Is Your Doctor Stuck In The 1800s?
Medical misogyny seems to have a tragic love affair with chronic illness, that endures to this day. So tighten your corsets, grab your eye glass, and join me on a whimsical journey to go over some of the telltale signs that your doctor may have graduated from the Freudian Pyschomedical School For Men!
1. The Instant Hysteria Diagnosis: If you find yourself presenting with symptoms such as fatigue, pain, or a mood disorder, and your doctor's first inclination is to declare that you are suffering from "hysteria," or “illness anxiety” as it’s been rebranded, it's time to check if there's a horse drawn carriage parked outside their office. We’ve come a long way since Freud's days, and "hysteria" is no longer a valid catch all diagnosis for any ailment that might befall us womb and ovary havers.
2. The Trauma Theory: It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged, that a female with a difficult to diagnose ailment, must be suffering from strife. However little known the feelings or views of such a woman may be on her own mental health and well being, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of some physicians, that she is considered as the rightful owner of having Unresolved Traumatic Issues.
* Notably, The Trauma Theory seldom (if ever), holds a spot in the antiquated physician’s diagnostic toolkit for men.
3. The Prescribed Bed Rest Cure: If your doctor recommends bed rest as the ultimate cure, you have probably wandered into a Jane Austen novel. Bed rest might have been the go to treatment for delicate 19th century ladies with the vapours, but us modern chronic illness sufferers need more than a fainting couch on which to recover.
4. The Medical Mansplaining Phenomenon: If your doctor dismisses your symptoms as "all in your head" or "just stress," you’re likely teetering on the edge of The Instant Hysteria Diagnosis.
5. The Female Frailty Fallacy: Should your doctor suggest that your chronic illness is simply a result of your delicate female constitution, you may want to remind them that women have been giving birth by squatting down in fields and kitchens for centuries, before calmly returning to their work.
6. The Quick-to-Quip Quack: If your doctor's go to response to your chronic pain or invisible illness is a condescending joke or a dismissive one liner, you may want to check whether their medical diploma predates the Napoleonic Wars.
7. The "It's Probably Just Your Period" Prognosis: If your doctor attributes every symptom you report to your menstrual cycle, you might have a time travelling physician on your hands. It's time to remind him that we are more than our ovaries and wombs, and that he probably needs a permit for the horse and carriage parked outside his office.
8. The Male Pain Scale: If your doctor seems to measure your pain on a male-centric scale, where a man's pain is always considered more severe, it's possible that he's been stuck in the 1800s for quite some time. Time to find a physician who believes that pain is pain, no matter your gender.
9. The Blame The Victim Verdict: If your doctor is quick to blame your lifestyle choices for your chronic illness without considering other factors, you might want to consider if he's been trapped in a time loop since the Victorian era. While lifestyle choices might impact our health, gone are the days when Cola literally contained cocaine, and heroin laced cough syrup was prescribed to children.
10. The You Just Need To Have a Baby Prescription: If your doctor's solution to your irregular monthly cycle, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis, is to suggest that you simply need to have a child in order to sort your gynaecological issues out, you may want to check if there's a DeLorean parked outside. Having a baby is a long term commitment, and it’s doubtful that your doctor actually has the ability to travel back to the future in order to take back their ill informed advice!
While medical misogyny and its impact on women with chronic illnesses is no laughing matter, I hope that some of these facepalm worthy diagnoses have given you a fun break from your smelling salts! And, that when it comes to medical misogyny we are most certainly not alone, so please feel free to share some of your own experiences in the comments