nation’s feelings about her own vagina and vulva are central to her sexuality. But this mistake is understandable. The difference between “woman” and “porn” is negligible.”

    ha ha ha. ha ha. it’s been so long since I checked in here. thanks for verbalizing my day-to-day.

  33. birkwearingblamer

    agasaya, I had my kids early because of gyno problems (dioxin is the culpruit in my case). I had kids right after grad school and got grief for that decision. I have friends who waited to have kids until their careers were more established and many of them could not get pregnant. So, when, exactly is a women supposed to have baby, assuming that she wants to and that her organs haven’t been destroyed by environmental toxins?

  34. birkwearingblamer

    There’s a male writer at Huffington Post that is going to tell women why we are unhappy and how we can become happy. Seriously, like a big series of fresh manly wisdom. Maybe surgery on our imperfect vaginas will be on the to do list.

  35. Blackheart

    Wow…..am I ever glad I found this blog! It’s been one year since I moved to this P.C. center of the Universe…and today I snorted and guffawed for the first time in a year!!! Didn’t recognize the sound at first…scared the cat…now I feel re-born! Thanks!

  36. Nolabelfits

    That whole Huffpo article seems like just another attempt to blame feminism for women’s unhappiness. The comments section also reflects that.

  37. Felicity

    I do actually wonder why women are miserable? Is it because of the, uh, savageness of a woman- hating society? DING!

    Of course the correlation between unhappiness and feminism can’t be anything to do with the backlash and the friendly climate that creates.

  38. Frumious B.

    Dr. Dip postulates that the post-partum vagina really can be “too big,” pointing out that a vacuous vadge is prone to “fanny-farting” as well as the dreaded bath-water vacuum effect.

    My vadge does both, and I have never had a kid. I thought that was normal vadge behavior. I continue to think that is normal vadge behavior. I will continue to not have body image problems because of it.

  39. nails

    I really do not understand why people trust doctors to know everything about humans. It is a bit curious how the people who respect them the least (on average) are the ones who actually have to work with them.

    There is a long history of male bodies being the default bodies for medical text, with female bodies being shown only in reference to sexual organs or secondary sexual characteristics. With that kind of crap going on in medical schools I really doubt that this dude ended up studying much human sexuality or psychology, or social science at all outside of minimum requirements. I can’t believe this kind of shit out of a GP.

    My second biggest pet peeve about trusting doctors on non-specialty related issues is that a damn lot of them are creationists after 8+ years of biology heavy education. A lot of people get in it for the prestige or because of family expectations and do not learn because they find it interesting or actually want to know about the world. A lot aren’t especially interested in helping people either. You can always spot a new doctor who isn’t really into it, but will probably be doing it for the rest of their life. Some just want to be plastic surgeons and make tons of money.

    I would very much recommend to blamers that they see a physicians assistant or a nurse practitioner instead of an MD whenever possible. Both of those professions require that the person works in the medical field for a pretty long time before going on the diagnose and treat illnesses.

  40. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh thank you I haven’t laughed this much in weeks! Lovedong is right up there with Luckynkl’s “meat pop.” HAH!

    FWIW, for the commenter upthread: Gynecologists prescribe antidepressants because they are more than qualified to prescribe the very low doses used to treat the (temporary) problems their patients (typically) face. Psychiatrists typically don’t deal with temporary life-circumstance issues. Also, certain antidepressants work like a charm with premenstrual dysphoria (PMDD), a disorder psychiatrists seem to have no interest in treating. Dr. Cooter is pretty much a one-stop-shop for me these days and it’s working out just fine.

  41. humanbein

    Yay, femdoc!

    but the whole issue of libido deserves its own rant–our culture would have you believe that adult human beings of all ages should want to hump like rabbits at all times, which is just not the case for normal women OR men

    The culture would have you believe it, the men themselves are hypnotized by porn into trying to live it. And then they get remarkably pouty and forlorn when they find they can’t. It’s so easy when you’re wanking to rape fantasies! And then the aggression starts. So sick! So circular! So profitable!

    Anybody seen “World’s Greatest Dad”? A new film by Bobcat Goldthwaite; while being a misogynist pile of shit, it still manages to present addiction to porn as somewhat negative. Therefore it will never even get near the pop culture narrative. All dick wilting shit that criticizes our porn shall be marginalized and ignored, or else our ability to orgasm will cease to exceed all reasonable grounds and a momentary softening of the nether parts will cause the cultural hegemony to lessen. That must be somewhere in the Men’s Bill of Rights, mustn’t it?

    Hoo hoo!

  42. Laughingrat

    Hey, wow, where would us fuzzybrained wimmins be without some big strong dude to mansplain our experiences for us? Thank goodness both the doctor and that HuffPo wanker were willing to take time out of their busy day to give us the skinny on our ladyparts and ladybrains. I’d just be lost without their input.

    In other, CrotchWatch-related news, apparently one can get a dye to “restore” the color of one’s labia (link goes to an EBay auction for said product). I only wish I could make this shit up.

  43. tinfoil hattie

    I wanna know how to do the dreaded bath-water vacuum thing-y. It sounds like fun.

  44. Princess Rot

    “For this reason, women often don’t enjoy the sort of porn that men like. If the people on the screen don’t appeal to them, they don’t get turned on.”

    It hasn’t occurred to Doctor Dude at all that all this is due in large part to the fact that boys have been spoon-fed “females are objects”, “females exist for your pleasure and service”, “you, young male, are the default human being” trope from a very early age. All the while, girls are encouraged to hide their sexuality and humanity, unless its to be served up to males for their enjoyment. Nah, couldn’t possibly be that! Men just naturally like porn! It’s like breathing! They are totally not culturally conditioned to expect their desires to be catered to by the Other!

    Barf.

  45. Dr. Righteous

    My vagina blows like a frickin’ whale surfacing & I’ve never had a baby. Never occurred to me to feel bad about it.

    And geez, I’m 50+ years old and #1 never knew how to compare the size of my ladyparts to anybody else’s, and #2 never thought to.

    Obviously, I’m missing a whole new gold mine of material for rotten self-esteem here. All these decades wasted. Oops. Gotta go get my measuring tape (or would calipers be better?) and start making up for wasted time.

    I’ll have to remember to add questions about the size of my patients’ junk to my intake protocol starting first thing Monday. Perhaps if I had sufficient APU after my name, I’d have known to do this earlier in my career, and my patients would be getting better faster ’cause I’d be working on the right issues, you know? Instead of wasting all that time on helping them deal with issues like abusive husbands, unfair labor practices, an exploitative medical establishment, glass ceilings, rapes, and irrelevant crap like that. Junk size: Who knew?

    In the meantime, I just want to say that the “serious alphabetical APU (authoritay-pile-up)” was my favorite phrase, and I’ll be appropriating it for my own blog as soon as is humanly possible.

    BTW, FemDoc, in my practice the problem appears to be less the Stepfordizing of women patients by Prozac prescription and more a problem of Rx hormones for everyone. Maybe that’s a regional thing, but nobody went through menopause in the entire ’90s around here, until it was discovered that yes, indeedy, HRT will kill you. Now it’s pills and creams to keep your junk wet and flexible well into your dotage. Maud only knows, long term, what that will do to our health.

    IBTP

  46. Solniger

    Not digging all the MD bashing here. We do go through a much more rigorous and detailed study of the body compared to PAs and nurse practitioners. This guy however, is a complete Knob and no amount of eductaion can cure certain knobs. I am guessing he went through his Ob/Gyn rotation in medschool with his eyes closed and hoping he didn’t have to touch any icky vag.

    Couple of points: Gynecologists are certified to do surgery. Ob/gyn is a surgical specialty. The 4 year residency covers obstetrics, ambulatory gynecology (the kind you see at your friendly neighbourhood gyn), and gyn surg (hysterectomies, ovarian cysts, vaginal wall prolapse and other female parts related surgeries). Every gynecologist has done surgery at some point in their lives, most spend some days of the week in the OR and some in the office.
    I have been part of labial resections and G-spot augmentations. I find them immensely boring from a medical and learning point of view.
    Also having seen hundreds of vulvas, labias and vaginas I can say with confidence there is no ‘normal’ or ‘prettier’ variant. They are all so fucking different! Any partner that demands a better looking ‘vagina’ needs a swift roundhouse to his precious junk.

    Also re: gyns prescribing anti-depressants. Venlafaxine (SSRI) is approved for some hot-flash related Sx in women who don’t want to take hormones (another hot topic of contention), or can’t take them due to history of hormone dependent cancers, or DVTs.

  47. Uppity

    Ah, the myth of the shiny ‘giney, as we call it in my circles. You’ll be pleased to note that changes in the elasticity and muscle tone of the vaginal walls are not necessarily caused by childbirth itself. The correlation is in the *way* babies are birthed in Patriarchy-friendly western medicine’s version of childbirth. Being drugged to the gills, numb from the waist down, flat on your back with coccyx pinned, knees to ears perineum stretched tight, blind pushing a 7lb baby against gravity to the count of ten by screaming cheerleaders over a third degree episiotomy is an excellent way to damage a woman’s pelvic floor and vaginal tone long term. But this method is necessary, of course, to prevent Doctor Man from getting a cramp whilst holding the catcher’s mitt. Don’t forget the husband’s stitch. IBTP

  48. slythwolf

    If a patient is really depressed, the patient be treated by a psychiatrist, a specialist that is qualified to alter brain chemistry.

    This is all well and good if the patient:

    - has insurance that will cover seeing a psychiatrist or can afford to pay for it out of pocket
    - lives with such proximity to a psychiatrist hir insurance covers as to make it practical or indeed possible to attend appointments
    - can afford the transportation costs necessary for such appointments

    I’m not sure where you’re located, but I’m in Michigan, and when I was seeing a psychiatrist for my medication I was lucky that the dude was willing to meet with me only once every six months in deference to the fact that he didn’t take my insurance, being the only psychiatrist in any semblance of travel range, which was fifty miles away. And I was lucky that I had parents who were willing and able to pay for the appointments.

    Conversely, even now when I have no insurance and have had to choose between the state health plan that covers birth control (or “family planning” as they call it; fuck that noise, I ain’t planning any family) or the state health plan that covers everything else (I chose birth control because having a baby is more expensive than almost any way I’m likely to get sick), I am able to see either a gynecologist or a general practitioner for free depending on which plan I choose.

  49. Barn Owl

    @ Dr. Righteous – Surely, there must be a lovedong depth gauge, or a meatpop thermometer, to measure our ladyparts properly, and in accordance with the standards of the patriarchy?

    I need to scrub my visual cortex after looking at the labia dye link. Blech.

  50. Tierney

    Up to that point I had always assumed that there was some unspoken agreement of basic respect for a person who had shared their body with you, but apparently not.

    Was this perhaps truer in the days when sex was less public? Clearly the frat boy mentality has a long, inglorious history of using the sexual standards imposed on women against women, but this dissection of women’s bodies and their sexuality down to the minutest details seems to me (and I may be wrong) to have been limited mostly to those men who fancied themselves connoisseurs of women, the number of which has risen greatly with the spread of internet porn and the increasing acceptance of porn in “polite” society.

  51. Pam I

    I am rantingly frustrated as I can’t view form the UK the other stuff that oorickyboobyoo is selling on ebay. Someone over your end thinks I need protecting by the international laws on porn. That’s comforting, but what can be better than labia dye? I need to know.

  52. Jill

    “some unspoken agreement of basic respect for a person who had shared their body with you, but apparently not.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but are you guys high? The whole point of this blog is the exposure of the existence of the sex class and the particular lack of respect accorded its constituents by its oppressors. The culture of domination does an excellent job of obscuring itself.

    Also:

    “My vagina blows like a frickin’ whale surfacing”

    Ha!

  53. agasaya

    Birk wrote So, when, exactly is a women supposed to have baby…

    Sounds like you made this decision using actual facts as they applied to your own, personal situation. How Dare You?

    Seriously, how many people did you have to ignore in order to do that? But then logic has nothing to do with dictums regarding what you do with your uterus and your pre-selected role in society.

    Sorry to hear your choices were restricted because of dioxin poisoning.

  54. Ron Sullivan

    I’m so old and flappy I’ve forgotten whether I’ve linked this here before.

  55. Bella Donna

    Jill,

    I did not have I Blame the Patriarchy when I was attending college.

    If I had, I would have been casting a jaundiced eye all over the place.

    I did not have even the most basic literature of feminist theory at my disposal. What I did have was 16 years of church and youth group attendance, and home-schooling by my parents.

    I actually think the home-schooling helped, because it doesn’t have the same pressure to meld together in social group-think that IMO, many public schools have in spades.

    But while I did posses the un-pressured, outsider, viewpoint necessary to realize that something was rotten in the state of Denmark, I didn’t posses the feminist terminology to express it.

    So I reverted to my habitual state of watch-and-observe. And it didn’t take me long to realize that while all the guys at my college were constantly talking about wanting a girlfriend, what they actually wanted was a non-challenging, physically flawless, docile fuck-toy. In other words, they wanted a vagina, without any troublesome personality attached.

    It didn’t take me long to infer that the guys at church were basically chasing the same lofty goal, only they wanted their docile, without-personality vagina to be pure and waiting for them.

    That was 8 years ago, I didn’t realize it was particularly feminist thinking until about 6 months ago.

  56. birkwearingblamer

    Jill asked:
    “Not to put too fine a point on it, but are you guys high?”

    Sometimes it takes a little denial to get through the day.

  57. Notorious Ph.D.

    @ Uppity: “shiny ‘giney” is my new favorite phrase for the week.

    As for that HuffPo column, I think the question is a good one to ask, but for me, the answer is: we’re unhappy (and/or pissed off) because we’re expected to spend enormous amounts of our energy pretending to be something we’re not, whether it be pretty, thin, young, compliant, non-swearing, perfectly-groomed, dependent, dumb, nurturing, self-sacrificing, quiet-voiced, unconditionally adoring, patient, and never, ever angry. In other words: “feminine.” And the older we get, the more we realize that the house always wins.

  58. yttik

    I think a better question for HuffnPuff to have asked, is why are women so happy? Considering the crap we are forced to deal with how come men still commit suicide four times as often? How come they are responsible for so many violent crimes? The patriarchy really does horrible damage to men, I mean who would want an unhappy, sexually repressed wife who has to take antidepressants just to stay in a relationship with you?? And that is what they are taught to strive for, this is regarded as a great achievement. Blech!

    I’m certainly not suggesting that the focus become about men here, I just think it’s a dirty little trick of the patriarchy to imply that individual men are benefiting from this crap. In reality, women are surviving against all odds, damaged perhaps, but we still aren’t the ones offing ourselves at age 50 with such regularity. When I say what about the men, I mean when are men going to stand up and say, hey this system sucks for us, anybody got any better ideas? Dare we consider the possibility that feminism might increase our happiness?

  59. Notorious Ph.D.

    yttk, I think that feminism does increase my happiness. But being a feminist in a patriarchal context decreases it. In those beautiful moments when I can ignore the patriarchy (say, when I’m teaching, or writing, or riding my bike, or dancing around my apartment for no reason at all), I’m happy. But when my knowledge of how things ought to be collides with how they really are, and how little they have changed (and I study the 14th century, so I know from patriarchal equilibrium), that’s not calculated to be happiness-inducing.

  60. Frumious B.

    @yttik:

    Men succeed at suicide at 4x the rate of women. Women attempt suicide at some ridiculously higher rate than men which I don’t feel like looking up.

  61. yttik

    There is no doubt in my mind that women have earned the right to be miserable. But my point is, who defines happiness? Do we all just accept the fact that indeed, women are more unhappy than men, especially as they age, which was what the Huff article declared? Is it not possible that against all odds, women have managed to come out of it all much stronger than men?

    “Happiness” in this article seems like a very patriarchal definition, if you ask me. They ignore the (completed) suicide rate of men, they ignore the crime rate, and they simply declare women must be more unhappy because they take more antidepressants. Well, are antidepressants not deliberately marketed to women? Could we be taking more of them because we are forever being told that there is something wrong with us? And is it not possible that when men are questioned about their happiness level, they simply lie? Aren’t men more likely, when asked how they feel, to simply respond “fine?”

    Like the NetDoctor article Twisty posted, this article is yet another attempt to define and fix women’s tragic and defective mental health. I do not believe that women are less happy as they age not do I believe we are all obsessing over our vulva size. And I certainly don’t believe either of these men are the qualified to diagnose the “disease” let alone prescribe the “cure.”

  62. Unree

    Anecdatum, for yttik: My male primary-care doc, whom I like, has twice offered to write me a script for Prozac, even though I consistently answer his questions about my mood the same way–I feel fine–and there’s nothing in my medical history to suggest I am depressed. For my “fine,” fill in a jaunty enough tone. (The second time I denied depression, I believe I sounded slightly pissed.)

    Ever since Freud held forth, affluent westerners have agreed that people–especially women–are unreliable narrators about their own lives. So maybe my answer to his question is false; maybe I am trying and failing to cover up a miserable emotional state. But I doubt this doctor pushes SSRI drugs on dude patients who don’t complain about their emotional state.

  63. agasaya

    Now the shrinks are talking about identifying those who will be AT RISK for future psychotic breaks and begin medicating NOW. Not much concern about medicating normal individuals needlessly as if these biochemical bombs have no side effects leading to psychosis if wrongly administered.

    http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=21916

    This is an incredible medical crime in progress and women have long been a profitable target. Many of our ills point a finger at modern day technology (absent science, just tech) which cause illness such as endocrine disruptors. Autoimmune illnesses, now at a high incidence and mostly affecting women, begin with vague symptoms; cardiac events don’t look like those commonly seen in men and side effects of treatments for fictional ailments like normal or mildly elevated cholesterol levels with statins is not only ineffective in women but harmful.

    Depression has become a default diagnosis unless another profitable med can be applied to some other diagnosis. It also ends the consultation simply and without much effort. Recall that the old definition of depression said symptoms last at least six months to qualify. These days, it is TWO WEEKS to a diagnosis for what is really a serious and over-diagnosed condition. The DSM itself says there is no real science behind its pronouncements yet anyone with or without a medical license (e.g. social worker with a BA) can use it.

    Unree, I suggest you obtain your records from your doctor because he may have recorded you as having a diagnosis of depression which can effect future health care coverage, job opportunities etc. It happens to women all the time.

  64. agasaya

    http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/44/16/5

  65. thebewilderness

    FYI, there was no study for the HuffnPuff post. They just made it up. Sorta like Dr Dip.

  66. Unree

    Can doctors just do that, agasaya? Just write “depression” on a chart despite the patient’s denials and nothing (that I know of) in the record to support the conclusion?

    But even if they can’t, something like “Patient refused psychotropic medication,” which is true in my case, sounds almost as bad. Maybe worse.

    IBTP.

  67. agasaya

    Yes, I’ve seen that in the records of many women in the complete absence of psychiatric consultation, testing of any kind etc. Also diagnoses of somatoform disorder or modern day hypochondria/hysteria when you actually have a problem and they don’t want to say “I don’t know”.

    On another thread, I once posted a link to an article in the British Medical Journal in which somatoform disorder could be diagnosed by the ‘thickness of one’s medical chart’.

    You would have to get a copy of your records to examine and then write a protest as a correction of the record which they put alongside the doctor’s statements. Check for competing interests such as your doctor working for a pharmaceutical house as a possibly explanation for urging inappropriate medications. Does he run studies, publish articles etc.

  68. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Oh noes! Now it’s the wrong *color*? I’ve always realized it was the wrong size/shape, looked scary/disgusting, smelled so bad it could scare a hungry dog off a meat truck, but I scarcely realized it needed bleaching to deal with its offensive hue.

    I can’t back it up with Science, but I’d bet my last five bucks the size issue is an instance of manly projection.

  69. TwissB

    @Antoinette: “I’d bet my last five bucks the size issue is an instance of manly projection.”

    You are right, of course, since, for men, penises are often visibly available for envious or invidious comparison. For women, vaginas are usually out of sight* and out of mind. Female breasts, however, are increasingly visible and subject to comparison and evaluation – are they real or “enhanced,” etc.

    *Except for a few professional exhibitionists who have tried for years to persuade young women that communal viewing sessions are a sassy form of feminist action. If feminism is about confronting and eliminating sexism, imitating men’s pornographic demand for vaginal display, a primary practice of sexism, is feminism subverted.

  70. copykatparis

    Regarding the link way before on the Czechoslovak “study” of vaginal orgasms (!!!!!*&^@#^&%@#$@$!!!) — LOVED what one doctor pointed out, in contesting the so-called conclusions that these turkey-neck-worshippers came up with:
    “She even accused the study’s (male) authors of clitoral envy.”

    (grin)

  71. Tigs

    While I would definitely advise all to be super-suspicious and research-oriented towards any and all chemicals that anyone suggests you voluntarily put into your body, I do have to quibble over the idea that preventing psychotic breaks is automatically a criminal, unsound, or anti-feminist thing to do.
    The number one predictor of a psychotic break is a previous psychotic break. Once your brain learns to do that (the first time is usually caused by a massive stress/trauma), it tends to revert to those neural pathways ever more easily. If you can prevent that door from being opened, then I am all for it. Preventing psychotic breaks from happening isn’t about stifling creativity.
    To randomly take psychoactive medications just because someone says to is a bad idea, but psychotic breaks are really, really bad news.

    In re: somatoform disorders being criminally attributed to hysterical women– hellz yes, be vigilant and militant about protecting yourself and your records.

  72. agasaya

    If you looked at the link I provided, they were speaking of predicting psychotic breaks in those who have never before had them – obviously a history of such requires some form of intervention (though rarely what is provided). And introducing psychoactive drugs to children and teens is simply indefensible unless absolutely essential to avoid violent outbursts and maintain the individual in a decent community setting.

  73. Tigs

    I am indeed able to read. The point is that you never want to have even one–because the first one increases the likelihood exponentially. Having much experience with people who have dealt with hospitalizations since the end of their teens, I can tell you that *if* there are decent ways of predicting the likelihood (this is the troubling part, genetics play a large but not final role) of a future break, then there is substantial reason for at least the option of medication, even with potential side effects.

  74. Jezebella

    Introducing psychoactives to a teen in desperate need of relief is always, in your medical opinion, “indefensible,” Agasaya? You deal in a lot of definitive judgments regarding the health care decisions of people you’ve never met. There’s more to life than being free of violent outbursts, and perhaps a teenaged person might wish to see an improvement in hir quality of life. At what arbitrary age do you determine it “defensible” for a person to, say, take a mild SSRI for her depression? Should all teens suffering depression just white-knuckle it until that magical 20th birthday, when it’s okay with YOU, Agasaya, medical expert, for them to take psychoactives?

  75. monika/shermanvolvo

    There are number of “defensible” reasons kids take psychotropic meds. Given the additional risk of suicidality with youth they need to be regularly assessed (and have the risks explained to them) and the fact that this rarely happens (at least with the youth I work with) is deplorable. But there are many times that people need psychiatric meds and while I tend to be on the “less meds” end of the spectrum (i.e. let’s not turn everyone into zombies) I believe it is a personal choice than goes beyond simple good/bad. On a side note, there is a lot of prejudice against people who need psych meds and I think we need to be wary of perpetuating that.

  76. agasaya

    Tigs,

    Hard to be brief here but the subject is linked to feminism. Yes, the ability to make accurate predictions is a very big ‘if’ when there is a large profit motive in positive findings, screenings are traditionally provided by lesser qualified (cheaper) individuals and because actual psychosis is a far cry from more commonly observed depressive states. Risk of suicide is increased with the use of drugs in children. Counseling however, offers support that drugs can’t supply plus a longer observation process to see if a thought disorder is developing. Mood swings are not unusual in adolescence and we’ve seen adequate evidence that women have been diagnosed as abnormal throughout history because of normal hormonal shifts. If the shrinks bothered testing for serotonin deficiencies, cholinergic imbalances or other biochemical aspects of psychiatric illness, I’d have greater confidence in the treatment process.

    Unfortunately, they usually don’t and drugs are as likely to instigate abnormal brain chemistry as they are to correct it. Dr. Roses, a VP of GlaxoSmithKlein, has admitted that only half the population is genetically compatible with standard drugs. A fifty percent efficacy rate on top of a highly questionable diagnostic process places a lot of people at risk for harm, given the hefty profits gained in drugging patients.

    Kids in a divorce process get their own advocates assigned. We should do no less for them if psych problems are suspected via provision of counseling services. The trial and error process of drug treatment has been particularly abusive to women for lack of understanding about our physiology, for the sake of profit and also out of misogyny. Kids are even lower down on the food chain and their mothers prone to being labeled incompetent if they disagree with the docs.

    Lastly, a lot of ‘mental’ illness is caused by environmental toxicity in adults and there is no reason to assume children aren’t impacted similarly. That has to be addressed in residences and schools where levels may be higher than in factories because there is no monitoring mandated. I’ve tested many indoor environments and horrified by the results. Women and children are both highly vulnerable to these conditions.

    Sorry Jill, I’ll take anything further on this topic outside of your blog now. You’ve been very patient!

  77. procrastinatrix

    Oh, I’ve been wanting to comment on this thread for days, but I’m reluctant. There seems to me to be an underlying implication of the “shiney-giney” discussion that unhappiness with the state of one’s genitalia is ALWAYS a product of oppressive social conditioning and NEVER related to objective reality OR lived experience.

    This is not the case–conditions ranging from fibroids to prolapses and fistulas affect women’s perceptions of and happiness with their genitalia. And medical advice and treatment options for women in the US and other developing countries (this is where our health care system sits in the world-particularly around reproductive health issues) for any of these conditions are limited.

    I think the lack of public discussion of these issues and how women can deal with their impact on quality of life, including sex life, is anti-feminist. Of course, IBTP. But I wanted to raise the issue of the tone in this thread that may feel pretty judgmental to readers experiencing unhappiness with their genitalia.

  78. nails

    I didn’t mean to say being a MD by itself is a bad thing, just that there are an awful lot of asshole doctors around. When you look at the percentage of white privileged dudes who are doctors against how many are in the general population it becomes pretty obvious why so many are jerks, and why I am more comfortable generalizing. The arrogant bullshit starts really early on too, with first year medical students being total assholes to people who are trying to train them. Christ. There are posters with the new interns and residents in each unit, the vast majority of the time it is less than 30% women and less than 5% people of color.

    Anyway. People were discussing gynecologists prescribing antidepressants. For a lot of poorer women the well women’s visit at their gynocologist is the only check up they get for years, so OBGYN doctors do the best they can to provide GP type services as well. Seems to do much more good than harm. It would turn into a case of “Here is a referral that you can’t afford to use, have a nice day!” for the patients.

  79. Pantsuit Sally

    “If the people on the screen don’t appeal to them, they don’t get turned on.”

    Really, a person needs years of higher education and lots of fancy titles after his name to reach this conclusion? And then when he announces it to the masses, it’s some mind-blowing, orbit-reversing revelation instead of common sense?

    I’d like to know where he’s getting the information on which he bases his conclusion that there’s a fundamental difference between women and men when it comes to enjoyment of porn, because ever since I went to college, it’s been fashionable among women my age to talk about how much they LOVE porn, how liberating it is, how beautiful porn actresses are (they’re usually not interested in the hot male porn stars, however, these het-identified empowerfulled women), how creative and edgy and sexy it all is. Reading that article, I had to wonder if Dr. Doofus has actually spoken to any actual women in the last few decades (apart from us radfem prudes, of course).

  80. Laughingrat

    This is not the case–conditions ranging from fibroids to prolapses and fistulas affect women’s perceptions of and happiness with their genitalia.

    But we’re not talking about real problems like that; we’re talking about fake problems designed to undermine women’s sense of self-worth and their status as full human beings above and beyond whatever their genitalia looks and feels like. Nobody’s said that prolapses and fistulae and fibroids aren’t serious. We haven’t addressed them at all, because those are real medical issues.

  81. procrastinatrix

    Hi, Laughingrat,

    Thanks for engaging with me. I feel like there is an implication in some of the comments of “oh those poor brainwashed women who think they need to fix their ‘junk’”–as Jill so eloquently describes it –and I think the silence around actual medical problems that decrease quality of life for women is telling in itself.

    Maybe this thread wasn’t the place for speaking about these problems, but it was the judgment implied in the thread of women who are not thrilled that their vaginal muscle tone or other part of their genitalia has changed for whatever reason that made me want to bring up this issue in this thread.

  82. virago

    “He might also be surprised to find out that the most commonly prescribed antidepressants pretty much kill libido and cause anorgasmia”

    It’s true that antidepressants kill your libido, but so does feeling like crap. I have a history of depression and antidepressants actually help me feel better. That said, I’ve been on welbuterin for a while now, and it doesn’t kill your libido. In fact, just the opposite-at least for me. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t handle the side effects of welbuterin. Fortunately, I’m not one of them.

    “Recall that the old definition of depression said symptoms last at least six months to qualify”

    And my depression has been going on for years.

    “Men succeed at suicide at 4x the rate of women. Women attempt suicide at some ridiculously higher rate than men which I don’t feel like looking up.

    I’ve read that women “attempt” suicide more often by taking pills. The effects of the pills aren’t immediate, and these women have a higher chance of being found before it’s too late. They usually end up geting sent to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped. OTOH, men are more likely to use a gun or some other weapon, and this leads to them being more successful. In other words, the lower suicide rate of women is not because we’re more “happy”, but because of the method being used. OTOH, the fact that women make more “attempts” (or rather more likely to be saved because of the method used) tells me that women are probably generally more unhappy than men. After all, we have more reason to be unhappy due to the restrictions of living in a patriarchy. However, I think women are more likely to get help when their “attempts” fail. That’s our strength while it’s seen as a weakness in men. Not geting help is the real weakness.

    “If I were in charge of sex education, da boyz would be taught how to make a woman come with no chance of pregnancy. Does any school teach that? Or is it just too much work for da boyz to move a finger?”

    Hell no, at least not in my school. In fact, I remember my sex education textbook saying that a woman reaches orgasm when the penis rubs against her clitoris during PIV instercourse. Yet, the same textbook showed a diagram of the woman’s external genitalia with the clitoris further north than the vagina like it’s suppose to be. I was in the 8 th grade, and I was pretty confused how the penis was suppose to reach the clitoris way up there during intercourse. Other than that, the clitoris was almost never mentioned, nor was it suggested that it helps to rub it with your fingers to get an orgasm. Of course, masturbation was never encouraged. Good thing, I looked to other sources for information about the clitoris. I can’t help but think that my junior high sex ed class turned out a lot of sexually frustrated girls and a bunch of boys who sucked in bed. That said, there was a post on Feministing a while back that told that the clitoris is actually a much bigger organ than previously thought, and there was a diagram to show just how much bigger. Of course, a discussion broke out that this information should be included in current sex ed classes, and I suggested that this is vital info. for both boys and girls to learn. Of course, some stupid MRA troll wanted to know why boys should learn anything about female orgasms because female orgasms aren’t necessary for reproduction. I guess sexual fulfillment of girls wasn’t a priority for this jerk. What an asshole! Obviously, the fool doesn’t know that female orgasms cause the uterus to contract and dip the cervix into the sperm making it easier for said sperm to travel to fertilize an egg. I couldn’t believe some people’s ignorance. IBTP.

  83. tinfoil hattie

    Well, I for one AM unhappy that I can no longer wear tampons without them sliding halfway to my knees, after birthing two children, so yeah, procrastinatrix is right. Ahd, I did start feeling guilty and thinking, “It’s anti-feminist to be upset about the loss of elasticity in my vagina” and “I must be a dupe and a bad person to be on anti- depressants for PTSD).”

    I blame these knee-jerk reactions on a lifetime of believing myself to be automatically wrong, automatically not good enough, automatically stupid when it comes to knowing what I want and need.

    In other words, IBTP.

  84. agasaya

    Thank you, TinFoil Hattie. There is certainly no implication being made here that a known and reliably documented need for psychotropic drugs is being criticized. Unfortunately, the P does indeed want us all to be in a perpetual state of ‘shame’ for all illnesses suffered and in a continuous state of doubt regarding our own intelligence and emotional stability. They’ve managed to combine the profits possible to earn from drugs used for somatic (physical) illnesses while still managing to infer those with real neurological disorders affecting emotions (such as depression, OCD and PTSD), should be showered with shame and mistrusted for being ‘weak-willed, unstable’ individuals.

    Hence the ease with which these medical conditions are allowed to be diagnosed by people without adequate medical training and skills (from social workers to psychologists) or any MD with or without psych training. It explains the over-diagnosis in women who have every reason to experience situational, reactive ‘depression’ from abuse, poverty, illness and other extrinsic conditions requiring social work interventions and counseling, rather than psychotropic drugs which can reduce functioning if not suited to an actual physical need.

    It is also a favorite strategy in workers comp cases so we do see a push for this in men as well (profit over control issue). Interesting that a physical disorder like depression or PTSD would be be a get out of jail free card to employers/insurers and the Pentagon under labels of ‘mental illness’ as if the brain were not an organ. Serotonin deficiencies can even be caused by gastrointestinal problems. When such things are finally equated with other illnesses in society by removing disparities in insurance coverage, the frequency of mis-diagnosis is sure to be reduced as well.

    We may see a statistical outbreak of ‘mental health’.

  85. Pantsuit Sally

    “Serotonin deficiencies can even be caused by gastrointestinal problems.”

    agasaya, I think you may have just changed my life by dropping this little tidbit. It’s something I will definitely have to bring up with all the doctors who keep telling me my problems are due to stress or emotional lady stuff.

    It’s just mind-boggling the way illnesses of the brain continue to be discriminated against. Does anyone know when the mental health parity legislation is supposed to take effect in the U.S.? I believe it’s October 1, but I’m not sure.

  86. procrastinatrix

    Hi, tinfoil hattie,

    Thanks for weighing in on this issue too, as well as the antidepressant issue. I was feeling anti-feminist for thinking, “hang on, I’m not happy with the changes in my body, nor with the complete lack of public awareness that these things even HAPPEN to women”.

    Of course “netdoctor” is not the place to fix the lack of public awareness about actual changes that happen to women’s bodies as they age and/or have children, and how to cope with them if they impact quality of life. But where is that place? It’s certainly not with traditionally trained GPs or Ob-gyns (in my experience)? IBTP.

    Thanks too for those of you sharing knowledge and viewpoints about the uses and abuses of depression diagnoses. Scary.

  87. Bella Donna

    Off topic, but prepare to have your lobe blown.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/09/23/bc-polygamy-charges-blackmore-oler-bountiful.html?ref=rss

  88. Lu

    agasaya, Pantsuit Sally,

    I thought it was the other way around? I talked to a GI specialist some time ago, and what I remember him and my GP saying is that serotonin affects both mood and gastrointestinal function, not that GI problems cause depression. To me it sounds like both problems may be caused by the same thing.

  89. nails

    pantsuit sally- I am pretty sure it is going to be in January.

    My opinion on drugs for depression/other mental illnesses is that our experiences do alter brain chemistry, sometimes in permanent ways. Especially things like trauma. Being depressed or having anxiety is not different from other kinds of chronic pain, no one goes around telling people not to take a pain reliever when their back hurts so I don’t think this is so different. Physical therapy helps with a lot of non-mental pain issues too, but no one treats taking pain meds as a morally inferior thing to do. People can have a really good reason for depression and still find a place in their treatment for drugs to help. I also dislike the idea that everyone should see a therapist; some people really do not have any specific issue to work through, they have just always had a problem with their brain chemistry and it is fixed simply by taking medication.

    I read a post about ADD on scienceblogs awhile back, it was a good read. The charge about drugs for mental illness being over prescribed was answered by saying that perhaps these problems are just really common. No one freaks out over how many people wear glasses or have arthritis, for instance.

    I do blame the patriarchy for mental illness being seen as a separate category of problem that is less worthy of help or respect. I totally do. It is another case of masculine ideals being extremely harmful to society. However, I am equally irritated at the higher percentage of new agey anti-medicine crap that comes from people who agree with me on the masculine ideals part.

  90. johnx

    Oh my, that was sheer hilarity. Thanks for such witty writing, made my evening. “empowerfulizes”, that’s rich!

  91. speedbudget

    Religion: Making immoral behavior moral since the year 40.

  92. Agnieszka

    Pantsuit Sally,

    My experience bears out agasaya’s comment about serotonin deficiencies and gastrointestinal problems. I spent a large part of my adult life depressed, eventually managed to get it under control with regular exercise and therapy, but always knew that I had the possibility of sinking down again–particularly in the wintertime. In the last year I found out that I have a gluten allergy when a bunch of my relatives were diagnosed with celiac disease. I stopped eating the offending food products, and it was like I’m a new woman. No more seasonal depression, no more low energy, no more general malaise. Well, of course, I am no longer continuously malnourished, so that would tend to have good effects.

    It is just crazy that I spent so much of my life feeling like crap and then on top of that feeling guilty for feeling like crap because clearly it showed some kind of weak-mindedness and I should have just gotten over it.

    Now why is it that I can have an extremely difficult food allergy, which in some way could be seen as a weakness of the body – I am weak against bread and pasta, after all – and feel emotionally neutral towards what this says about me as a person, but if I suffer from even mild depression, I, and many others, will somehow feel that this is a flaw in my character? IBTP

  93. kel d

    “Which is why all blind guys are universally impotent, and all women are nuts. See how it all begins to make sense?”

    I do love you xx

  94. JATower

    Quick question concerning my vagina’s size: is smaller or bigger better? I honestly don’t know. Now that I know I’m supposed to be worrying about it, I need to get my facts straight.

  95. FemDoc

    Didn’t mean to imply that raising children and trashing dreams are one and the same. IBTP for giving men the privilege to “have it all”, and often-times forcing women to choose–family or profession–and then reveling in the “mommy wars” that ensue. Personally, I don’t judge women for what they choose, but I sure as hell BTP for a culture that forces a choice at all–but only for 51% of the population. I don’t engage in “mommy wars”…I’m a mommy of three myself. I do everything I can to stand up for moms and their kids…if we don’t, who else will?

    I actually do treat patients with adjustment disorders, ADHD, and mild-moderate depression and anxiety, but refer to specialists (psychiatry) for more severe cases, for pediatric depression, and for patients with bipolar disease and schizophrenia. These illnesses do exist, and in our area it takes months to get in to see a psychiatrist. What concerns me is not the treatment of actual mental illness by general practitioners, but the tagging as “abnormal” of anyone who does not act (or react) in the way that females (and males) in our culture are “supposed to” act, as defined by rigid gender roles generated by the patriarchy.

    There are more and more women entering medical school, and I hope this will lead to positive changes in the profession. I do work with some wonderful nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants, and while NPs in our state can hang their own shingles, they must still practice under the auspices of a physician, and it is the physician who takes the final medical-legal responsibility.

    Of course, tinfoil hattie has a point that the human body does change over the course of a lifetime, and many people will be unhappy with those changes…and they should not be made to feel ashamed or guilty. If a woman tells me that her urinary incontinence is disturbing her lifestyle, I will send her to a uro-gynecologist for further work-up and treatment. A patriarchal doctor might tell her, “Oh, don’t worry, that’s just what happens to women as they get older. You’ll deal with it.” I believe the concern we have is not the identification or treatment of women’s real medical (or surgical, or psychiatric) issues, but the disregard of women’s real medical concerns as “silly”, and the “normalizing” of a patriarchal, Stepford-wife, pornified ideal that makes otherwise normal women feel “abnormal”.

    My role as a medical doctor? I let the woman tell me her concerns. I ask questions to help guide us to a diagnosis. I provide her with the treatment alternatives (or sometimes just reassure her that she is, indeed, normal, and if she is relieved by this information alone, no treatment may be necessary). I let her choose her course of treatment, based on her own value system, once she understands the pros and cons. If she wishes a specialist consult or second opinion, I refer her so that she can have her questions answered (I’m never offended). In other words, it is her mind, body, and life, and though I am there as a humble resource, she is the one who has the control and makes the decisions. This is very different from the patriarchal model (which is what we actually called it in medical school), in which the all-knowing (usually white, male) physician tells the patient what to do. Sometimes I have older patients who want the patriarchal model, or I have patients incapable of making decisions (neurologically or mentally) and I do my best to try and help them with decisions based on what I know of their values, needs, and after talking with family members (with the patient’s permission).

    This can be a wonderful profession, and I’m sorry it has gotten a bad rap, especially among women (who are the ones who access health care the most). Hopefully, as I mentioned before, this will change as there gets to be more diversity in our ranks, and also as we realize that the middle-aged, white male patient is not the default “norm”.

  96. yttik

    “…but if I suffer from even mild depression, I, and many others, will somehow feel that this is a flaw in my character?”

    I don’t believe depression is a flaw in anyone’s character. I believe there are very real brain chemicals that get out of whack for a variety of reasons, environmental damage, nutrition, repeated trauma.

    My problem is when pharmaceuticals are used to shut women up, to convince them that all is well and that any discomfort they are feeling is the result of their defective mental health. No way, depression is a physical symptom, your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. It could be an underlying illness, could be the stress of living under the patriarchy. Or there could be no depression at all but women are still coerced into taking medication because some doctors simply view being female as a disease requiring treatment.

  97. servical

    On the issue of men telling women about feminism, ala Buckingham – I happened upon a blog that seems to be trying to do it the right way, and it was quite soothing: http://guysguidetofeminism.blogspot.com/ I’ve read about half the entries and I am severely impressed so far.

  98. Judi

    For depression, you could treat yourself to a new, PINK, Limited Edition Swiffer Sweeper – “Clean For a Cause”; “Help Women with Every Coupon”; “Give Hope.” Vomit.

    see, “P+G’s BrandSaver Goes Pink”:
    http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/promotion-incentive/e3i8a59b9acd0fa94f30d6cc51a81ee326c

    Something is seriously wrong when the coupon insert in the Sunday newspaper (9/27/09) provokes more cultural critique than what passes for the content of the actual paper.

    But this fluffy pink mop that’s gonna cure breast cancer is sweet. First, they suggest that women establish a fulfilling romantic relationship with a mop (you could do worse), then they make the mop pink. Looks like a homosexual agenda to me. The Patriarchy has its head up its butt.

    As a little girl (50+ years back), I was certain that, by the time I grew up, ads for cleaning products would show men doing the cleaning as often as women. I think it has actually gotten worse. We’ve failed to come a long way, baby. Depressing, indeed.

    So the P: poisons the culture with advertising that degrades women as subservient beings best fit to clean and to primp for men; sells endless products to accomplish the cleaning and primping; sells endless pills to assuage the discomforts of being treated like subservient beings; and then congratulates itself for giving a tiny portion of its resulting profits to help promote the medical treatments it sells to treat the cancers promoted by the chemicals they sell. If I tear out all my hair, I’m sure they’ll sell me a wig so I can feel feminine again.

  99. agasaya

    There’s a new add for a product you brush on your eyelids to promote eyelash growth. Among the list of disgusting, potential side effects is a permanent alteration of eye color. Not just the redness of inflammation due to the damage this stuff does to your skin and sclera, but it can actually can turn your eye color ‘brown’.

    Isn’t every woman of wealth and privilege supposed to have blue eyes?Wonder if they also have stock in the contact lens industry.

  100. Roger D. Parish

    re: eyelash growth stimulation. This is a spinoff of a glaucoma medication. And if it works like what I take for glaucoma, the eyelash growth is very irregular, and somewhat wild. It also tends to turn my brown eyes blue! Funny, that.

  101. nails

    I think that darkening my iris color would be kinda neat. I would try the product for that effect alone, and to see how much longer my freakishly long eyelashes would get on that shit. I am one of those body mod without regrets kind of folks.

  102. Sara

    Ms. Laughingrat, Said Labia Dye was on “The Doctors” tv show last week. Saw it, went to the site, http://www.mynewpinkbutton.com and ordered it. Boyfriend says he cant wait. I’ll let you know what I think later. Lipstick for the other lips now…. what will they think of next

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