I had a standard first appointment with a doctor I had never met before in which he did a vaginal exam. That in itself is weird enough, isn't it? I have no relationship with this person, not even professionally, and it's considered normal for him to be sticking his hand up me? When I have no medical issues? I don't know that I would label that "misogyny", maybe just inhuman. It seems to me that people in general are treated as less than thinking, human beings when in a hospital environment. And I sensed no hostility from the doctor, latent or otherwise. I do wonder, now, what possesses someone like him to enter obstetrics. Clearly he had no interest in me as a human being, nor did it occur to him to have respect for my body or feelings. To him, it was just a clinical job. But why specialize in dealing with women's bodies
, then? Why not, I don't know, be a podiatrist or something? I've heard that men tend to go into obstretics because it's considered easier than other specialties. Which reminds me of this: http://upalumni.org/medschool/ob-gyn.html
which might be right up your alley for this project. There isn't much mentioned about birth, but about misogyny in women's health care in general.
Unfortunately the midwife I decided to go to instead turned out to be awful, contrary to the sweet gentle facade she presented during our prenatal visits. I hesitate to call that misogyny also, because I think it was a combination of how she was trained and her inability to deal with my style of laboring. I certainly felt demeaned, manipulated, and belittled, though. I wrote a letter to her, not to send, but just to get it out so I could start to move on. PM me if you'd like to read it.
My other experience that is worth noting doesn't have to do with birth but women's care. I had gone to see a nurse practitioner to... I guess to have a pap, and that evolved into the whole exam including a breast exam. She was very abrupt and sort of snorted when she found I'd had my babies at home. She mauled my breasts (so that I ended up with an infection) then asked what birth control we were using which I was kind of taken aback by, because really, if I wanted to talk to her about it wouldn't I bring it up? It felt kind of intrusive and condescending, like she needed to cover all the bases for my sake, it's her job to make sure I'm thinking about these things, you know. I should have just said that I had no concerns or needs regarding that but she was really into the "I am the expert you are the patient" mentality and I was too cowed to assert myself. So I simply answered, said we were using condoms. She said, in this very condescending tone, "well you can't do that forever. You're going to be fertile for a long time and you need to think about more reliable methods of contraception." !!! Here I am, an adult woman, and she's lecturing me! I wouldn't set foot in her office again if she were the last pap smearer left on earth. But I should have written a letter. Not that it would have done any good, probably, but I still should have.