The War on Terr’r Part 3: Bad Medicine

22 May

Don’t act like you don’t like old Bon Jovi references.

One of my most radical (and therefore coolest) readers, chlorophyll, has pointed out one of the most insidious forms of terrorism women face, the terrorism inherent in the medical system/industry/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.

I’m out of town right now and don’t have access to my usual school clinic, which is thankfully lousy with female nurse practitioners, and I just had to go for a little visit to the doctor for a little flu-type thing. I normally request a female doctor, but they didn’t have one available and I decided to stay and see a male doctor. I can honestly say that I felt uncomfortable making that decision, because I felt like I was going to subject myself to emotional discomfort in order to avoid offending their male doctor with my preference for a female doctor. What the fuck? I heard my Homeland Security-issued Terrormeter (TM) start to twitter (It looks kind of like that thing they used in Ghostbusters to detect paranormal activity. I suggest you get one.). Was some subtle form of terrorism afoot?

My doctor, who looked like a cross between Craig Kilborn and Larry the Cable Guy in Crocs, was pretty cool as far as male doctors go, but the experience nonetheless reminded me what a strange position a visit to the doctor puts women in. Despite the fact that this doctor was perfectly well-behaved and a nice dude, I couldn’t help but think of George Bush’s little gaffe about gynecologists practicing “their love with women” and some of the experiences I had with male doctors before I was old and wise enough to know what was and wasn’t appropriate behavior on the part of a doctor.

I remember going for my yearly women’s exams when I was younger and not knowing that I had the option to request a female doctor. Those exams are heinous enough with a woman doing the examining, but when you’re 18 and alone in a room with a dude doing the exam (this was 10 years or so ago, before having a female present became standard practice during gynecological exams), it can be borderline traumatic, and that’s if the motherfucker behaves himself. As such, I would often go 2-3 years between exams, making and canceling appointment after appointment because I didn’t want to deal with the weirdness of the whole thing, which I hear is common behavior. The fact that women avoid examinations that are crucial to the protection of their health because the exams are so emotionally trying should tell us there’s a problem with the way we’re doing things.

There’s a problem with the entirety of the way our medical system deals with women’s health, and, though this connection is going to be about as easy to make as one between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, I’m going to show that the way our medical machine operates amounts to terrorism in that the culture of our medical system terrorizes women into acquiescing to treatments and procedures that are detrimental to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

First off, doctors are invested with WAY too much authority; as people with several years of training that supposedly makes them experts on that most important of subjects, health, they unsurprisingly command respect from the culture at large, and especially from their physically vulnerable patients. We are told from childhood that doctors are to be respected and listened to at all times, and that what they say goes as far as our health is concerned. It’s no shock, then, that we don’t think it’s our place to question their pronouncements. It’s only in cases of flagrant misconduct that the authority of these experts ever comes under any kind of scrutiny, and it’s a funny thing, because they rarely even seem to know what is wrong with us. The relationship between a western doctor and patient is a distinctively lopsided one; the patient must do what the doctor says and must maintain reverence for him (or sometimes her) regardless of whether his/her diagnoses and treatments prove correct and efficacious (respectively).

That to me seems ridiculous; a doctor and patient, despite the fact that the doctor may possess more cultural authority than the patient, ought to form a reciprocal relationship in which the doctor, in exchange for the respect afforded to his/her authority, takes responsibility for the care of the patient and the results of his/her ministrations. But doctors in western medicine have the full weight of science behind them, which means that they are representatives of the source of truth as our culture defines it. That’s pretty heavy shit, if you think about it. In China, for example, there are several different ways of understanding the human body, and though some of them tend to carry more authority than others depending on the circumstances, there is no one source of immutable “truth” about the human body and how it will operate. And hence, the relationship between a Chinese doctor and his/her patient is a much more reciprocal one. (I know, I know, Chinese medicine includes eating bears’ dicks and whatnot, and often doesn’t work in the way we’d expect it to, but just remember that your opinion of it is heavily influenced by your having been raised in our own science-says-it’s-so-so-it-is culture.) Anyway, what all this means is that questioning the authority of a doctor in our society is akin to questioning the established source of all truth and knowledge, and who’s going to be brave enough to do that shit? I imagine that someday our slavish belief in the ultimate truth of science will seem as odd as the unquestioning faith people had in the Church before the Enlightenment, but for now our obsequiousness toward doctors seems to know no bounds.

It’s easy for doctors to let that shit go to their heads, is it not? Imagine if 50 people came to see you every day to ask for your advice about something essential to their beings, like whether they should get tribal tattoos, and they listened raptly to whatever you said and then went home and followed your advice to the letter (the answer is no, in case you were wondering). How would that not cause some delusions of grandeur? Sure, some medical professionals can minimize the egoism corollary to such a dynamic, but most of them succumb to it to some degree over time, and some of them get into the profession knowing full well that they’ll be invested with that cultural capital and intending to use it to their own ends, whether those ends be as relatively benign as self-aggrandizement or as nefarious as easy access to victims to sexually assault. Just think about it: how many medical students do you know that aren’t assholes? Most people’s motives for entering the field in the first place are pretty weird, kind of like those of the majority of the people who choose to become cops.

So, we women head into the doctor’s office expected to place our unalloyed trust in someone whose motives we have every reason to doubt, and whose expertise has yet to be verified, and we’re expected to eschew asking any questions lest we offend this sacred authority figure with our impertinence. I don’t know about you, but that sounds suspiciously like terrorism to me, if terrorism equals the use of fear to manipulate the behavior of others.

But what fear are doctors are using to manipulate us? Are they doing it on purpose? Can we consider most doctors terrorists? I’d say that in most cases it isn’t that a doctor is consciously using his/her position of authority to frighten us into submission, but that there’s an unspoken awareness on both sides that the doctor can help us or hurt us, and we don’t know which he/she’ll do, so we’d better play nice lest we offend the doctor and bring his/her wrath (or complacency) down on our already vulnerable bodies. That fear confronts men, too (although they are conditioned to defer to male authority figures to a much lesser extent than women are). But there’s another fear that only women face when deciding whether to question a medical professional’s authority: doing so likely means we’re going to be accused of being irrational, overly emotional, or (fuck!) hysterical.

The medical system we live under right now tends to see being female as pathological by nature, and sees the female body as particularly likely to betray its owner. Everything our bodies do that men’s bodies don’t do is treated like a disorder, from menstruation to pregnancy to the fact that we have breasts. Our bodies are seen as enemies that will stop at nothing to sabotage us. Menstruation and pregnancy aren’t natural states in this system (unless you’re arguing against abortion or for women’s sequestration within the home, that is), but rather things to be “dealt with” by professionals. Saith chlorophyll:

I’m especially sketched out by the traditional insistence that women give birth lying down in a hospital, administered by a male doctor, rather than giving birth in the natural squatting position with the assistance of a midwife. … [T]here is something wholly unnatural about a woman needing institutionalized male assistance in an act as biologically reflexive as childbirth.

Post-industrial American culture seems to have conditioned its female subject from an early age to believe that pregnancy outside the institution of Christian marriage is an unnatural and dangerous phenomenon. The fear of dying by childbirth seems to be a timeless and exaggerated fear, because come the fuck on, people — the female body (as many misogynists love to observe) is perfectly designed for the process of conception and birth.

Unfortunately, most young girls throughout historical cultures have been raised in a heavy fear of illegitimate birth for reasons beneficial to men, and this fear has been wrapped tightly around the spaces of the female body. Childbirth is a natural act that even a mute retard in a McDonald’s stall could do simply because that is what the female body is equipped to do.

Why, then, should young girls be conditioned to believe that she must not, under any condition, be impregnated without the proper social sanctions in order to give birth? Most reasonably well-do young girls are raised to believe that a successful live birth is absolutely impossible without expensive medical care and a team of medical practitioners. Is it an issue of class or something? Do the upper and middle class women unconsciously seek to require such extensive professional care in regards to the primitive instincts of childbirth in order to distinguish themselves from the lower classes that are forced to give home births like crossbreed bitches because they simply can’t afford the “proper” medical care?

Most contemporary women who decide to get pregnant are subjected to a series of social obligations like frequent medical checkups leading up to the Big Day when she will be placed on her back on a stretcher before being wheeled into a room full of doctors and nurses to give birth. The helplessness conveyed by a body lain out on a stretcher is further magnified by the fact that this position defies the very gravity that is actually a helpful proponent in easing the fetus out of the womb through the vaginal canal.

Exactly.

The medical system also tends to assume that women, when they are ill and when they are not, are especially susceptible to bouts of irrationality and hysteria, that most feminine of mental maladies. Our mental health system, because we live in a society in which the default identity and the default normative experience is a male one, tends to treat women’s mental health as naturally defective, and tends to treat women’s emotional concerns as trivial or irrational. I’ve yet to meet an adult woman who hasn’t had a mental health professional tell her she’s a few beers short of an 18-wheeler because she’s unhappy to find herself stuck in a repressive patriarchy that limits her freedoms and subjects her to terrorism on a daily basis. I once told a psychologist that I thought this world a difficult place to be a heterosexual woman because sex was so closely tied to power, and he told me I needed to go to biweekly counseling for at least half a year to “deal with” what I consider a fairly clear and sound assessment of the current state of things. (Remind me not to share my most logical of worldviews with men whose authority that worldview threatens anymore.) I wonder if men go into a phsychologist’s office and get told they need to straighten their loony asses out when they complain that they don’t like the current government’s policies or some such thing. Probably not many.

And here’s how this all amounts to terrorism: doctors and mental health professionals, having the power to label us irrational and hysterical, having the power to deem us “abnormal,” and having the power to harm our health, hold us in a state of extreme vulnerability. Though they don’t always use that to blatantly sinister ends, they do avoid having to explain their actions and decisions (and mistakes) to us, and we keep silent out of fear of offending them, even when it comes to our own physical and emotional wellbeing. That’s the best case scenario, which we all face every time we see a doctor. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are many of us who can’t give an example of the worst case scenario, in which a doctor or psychologist, knowing that he has us in such a position of vulnerability, uses his advantage to abuse us sexually or mentally. That sure as fuck sounds like terrorism to me, since there’s an awful lot of fear being deployed to manipulate women into acquiescence and silence, even in situations in which an assault has taken place.

So what’s the solution? Frequent female doctors until the demand for them evens the field between male and female doctors? Sorry to say, that ain’t going to work. There are far too many appeasers working in the medical system, and especially the mental health field, for that to prove effective. I hate to say this, but I have to be a serious radical on this issue: our medical system isn’t ever going to serve women’s needs, nor will it ever be free of terrorism directed at women. It operates under the assumption that maleness is the ideal and that femaleness is inherently pathological, and is therefore fundamentally flawed when it comes to treating women (I won’t even get into transgender issues), and it places many women at the mercy of men who most likely don’t understand women’s experiences and who frequently abuse their position. Really, it doesn’t even serve men’s health needs very well (although that’s their problem). We’ll have to scrap the whole thing and figure something else out. But you’ll have to call Michael Moore for that shit. All I do is complain, I don’t offer alternatives.


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42 Responses to “The War on Terr’r Part 3: Bad Medicine”

  1. chlorophyll May 22, 2008 at 10:46 PM #

    WHOO! Nine Deuce, thanks for the reference — that made my day!

    It really is difficult being a heterosexual woman who chooses not to live within the margins alloted to women in society. Thirty years after the sexual revolution, there still seems to be a binary allotment: you’re either traditionally feminine (whether it’s to the extreme or in various degrees is inconsequential, because ultimately you are still existing within the social constraints), or you’re a radical feminist and/or lesbian. Radicals and lesbians, despite their public marginalization/erasure, at least have a solid social identity carved out for them. For the rest of the critically-thinking female population, it seems as though they are assigned a certain ambiguity between the two ends of the pole, and very much denied certain intellectual rights. How many times do you go into an intelligent internet discussion only to observe that there are only a handful of women posters? And how many times do you seem to observe that these women posters seem to be rather self-denying insofar as they mimic the men’s behaviorisms without giving heed to the fact that most liberal, intelligent men (who, at first glance, seem to be unlikely candidates for sexism) are actually quite linguistically sexist?

  2. bonobobabe May 23, 2008 at 1:12 AM #

    I don’t go to male doctors if I can help it. Yes, some women docs are appeasers, and in that case, I find another one. I have a good female doc now, but she’s a traditional M.D., so the treatment is ridiculous.

    You’re right, Nine Deuce. Doctors don’t know what they’re doing half the time. I work in the medical field (in the laboratory), and I can tell you, doctors order lab tests about which they know very little. They can’t interpret results very well, and they often ask me what something means. I tell ‘em, “Trade yearly salaries with me, and then I’ll tell you.”

    No, I don’t really say that b/c insubordination to a doctor is a major offense. They can call us up and cuss and swear at us for something we didn’t even do, but we have to be all sweetness and light towards them, simply because they had wealthy parents who could afford to put them through medical school and an ability to stay up for two days straight.

    Anyway, I did a post recently on western medicine. I think I’m safe linking to my blog from here. I think I’ve confounded my stalker. That bastard.

    Anyway, I love any post that trashes medicine. It’s so fucked up.

    My first gyne exam happened at 22, I was a virgin, and I had severe cramps. I went to see my mother’s doctor who was a male…an Italian with sausages for fingers. After that, I started going to women gynecologists.

  3. Me May 23, 2008 at 1:31 AM #

    Damn it, that song is stuck in my head, now!

  4. Patricia May 23, 2008 at 4:39 AM #

    Surely the same criticism can be applied to the police? You’re not as vulnerable in front of a cop (ie, naked and on your back) but from what I’ve heard of police (thank god I’ve been able to avoid them up to now) they take advantage because of their power.

    A friend of mine is studying medicine, and she said originally she thought it was selfless reasons that made her go into it, but after some self-discovery, she’s realised it’s all about the power and control she will have over other humans.

    An anecdote: my sister had thrush one day and went to the chemist to get cream and this short little old guy in glasses spoke at the top of his voice, “Would you like the vaginal cream?”

    Chemist tend to have power issues as well. The way male chemists glare at you when you buy birth control or a pregnancy test.

  5. Konservo May 23, 2008 at 2:03 PM #

    I can honestly say that I felt uncomfortable making that decision, because I felt like I was going to subject myself to emotional discomfort in order to avoid offending their male doctor with my preference for a female doctor. What the fuck? I heard my Homeland Security-issued Terrormeter (TM) start to twitter (It looks kind of like that thing they used in Ghostbusters to detect paranormal activity. I suggest you get one.). Was some subtle form of terrorism afoot?

    Possibly. But then again, this raises another question. I have anxiety problems with just about any public situation, and I used to have pretty bad panic attacks. I’ve had to learn to force myself to not care, it’s tough, though, because the result is I do wind up putting my personal comfort over the consideration I would normally give others, and, yeah, I come off sounding like a jerk.

    the doctor may possess more cultural authority than the patient

    What’s “cultural authority”? Is the doctor a better Trivial Pursuit player? Or is it that he holds a more authoritative role in a given cultural? I didn’t even know that Americans (and yes, I’m American) even had a unified culture. I would expect a doctor from D.C. to have a different culture than a bartender in Chicago and a farmer in Tennessee.

    But doctors in western medicine have the full weight of science behind them, which means that they are representatives of the source of truth as our culture defines it.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Philosophers, theologians and others would disagree.

    I know, I know, Chinese medicine includes eating bears’ dicks and whatnot, and often doesn’t work in the way we’d expect it to, but just remember that your opinion of it is heavily influenced by your having been raised in our own science-says-it’s-so-so-it-is culture.

    I’m still not going to eat a bear’s dick :lol:

    Anyway, what all this means is that questioning the authority of a doctor in our society is akin to questioning the established source of all truth and knowledge, and who’s going to be brave enough to do that shit?

    Excuse me. No one knows what truth is, or, I guess, there is no agreement as to what truth is. If you don’t believe me have a gander at the many, many books entitled “What is Truth?”

    How would that not cause some delusions of grandeur?

    Easy. If one was already suffering from grandiose delusions before she became a doctor, then those delusions would not be caused by that fact.

    Everything our bodies do that men’s bodies don’t do is treated like a disorder, from menstruation to pregnancy to actual disorders and diseases.

    My god. How dare they treat “actual disorders and diseases” like disorders! I kid, I kid :P

    Childbirth is a natural act that even a mute retard in a McDonald’s stall could do simply because that is what the female body is equipped to do.

    Oh shit! It’s before 10:30am! I can still make to Mickey D’s for breakfast, YES!

    I’ll bbl.

  6. L May 23, 2008 at 4:15 PM #

    Shut up, Konservo. Yet again, you have fucking missed the point. Just shut up.

    ND, this is an awesome series. Thank you for writing this.

  7. Konservo May 23, 2008 at 5:43 PM #

    Do the upper and middle class women unconsciously seek to require such extensive professional care in regards to the primitive instincts of childbirth in order to distinguish themselves from the lower classes that are forced to give home births like crossbreed bitches because they simply can’t afford the “proper” medical care?

    Good question. At first I thought that mortality rates for infants and mothers would be far higher amongst home (or McDonalds) births. I did a quick web search and found many articles suggesting that it is much safer for a woman to give birth at home (or at least, not in a hospital). However, most of these articles were put out by “mid-wifery centers” and a crucial point to their argument was the dangers of the cesarean section operation. It seems that this is a valid point, but it seems to me, and I’m no expert, that there might be occasions when the operation could be beneficial and it’s conceivable that a woman’s life could be threatened by a pregnancy due to complications and in an attempt to save her life an emergency c-section might be preformed however, such attempts are not always successful and a woman might die anyway. Of course, the mother who gives birth at home will have had to be healthy enough to carry the child to term, this makes me wonder about the women who do not have health care and are not healthy enough to carry the child to term… the reports I (briefly) read did not seem to address this issue.

    The helplessness conveyed by a body lain out on a stretcher is further magnified by the fact that this position defies the very gravity that is actually a helpful proponent in easing the fetus out of the womb through the vaginal canal.

    Hmm… it seems to me that the doctor’s job is to make sure the infant is delivered with as little complications as possible (meaning, for the child and the mother). If this involves checking to see that the umbilical cord is not wrapped around the infant’s head, that the cervix is fully dilated, etc., then it would make sense, to me (i.e. Konservo, not the third commenter above), if the doctor did not want to poke her head under a squatting woman during child-birth.

    We’ll have to scrap the whole thing and figure something else out.

    Why must we figure out something else if we scrap the whole thing?

    I don’t think I would trust anyone to plan things for me. Who would you put your faith in?

    Yet again, you have fucking missed the point. Just shut up.

    It would be helpful to get a response a bit more constructive than “Just shut up.” If I offended you I’m sorry, it was unintentional.

  8. Nine Deuce May 23, 2008 at 6:48 PM #

    Konservo, I think it’s high time you made the acquaintance of Drakkar Noir and BUTTKICKER 69.

    As for the lying down/squatting debate, I think that the doctor is making things harder on the woman for his/her own convenience by requiring her to suffer the discomfort of giving birth lying down so he/she doesn’t have to strain his/her neck to make sure things are going smoothly.

    Just because there are people who are confused about the source of truth doesn’t mean that we aren’t culturally conditioned to believe in the absolute authority of science (in medicine, at least). There are a few creationists who would disagree, but mainstream American culture places an awful lot of faith in the truth of scientific reasoning. And that’s where doctors’ cultural authority comes from, meaning our culture has placed a lot of authority in doctors.

    As to the bit about actual disorders, touche. I knew that sounded weird.

    Don’t eat McDonald’s breakfast. The sausage is all lips and assholes.

    I think Konservo may just become a radical feminist sympathizer if he keeps coming to this blog.

  9. Nine Deuce May 23, 2008 at 7:12 PM #

    L – Thanks! I haven’t planned this one in the same way I did the porn one, so it’s kind of freestyle, as in I come up with each topic after I finish the last one, which I’m sure I’ll come to regret. The next one is about anti-American terrorists trying to block women’s access to health care, in which I may be needing to quote you.

  10. SAAM May 25, 2008 at 12:18 AM #

    Having had doctors of both varieties, I obviously prefer a female doctor. Right now, my doctor is male and that is because where I live, female doctors are are more rare than talking pigs.

    When I was pregant with my daughter, I wanted a female OB and found one who worked with 3 other doctors, all male. She was so overworked (so much more than her partners) that she bordered on bitchy whenever I went to see her. Of course, when my daughter was born, she wasn’t available (Which originally pissed me off as SHE should have been the one to deliver) so one of her partners delivered my daughter. He ended up being so much nicer than her. I do believe her behaviour was because of how overworked she was but who knows.

    Now, I have seen doctors’ behaviour towards all other medical professionals and patients as I am a RN (right now I do homecare and don’t have to talk to anyone!!) and it is amazing how they view themselves. Their anger when their patients don’t do what they’re told, the way they talk to other medical staff is so maddening. The few ‘good’ doctors that I have worked with (both male and female) are the ones who listen to what the nurses have to say and sit and talk with the patients. They do not think “I will cure you” but say “I will help you cure yourself”

  11. Bill May 26, 2008 at 10:42 PM #

    Why would ANYONE go to a male doctor? In my experience, they are all about pushing tests and pills and they barely listen to you.

    The female doctors I have seen seem to have more of a natural healing essence about them.

  12. Nine Deuce May 26, 2008 at 10:45 PM #

    Bill – I generally agree with you, but I don’t know that I’d say that’s an essential female characteristic. I think it might be more of a socially-inculcated one. Regardless, it holds a lot of the time and I’d much prefer to see a female doctor.

  13. g May 28, 2008 at 6:40 AM #

    Pregnancy and childbirth may be natural, but I don’t know that we’re “perfectly” designed for it. It is uniquely awful for human beings, due to our huge baby heads, total helplessness as infants, rotated birth canal and narrow upright-balancing pelvises. It’s one of the many reasons I’m pro-abortion, given these factors humans have an *obligation* to use our intellect to prevent pregnancy except when the end result of a baby is actively desired. But since we are designed not just to enjoy sex, but to be better, friendlier people when we are having sex, using our intellect to solve the problem of pregnancy by not having sex results in nasty, moralistic judgmental assholes who sniff other people’s panties until they get caught soliciting cops for sex in the men’s room.

    But I digress. Obviously there is a lot wrong with healthcare system. Attitudes toward pregnancy and childbirth included. I don’t think however that it’s fair to ever make generalizations about a profession or any group of people for that matter. My best friend has given birth twice. Both times, she was in control, with her loved ones, in a place where she felt comfortable, with a midwife attending her that she knew and trusted. She was free to walk around, eat a snack, take a nap and have hot showers/baths. It was a very happy atmosphere where she was revered and her body and desires listened to. Both times she was at a hospital. I recognize this is probably an exception, but I think ideally women should be able to make an informed decision, whether for home birth or hospital, and ideally doctors and hospitals would show willingness to work with midwives and birthing centers. It’s odd, when I was younger (from about 4 or 5 to 16-17) I insisted on having all female doctors (pediatrician, dentist, orthodontist, optometrist, gynecologist, everything). I got over it though and now I even have all male doctors, all of whom I am very comfortable with.

    I see the cultural authority that is given to doctors and how the position can in some cases go to their head. Maybe it’s just because I watch a lot of Discovery Health (for which I have much love), but I feel like there is a real emphasis toward participating in our own health. This may be more a factor of our consumer culture but there are websites and magazines and books rating doctors, and hundreds of easily accessible books and websites on diseases and disorders. I guess my point is this stuff isn’t special doctor-only information. I am especially addicted to the show Mystery Diagnosis, which always features the same theme; don’t give up, ask questions, seek other opinions, and do your own research.

  14. salsa_maggi September 15, 2008 at 6:23 AM #

    Interesting post, I never really gave the medical field a lot of thought with regards to feminism until recently.

    What do you make of “PMS”? Frankly, I am offended at the label “syndrome” for something that most women’s bodies do on a monthly basis. I think PMS is a socially-constructed hypochondriac catch-all term for stuff that many (but not all) women go through that has been sold to us as a problem so that we can get “treatment” for it, and so our frustrations and moods can be gendered and dismissed as some weird female hormonal thing.

    I am not denying the hormonal fluctuations that occur in the body, and I know that for some women the effects of that are more severe than for others. But I wonder how much of that is medically/scientifically justifiable, and how much of that is due to our being taught that women get crazy and ‘irrational’ on a monthly basis, to the point where we have psychologically accepted it as a common problem.

    P.S. I love your blog :)

  15. joy July 13, 2010 at 9:03 PM #

    I recently (actually, not so recently) had a yeast infection. Caused by PIV.

    Since I thought it was a much more serious problem (torn ovarian ligament, bruised cervix – which it also may have been, etc.), I did not wish to see a doctor.
    Smart, I know, but see, I did not wish to explain to a doctor that the sex had been an unreported rape at the hands of a former partner with whom I’d been drinking that day.
    Unreported because I knew the cops wouldn’t believe me. Our friends already didn’t.

    I think that says more about doctors, cops, and society than it does me.

    Eventually, the hospital where I was involuntarily admitted due to psychological rape trauma told me I had a rampant UTI. About five months after the assault, and about as long since the symptoms had developed. They prescribed a week of antibiotics.

    Surprise. The symptoms did not go away. I told my regular doctor, who is a dude at a public health care clinic (I am one of the lower-class people it has been determined do not actually become radical feminists; thanks, whoever said that).
    He said of course I was fine, and the symptoms were just hypochondria.

    One month later, a month of being unable to drink liquid without pain but also unable to make another doctor appointment due to HMO bullshit, discomfort motivated me to go to my gynecologist at Planned Parenthood. Shocker. Still had a UTI.

    The difference was, this doctor (with whom I do still have problems; she led me to believe that I had a hormone imbalance such that I really did need to go on birth control even though it’s dangerous and I’m not engaging in PIV/don’t plan to) actually believed me instead of telling me I was making it up.

    The UTI has still not gone away, though. (My follow-up is tomorrow; unlike my GP, Planned Parenthood has no problems with me coming in as many times as I feel is necessary.)
    I fear the infection has already damaged my kidneys and that’s why it’s resistant to treatment. But hey, I guess even then it’s still better than having a torn uterus or fibroids (which another doctor suggested, without doing an exam of course).

    The medical establishment needs to be burned with fire. I may be a punk-rock hippie, but that doesn’t invalidate my point.

    Also, I hate men. Cutting them out of my life has been the best thing I’ve ever done, ever.

  16. Rididill September 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM #

    I know this is somewhat late but…

    Have you also heard that any attempts to address this imbalance of power are considered as further evidence that you are crazy? Which makes any accountability absolutely impossible?

    This includes such behaviours as – seeking a second opinion, having seen many doctors, knowing medical terminology and doing your own research.

    This is the case in both diagnoses of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

    http://www.pnc.com.au/~heleneli/paper.htm

    And chronic multiple functional somatic symptoms

    http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7359/323.full

    I suffer from the latter (which isn’t a real condition, by the way, it’s just a label they put on to say we don’t know what the fuck to do about this so lets just put it in a box to sound sciency and like we know what we’re talking about) and have come up against such reactions many, many times. The more you try to argue, the more angry they get and try to persuade you it’s something wrong with your head. The worst with older male doctors. I don’t think I have ever had this from a female doctor, though they have mentioned depression, they don’t just say, sounds like you’re depressed (I’m not, and I’ve had depression so I know what it feels like) have some prozac and then get mad or close off if you try and argue with them.

    Also, those annual pelvic and breast exams? From your teen years? You do realise they are not medically necessary AT ALL, right? I have no idea why the US has adopted these frankly disturbing practices, unless it’s to do with private health care and the profit motive. I’m pretty sure no other developed country requires these exams. In the UK, you do not have a cervical smear until you are at least 25, and then it’s only every 3 years. In Finland, which has the lowest rates of cervical cancer in the world, I think you do not have a smear until you are 30 and then it’s only every five years. The reason they do not do these on younger women is because there are a lot of false positives and almost all of them clear up on their own and do not lead to cancer. False positives cause unnecessary stress and biopsies, which occasionally can cause permanent damage to the cervix. I’m pretty sure there is no medical benefit for breast exams for women under the age of 40 also. I forget where I saw these links but could try and track them down if you are interested.

  17. Hecate September 12, 2011 at 12:42 PM #

    I feel like my physical health was poorer when I was younger, and I’ve been wondering if that was a direct result of my mental state. In other words, my boundaries were not firmly in place. These days, when I lay those boundaries down for people, whether they be doctors, co-workers or partners, the word ‘bitch’ (among other expletives) comes out of them as though they were rabid dogs with Tourette’s syndrome. But you know what? I could care less, because my having boundaries is not going to kill anyone, and I have not been sick one day in the past three years. I think this mind-body connection needs to be explored a hell of a lot more, especially where women are concerned. We have a lot to offer, and society should never, ever assume easy access to us. I have to be a ‘Mommy’ to a partner?! Really?! I think that’s sick. It’s tough enough for a woman to find time to nurture herself. Nope, there is to be NO such access where I am concerned. I will walk past the fuckers I have to live alongside in the city so fast, they won’t even know what their sniveling, whiny little request was in the first place :D Some would say that the connection between psychic/ emotional vampirism and health is a bit of a stretch, but I’ve noticed it all my life, even to the extent of becoming immediately physically ill when in the presence of an individual with a dark aura. I hope that doesn’t sound too New Agey…

  18. lizor September 13, 2011 at 8:07 AM #

    @Rididill, thanks for that information. It does not surprise me. I almost died of an infection after a cocky little twit of a medical resident sent me home with cream for a yeast infection after he manually raped me on the exam table – i.e. it was so excruciating I ended up halfway up the wall with him still forcing himself in me. And I have a very very high pain threshold. After I got out of the hospital (12 days on antibiotic drip) I spoke with a lawyer about legal action but in Canada it is virtually impossible to hold doctors accountable and malpractice suits simply do not see the light of day.

    Hecate, I completely agree about the body mind interplay and that being around people who deny your humanity makes you ill.

  19. joy September 13, 2011 at 5:40 PM #

    The only reason people think acknowledgement of the mind-body connection is “New Agey” and unbelievable, is because the mind and logical reasoning has long been considered a male purview (and therefore superior) while the body and emotions are considered female (you know what that means).

    Even other women, including some radical feminists, dismiss our connection to the body and emotions because they consider it too stereotypically female. I’m not really sure how that means it therefore doesn’t or can’t exist — yes, women have been denigrated because of our supposedly greater connection to our bodies (what men consider our dirty, icky, earthy, awful bodies) and emotions (awful, unstable, horrible, uncontrollable, undesirable emotions), but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t pay attention to those things.

    The ideal state as defined by men, and therefore male-defined institutions (ie, society), is that of a robot. Why would anyone, especially an intelligent, female-identified woman, want to be a robot?!

    (Also, lizor, I’m sorry to hear about those awful things happening. Gynecological stories really can curl toes. I’m truly starting to believe we don’t even need exams at all, it’s just an extortion scam (and a way for creepy, abusive assholes like that guy to get unlimited, unfettered access to women).)

  20. Hecate September 13, 2011 at 9:12 PM #

    Such wonderful womyn here :) Lizor, that is beyond awful – beyond words, even. I think men are very disembodied creatures. I mean sure, they’ll go on about that one part of their anatomy ad nauseum. But anything else, they are totally clueless about. For example, I perceived a serious gastrointestinal illness in my ex fiance, which upon hearing, he pretty much laughed in my face. I didn’t back down from my intuition, and I kid you not, a month later, he had a very severe attack of appendicitis and had it removed. Now we are ‘somewhat’ on friendly terms, he acknowledges my wisdom, but still won’t listen to my deeply sensible health/ dietary recommendations. Hey, it’s his life I guess!

    Joy, you are spot-on! For some reason, men have never seen the life right in front of them as a Gestalt, which is the way I feel it should be perceived if we are to live in harmony. Instead, they think it can be dissected and somehow still survive. So true about robots! I totally agree. I like this quote on technology:

    “This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.”

    – “Don DeLillo “White Noise”

    Men are very myopic, and I wish they’d admit to that being the case at some point. Women have always seen the big picture, because they’ve always had to. They are too responsible to have the luxury of seeing and treating life as an abstraction. I think in the final analysis, the deep insecurity of maleness does not allow breathing space for the profound and beautiful chaos that is nature. While we are forced to listen to them, nature fortunately is under no such duress, and she will continue bewildering the feckless male and keeping him guessing for as long as she pleases… ;)

  21. Sugarpuss September 15, 2011 at 4:17 AM #

    Wow, it’s great to see some of you are into the mind-body thing, too. I haven’t been to a doctor in nearly a decade (no gyno exams for even longer), and I’m in excellent health. No colds or flues in over 7 years. I used to have acid reflux disease, but I refused to tolerate it any longer. I healed myself by simply withdrawing my energy from the ailment. I’m very proud of my ability to do such things, and I feel that it’s something anyone can accomplish, with enough practice. One’s belief that they can do it is key; the tiniest shred of doubt will result in failure. However, just as an unfit person cannot walk into a gym and lift a 100 lb. barbell, somebody who is new to the self-healing concept cannot immediately begin ridding themselves of major diseases. You have to start small, such as eliminating a headache without the use of any painkillers. Every successful attempt will build your confidence, and with more confidence comes more power.Then you just keep progressing until you reach a satisfactory level of control over your body. You can take this as far as you want to go; your abilities will be limited only by your desire & the degree of faith you have in yourself. The line between possible & impossible can get pretty blurry.

    @Joy: I agree 100% with everything you have said; it’s all very unnecessary. I am very much opposed to the entire medical profession (especially psychiatry) because I feel that it’s all a big scam. Controlling people and experimenting on their bodies is the modus operandi of modern medicine. Trace amounts of prescription drugs are turning up in US city water supplies, due to the “miracle” of science and the doping up of individuals who refuse to assimilate. They seem to have a pill for everything, these days. War on drugs? LOL They need to arrest the men in the white coats; the legalized drug dealers. I’ve been given many prescriptions in the past because the “experts” feel that I am bipolar, have OCD & social anxiety. Yep, in true patriarchy fashion, they ignore the broken society that produces broken people, and continue to toil away at treating the symptoms instead of examining the root of the problem. The social cancer of inequality cannot be cured with a billion little blue pills. A band-aid for a gaping chest wound? Goddamn the pusher man.

    As far as gynecologists are concerned, my main dislike of being prodded by them (aside from the obvious humiliation factor) can be summed up in one word: Speculum.

    DO NOT WANT.

  22. joy September 15, 2011 at 12:16 PM #

    @Sugarpuss — oh, the doping of those who refuse to assimilate. Shit, yes, it’s awful.

    I’m glad what you said about the broken society producing broken people, as I’ve been trying to explain that for some time. I don’t think I’m crazy. I don’t think pretty much any women are crazy. If there’s a reason for someone to act “crazy”, then they aren’t “crazy.”

    But people, including other feminists, radicals, and radical feminists, like to say something along the lines of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire!” and “if you don’t want to be treated like you’re crazy, stop acting like you’re crazy, and if you can’t, then you’re probably really crazy.” … Right.

    Just like it’s hypocritical to be a radical feminist who supports capitalism, it’s a major hypocrisy to call oneself a radical feminist and support the medical industry. Which – capitalism and the medical industry are hand-in-hand.
    (I don’t necessarily blame anyone, because marketing brainwashes us to be needlessly fearful consumers — but there it is.)

  23. skeptifem September 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    There is this nifty place called pub med where you can go see for yourself that medical technology is not a “scam” or something to oppose. If it is then you all are going to have to prove an extremely vast conspiracy spanning many years, that somehow evades double-blinding in studies. Is biology fake too? What about first aid? Medicine is applied biology. Are you guys unaware of polio or something? Medical technology eradicated diseases that ended lives needlessly. A lot of the problems being associated with medicine (as a whole) are problems with capitalism. Ask a physician how insurance companies affect the way they practice sometime. I have harsh criticisms of the medical industry (especially bariatric and plastic surgeries), but at no point could I decide that all the good that is done in other ways is meaningless. It isn’t meaningless. Criticisms should be used to improve the current system because anyone who looks into it knows that changes in protocol are totally common in the medical industry. Many lives are saved by medical intervention, and there is such an enormous amount of evidence available to demonstrate that fact that it is impossible to avoid when doing even the smallest amount of research on the subject.

    If you oppose medical science then you are, in effect, supporting a shitload of people suffering and dying needlessly. I don’t understand how one can be a radical feminist and also anti-science in light of that. If diseases were easy to treat or cure in some other manner, one that has already been discovered, there would be data showing that to be the truth. There isn’t data that shows that other approaches work (better than placebos anyway). If you do not understand something that is huge and complex it is important to look into it extensively rather than to reflexively call it a scam or worthless. That is what global warming deniers do. One big piece of evidence that it isn’t all a scam is in the way that the medical community abandons shitty practices once sufficient study demonstrates that the technique/drug/whatever is not effective. There is a constant effort aimed at better improving the health of patients, if you work in hospitals you notice the difference over the years in what gets prescribed for treatments. There are peer-reviewed journal articles lying around every unit for casual reading, and mandated continuing education that ensures that practitioners can stay up to date on their training. What is there to compare to that? Homeopathy? They haven’t changed anything about their approach, despite study after study showing no benefit (over placebo, anyway). There are no short or long mortality studies being done by those practitioners.

    And damn it, education in the sciences is something that has been taken away from the public. Shunning it as being ridiculous isn’t going to help anyone. Trying to make informed decisions about health and many MANY other issues without education in science is difficult. Being unaware of the sciences should be seen as a damage of patriarchy, not a flippin’ virtue. Older activists, like from the 30’s, had community education courses that aimed to make the working class educated on important matters like the sciences. It astounds me to hear willful ignorance proposed in place of that.

  24. joy September 15, 2011 at 8:44 PM #

    Yep, Skeptifem, we are all just a bunch of stupid fucking women. Obviously!

    If you love gynecological torture, paying out the ass to get ripped off and not helped, and being numbed with unnecessary pharmaceuticals, great. Good for you. Somebody has to pay these assholes.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to avoid depending on some dude in a holy white coat (I thought you were a skeptic — does the positing of doctors and scientists as modern gods not bother you like it bothers me?) telling us how I should and shouldn’t feel, telling us our bodies are wrong and dirty when it’s doing exactly what it should do (or getting it dead ass wrong when our bodies are doing something they shouldn’t).

    If I ever get shot, break a bone, am in a car accident, or need major surgery, I’ll go to the hospital. Otherwise, no. Do you know what they do to people there? Horrible shit, especially if you’re poor or of color or female. (If you’re all three, you might as well just kill yourself before they can do it for you.) And regardless of the level of care, how am I going to pay for it without insurance?
    A lot of other women are in the same boat as I am — been fucked over too many times to trust these assholes, literally with our lives. And that’s totally okay. There should be another way.

    Also, I’m sorry to say that you still sound exactly like a man.

  25. joy September 15, 2011 at 8:45 PM #

    * what they (our bodies) should and shouldn’t do.

    I made a grammatical mistake, because I only revised part of the sentence. I’m not uneducated or an idiot. Just making that clear.

  26. Hecate September 15, 2011 at 10:18 PM #

    I agree, joy. Just because we have the ‘technology,’ or medical knowledge or what have you, it does not necessarily follow that it will be applied in a humane manner. I’ve never had a doctor with a decent bedside manner, and that’s why I am so manic about staying healthy. They also never fail to have the usual ‘God Complex,’ which is depressing and sickening in itself. My hope is that we will one day have the technology for self diagnosis completely from home, so we can avoid the docs and big pharma, or at least make a private decision upon diagnosis, under no pressure. I also hope that sociological surveys will be taken where medical treatment of women and minorities is concerned.

    It’s like my greedy bastard of a dentist, giving me the spiel about getting ‘Invisalign,’ when I already have perfectly straight teeth. That’s an aspect of the medical establishment we don’t need. Being a good, self-informed consumer applies to health care too, as far as I’m concerned.

  27. joy September 16, 2011 at 12:01 AM #

    The reason I’m so harsh is:

    Whenever a bunch of women get together to express dissatisfaction with a force-fed, conventionally accepted truth (such as but not limited to: women are subordinate, women are whores, penetrative sex and heterosexuality are inevitable, medical torture is right and natural because some rich people’s lives get saved along the way), somebody’s gotta show up say those women are just wrong old dunderheads being wrong and won’t we all just get a grip (and please think of the children).

    If it’s former BDSM subs, someone’s gotta say, “Oh, you were just doing it wrong/had a bad dom/weren’t really a sub” etc.
    If it’s exited women, someone’s gotta say, “You were just doing it wrong/your bad experience doesn’t mean porn/prostitution/stripping is bad!” etc.
    If it’s women who’ve been raped or just don’t enjoy penetration, there’s somebody saying “You were just doing it wrong!” “You’re just like Christians!” and “OMFG you sex-negative prudes, some women LOVE the peen!”
    If it’s women who’ve been medically tortured, there’s somebody saying, “You did something wrong,” and “OMFG you science-phobic ignoramuses, some doctors cure diseases!”
    Shit, if it’s just plain FEMINISM, boring old liberal “can we please be seen as people now? we’ll suck your dicks if you let us keep our abortion access!” mainstream feminism, there’s going to be somebody saying we’re wrong, and crazy, and prudes, and for god’s sake won’t we just shut up and act right already.

    Look here, folks. Nobody’s taking away your pain, your porn, your penises, or your polio cures. Nobody’s going to come into your house and drag you away screaming if you don’t agree with us. Actually the opposite — we’re a lot more likely to be dragged away screaming if we don’t toe the party line, and some of us already have been.

    And blogs like this are often the first place we’ve ever talked about these kinds of things, or the first places we’ve found other people talking about these kinds of things, and maybe even the only places we CAN talk about these things. That’s a little bit important.

    Because ultimately, we’re not the people in charge here. We’re just some women talking on the internet. We have no power, here or in meatspace. We can’t do a fucking thing, sometimes even to save our own ‘worthless’ lives. Most people, in fact, think we’re a bunch of loonies who should be discounted and who need psych meds. That’s kind of part of the whole point of why we’re writing to each other.
    We’re not going to deny you any of the shit you love. We can’t even get men to stop raping and murdering women and children. So rest easy.

  28. Sugarpuss September 16, 2011 at 2:02 AM #

    skeptifem said:

    There is this nifty place called pub med where you can go see for yourself that medical technology is not a “scam” or something to oppose.

    Men are the innovators of “medical technology”; that fact alone is reason enough to be suspicious. Evo-psych, for instance, is a perfect example of the bigoted male agenda at work. Certain discoveries get buried because they do not support the mainstream ideology of man-superior/woman-inferior. Real, legit hard data (what I refer to as “unsexy science”) rarely sees the light of day. And on the rare occasions when it does manage to break the surface, it’s terribly downplayed and fails to become viral knowledge.

    Scientists serve as a filter between the results of their research and the general population. The data must be dissected, sterilized, and reassembled until it passes the DudeBro Compliant stamp of approval, before being released for public consumption. Another phase of this purification process includes the injection of Wishful Male Thinking Serum™, which is available in a wide variety of bald-faced lies such as: Women Enjoy Being Raped, Men Excel In Math, Breast Implants Are Relatively Safe, High Heels Strengthen Women’s Pelvic Muscles, The Male Brain Is Hardwired To (Insert troglodyte variable here), and Assertive Behavior In Women Is a Symptom of PMS.

    Yes, this is a scam… and I oppose it.

    And don’t even get me started on the field of Zoology.

  29. Rididill September 16, 2011 at 8:51 AM #

    @Sugarpuss: ‘the doping up of individuals who refuse to assimilate…in true patriarchy fashion, they ignore the broken society that produces broken people, and continue to toil away at treating the symptoms instead of examining the root of the problem.’

    Yes, yes YES! Have suffered depression many years, and the only thing that helped was feminism. Because that actually enabled me to understand WHY I was unhappy and going crazy… and it had a lot to do with everyone telling me that my criticisms of the world were just the result of mental illness, so I had no faith in my own perceptions. And no faith in your own perceptions is a surefire element of craziness. And all they pushed at me was prozac…

    re: mind-body. I am sceptical of this not because of any hatred of the feminine or new agey-ness being less masculine rational… I am sceptical for two reasons. Firstly, everyone I have ever met who believed in this was involved with, or was pushing me towards extremely expensive new age treatments that had no evidence of working and the people were openly hostile to having their methods questioned. They thought they were anti capitalist-materialist but actually they were the worst kind, and the worst kind of hypocrites. It was literally just as bad as the standard health industry, with profit motives and manipulation, but no evidence to back it up.

    Secondly, and more importantly, it’s just another flavour of blame the victim. Oh, you’re just ill because you’re thinking wrong. Sugarpuss, you say are you proud of your ability to heal yourself… in my experience that ‘pride’ comes of as insufferable smugness to people who are actually ill, so be careful how you present it. I have had a lot of experience with this in the past 8 months and it has pretty much turned me off new agey-ness forever.

    Honestly, I think these new age energy heal yourself ideologies have less to do with a feminine mind-body lovin’ thing, and more to do with exporting the logic of ‘American dream’ style capitalism to the area of health, where everything can be fixed in the individual if you just try hard enough. I don’t buy it. I also have never met anyone who espoused these views who has actually been seriously ill.

    I don’t deny there is a mind-body connection, but I think it is more complicated than just thinking yourself right as an individual. I’m willing to keep an open mind and would love to hear about the actual techniques you’re talking about, but I am extremely sceptical.

    @Skeptifem – uh, did you read that link I posted from the British Medical Journal? It is rife with stereotyping, profiling and general pathologising of dissent. And it’s hardly a fringe publication. Just because technologies save lives does not mean that doctors either know how or when to use them, or base their judgments on anything other than prejudice a lot of the time, dressed up in science language to look official as has been done in that article.

  30. Hecate September 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM #

    Great posts, joy and Sugarpuss. For some reason, they were a reminder to me of the more important meaning of the word ‘radical,’ which is to do with roots and fundamental principles. To most people unfortunately, it’s a word that brings to mind extremism or intolerance.

    A radical feminist examines the origins of a pretty extreme problem, which is the banishment, disfigurement and destruction of the feminine in society. I once had a classmate at the high school I attended in Italy, whose last name was ‘Radice.’ Even then, I felt that was very powerful and I must admit, I felt a bit envious. ‘She’s a strong female with roots!’ I thought.

    To me, brave, strong women go straight to the source of what’s bothering them, and they will settle for no less. The fact that people get such a bee in their bonnet every time a radical feminist expresses an opinion, means she is doing something right. Very few people have the guts to act and/ or speak from their gut, to put it bluntly. And they are deeply envious of those who seem to do so with such ease and flair. Except it’s far from easy. It really takes courage. I’m glad some of those courageous womyn are here :)

  31. Rian September 16, 2011 at 12:51 PM #

    Certain discoveries get buried because they do not support the mainstream ideology of man-superior/woman-inferior. Real, legit hard data (what I refer to as “unsexy science”) rarely sees the light of day. And on the rare occasions when it does manage to break the surface, it’s terribly downplayed and fails to become viral knowledge.

    There are difficulties with doing science in a capitalist, patriarchal society, such as who gets funding, who gets published, etc., but more people now have direct access to scientific papers through the internet and libraries. And there are a lot of people in science who are critical of the status quo, and they are reviewing other people’s papers, and they are doing research of their own.

    The bigger problem is that popularizations of scientific research are written to maximize readership while reinforcing the status quo, resulting in distorted and sensationalized articles and books that may bear no resemblance to the original work on which they are supposedly based. Unfortunately, most people only read the popularizations.

    The other problem is that we live in a society that teaches people to respect science but not to understand it. Thus, science becomes a kind of “special knowledge” accessible to only a few gifted individuals, and couching an argument in sciencey-sounding language lends it a kind of authority that it may not actually merit.

    But science is naturally indifferent to authority, and reviewing the evidence for myself has been the best defense against the society and the “experts” who seek to interpret it for me. The link to Cordelia Fine’s talk in the comments of the Nitrites post is a wonderful example of a woman doing science. Fine was skeptical of the claims of sex differences in the brain, so she went back to the research, asked the relevant questions, and exposed the claims as the propaganda that they are.

  32. Sugarpuss September 18, 2011 at 5:08 AM #

    RidiDill said:

    Firstly, everyone I have ever met who believed in this was involved with, or was pushing me towards extremely expensive new age treatments that had no evidence of working and the people were openly hostile to having their methods questioned. They thought they were anti capitalist-materialist but actually they were the worst kind, and the worst kind of hypocrites. It was literally just as bad as the standard health industry, with profit motives and manipulation, but no evidence to back it up.

    Kindly point out the portion of my comment where I advised people to purchase any type of “treatments”. What I speak of cannot be bought because everyone already has it. However, those who choose to deny the existence of this power will never be able to utilize it. I don’t concern myself with such individuals.

    And then RidiDill said:

    Sugarpuss, you say are you proud of your ability to heal yourself… in my experience that ‘pride’ comes of as insufferable smugness to people who are actually ill, so be careful how you present it.

    Well, pardon me all over the place for being happy about the fact that I am no longer dependent on Prilosec & Rolaids. I suffered with acid reflux disease through most of my childhood, teens & twenties; constant vomiting and severe burning in my esophagus that was practically unbearable. I was one of the guinea pigs for Prilosec when it was still in it’s experimental stage. I thought it was a miracle drug… until I discovered the potential side effects (kidney damage, gastric polyps, etc.). When I kicked all of the negative people out of my life, and decided to truly take control of the few things that I can control (my thoughts, my energy, my body), everything fell into place wonderfully.

    I’m still poor (by choice), disorganized, reclusive, cynical, impatient and not the type of person you’d want to invite to a block party (unless you’re a glutton for biting criticism echoing from the deep end of the pool)… but goddammit I’m Me, so you can bet your ass I’m smug. I’m the most interesting & fascinating person I’ve ever known. I actually used to feel shameful of my unique personality; “Why can’t I think & act like the other girls?” I would often wonder. But the fact that I could not force myself to assimilate was something to celebrate! And that difference, in addition to my abilities, is something I have a great deal of pride in, today. Yes, PRIDE.

    Who are you to waltz into this blog and attempt to silence me? How am I offending “people who are actually ill” (I guess I was never “actually ill”, right? Fuck you) by expressing my joy for having discovered a solution to a quite miserable illness (and much more)? Your reality is not my reality. You’re not the boss of me, so you can take that “be careful” crap elsewhere. Silencing tactics will get you nowhere; just pisses me off.

  33. Sugarpuss September 18, 2011 at 5:49 AM #

    Rian said:

    more people now have direct access to scientific papers through the internet and libraries

    You’re missing the main point I’m trying to make. The vast majority of these “scientific papers” are authored by MEN, based on research by MEN, because science is dominated by MEN. They’re not going to risk their livelihood by confirming that the human male is a sick, twisted freak of nature that destroys everything he touches, now are they?

    Besides, I don’t need “science” to tell me that which is plainly obvious to the un-brainwashed eyes. Everyone knows there is something deeply wrong with men (even they know it; that’s why they are so desperate to keep Feminists quiet), but few people are willing to openly discuss it. The pestilence of the male sex is a very taboo topic in the mainstream media… but they never hesitate to over-magnify some miniscule crime committed by a random woman that almost always pales in comparison to the countless atrocities perpetrated by men on the very same day.

  34. lizor September 18, 2011 at 10:16 AM #

    @ Hecate

    “To me, brave, strong women go straight to the source of what’s bothering them, and they will settle for no less. The fact that people get such a bee in their bonnet every time a radical feminist expresses an opinion, means she is doing something right. Very few people have the guts to act and/ or speak from their gut, to put it bluntly. And they are deeply envious of those who seem to do so with such ease and flair. Except it’s far from easy. It really takes courage.”

    I really really needed to hear that. Thank you. I have recently been the recipient of some fairly vile abuse for the sin of speaking the truth. It’s done a number on me, I have to admit – to the extent that I have not had the energy to comment further on this thread, despite my keen interest.

    However, I am grateful to everyone’s recent posts regard science and medicine. Medicine is so fundamentally poisoned by patriarchy it is truly a dangerous space for a woman to navigate. The guy who almost killed me did so because he saw me as another complaining woman – similar to the gross sexism in that scary BMJ article linked above. The fact that the infection was so bad that I had not urinated for over 72 hours and my obvious physical agony was apparently invisible to him. The next doctor I saw was a woman and she had me admitted immediately.

    I have also been privy to some clinical research into brain/neuro-response to threat. However the test subjects are all male – because, in the words of the (male) scientists “females are too complicated”. However, the drugs that will be marketed as a result of this research will no doubt be heavily prescribed to women.

    On the other hand, I had knee surgery years ago which improved my life significantly. A close friend had joint replacement surgery after a bad accident and this has enabled her to continue to make her art.

    I think that the body and mind are not so much connected as the are one and the same. As Cordelia Fine makes clear, we know very little about how the brain functions and I would add that we know nothing concrete about the physical location of the mind/soul/self. Unfortunately the little understanding we do have of the non-cartesian way of being most often gets co-opted and exploited in pretty cynical ways as Ridilill points out. However, I think the root of body-mind theory is not the problem, but like science, it is the agenda-driven interpretation.

    Thanks for being here, all you fabulous women, and sharing your thoughts and stories. It’s a real source of strength and healing for me.

  35. Hecate September 19, 2011 at 1:20 AM #

    “The pestilence of the male sex…” Ah Sugarpuss, I like your style! :) And yes, you should be very proud indeed that you have found what works for you where your health and lifestyle is concerned. That’s another wonderful thing about this blog and its commenters – very few womyn here ever seem to cave in to the status quo. That is beyond refreshing.

    And lizor, I wish there were more like you, too. You’re also wonderfully straightforward and I have really enjoyed reading your brilliant comments and following your suggested reading links, etc. Thank you! May we all continue ‘speaking our truths.’

  36. lizor September 19, 2011 at 8:21 AM #

    @Sugarpuss

    “I’m still poor (by choice), disorganized, reclusive, cynical, impatient and not the type of person you’d want to invite to a block party (unless you’re a glutton for biting criticism echoing from the deep end of the pool)… but goddammit I’m Me, so you can bet your ass I’m smug. I’m the most interesting & fascinating person I’ve ever known. I actually used to feel shameful of my unique personality; “Why can’t I think & act like the other girls?” I would often wonder. But the fact that I could not force myself to assimilate was something to celebrate! And that difference, in addition to my abilities, is something I have a great deal of pride in, today. Yes, PRIDE.”

    I emailed this to myself so I can read it every morning in hopes of breaking the habit of apologizing for who I am and how I see.

    Thank you for writing it.

  37. lizor September 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM #

    @Hecate “May we all continue ‘speaking our truths.’” indeed!

    Thank YOU Hecate, ND and all the other wonderful posters here for creating this space. To call it an oasis is an understatement.

  38. Rididill September 21, 2011 at 3:19 PM #

    @ Sugarpuss

    Fair enough, I should not have lumped you in with those people, I apologise. The treatments I refer to are expensive courses which teach you how to use your ‘energy’ to heal yourself, and have been pushed at me by pretty much every single person I have ever met who talked in the way you just did, so I jumped to conclusions. As Lizor mentioned, maybe I should consider this co-optation rather than something totally wrong with it, but I’m still skeptical.

    ‘However, those who choose to deny the existence of this power will never be able to utilize it. I don’t concern myself with such individuals.’

    Oh really. Well, that explains how you manage to be such an asshole towards them I guess. How long do you have to try before it’s rational to stop believing? If it doesn’t work is it always just because you didn’t believe hard enough or what? Don’t you see that there is no way to say this works or not, seeing as you can always say failure was because you didn’t try hard enough or believe in it right or something?

    Criticism is not silencing. And why the hell are you tying this whole thing up with declaring yourself proud of your individuality? As if I was trying to tell you to be ashamed of who you were! Get off your high horse. It’s not about that. It’s about you shitting all over sick people and making them feel worse cos you’re so damn self righteous about having ‘healed yourself’.

    I’m just asking you to be sensitive to those worse off than you and appreciate that perhaps while your methods worked for you, they don’t work for everyone or in every case. And yeah, in my experience, the people with your kind of attitude were more interested in reinforcing their self righteousness by declaring how awesome they were for having ‘earned’ their health than actually being helpful to anyone. Which, given your last comment, describes you perfectly.

    If you actually want to offer some advice or techniques I would be very happy to hear, but it sounds like you’re more interesting in flouncing around telling me to STFU cos you’re PROUD of who YOU are (even though this was totally irrelevant) and I’m the bad guy for saying, HEY you’re being hurtful to people please can you think about that when you speak.

    This attitude experienced by other sick people rather the same as a rich person saying to a poor person, well I did it so get off your ass and try harder! If only you TRIED you could be as rich as me.

    It adds insult to injury.

    I’m not saying my reality is your reality. I’m saying be mindful of other people, please.

    Who am I to come ‘waltzing in here?’ you don’t own this blog FFS. It’s public.

  39. Sugarpuss September 22, 2011 at 11:39 PM #

    @ lizor: I’m glad you found that portion of my comment inspiring. Confidence is so very important for women, especially in a world where men do their best to drag us down to a level that is usually somewhere just beneath the soles of their boots.

    @ RidiDill: Sorry, but I have little interest in fighting your strawman. Spinning my words around, to make it look as if I hate sick people, isn’t exactly the best idea… as everyone can clearly see what I did say and (most importantly) didn’t say. It is in the interest of the unwell for which I speak, but your negativity has apparently warped your comprehension skills. Did you just wake up with the false assumption that it’s Opposites Day… or… what?

    Lastly, I don’t know why you feel the need to constantly inform me of your “skepticism”. I have already made it quite clear that those who perceive me as a liar, crackpot or otherwise, are the types of individuals whom I don’t concern myself with. What? Am I supposed to throw myself off of a bridge just because you don’t believe me? Or, maybe, just maybe, this is your way of demanding a demonstration? Well, I regret to inform you that, due to the obvious limitations of the internet, there will be no levitating or turning clay pots into gold. LOL This is what makes your “skeptic” announcements so ludicrous.

    Thinking out loud: How does one go about proving they no longer suffer from acid reflux disease???

  40. Hecate September 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

    “…especially in a world where men do their best to drag us down to a level that is usually somewhere just beneath the soles of their boots.”

    For some reason Sugarpuss, your comment brought up something I have been thinking about for a long time. I wonder if men really are reacting to a quality in women that has always been more evolved, both physically and emotionally. For example, even sexually, female ‘equipment’ is more refined, like nanotechnology! And of course, their overall hairiness just makes men look two steps behind in the evolutionary scheme of things in general. Smaller has always had a quality of ‘more developed’ to my mind. Or at least, the Japanese might agree :)

    Emotionally, women are more complex in my opinion because of course they are deeply empathic and intelligent, but also have had to be so as primary caregivers. The question is, since it is women who give birth to males, what is the benefit in having men stuck at a primitive stage? Though many will say men are the way they are simply because of testosterone, in an attempt to stop the uncomfortable questions there…

  41. Hecate September 25, 2011 at 11:46 AM #

    Sorry, with the ‘Japanese’ comment, I simply meant that I know they love anything ‘mini’ or ‘nano.’

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  1. On apologizing and holding grudges « Editorializing the Editors - May 28, 2008

    […] have endured a lot of harm, and they have heard many apologies. Many of them have probably also forgiven the […]

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