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Birth, Feminism, and the place of males in the whole thing - Page 3

post #41 of 85
I am pretty sure the thread is trying to say the lack of one makes inherently an inferior quality one though. If not, what is this about?

I don't believe gender makes a difference even in this arena. I don't feel more or less comfortable with a man OB/GYN than I do with a woman OB/GYN. I don't think either one are better or worse. Can they do the job well and treat me with respect? That is what matters. Neither of those qualities I believe have anything to do with gender.
post #42 of 85
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Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
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I, also, don't understand why men go into gynecology. Equating it with specializing in cardiac medicine or podiatry is just ignoring the obvious. Having a strange man put his fingers up your vagina or feel your breasts involves more issues than I can name - modesty issues, power issues, you name it. We have agreed to just pretend there is nothing to it, but that just isn't the case. I think there is something inherently demeaning in a woman being asked to lie down, put her legs in stirrups, and let some man rummage around in there. I am also suspicious of the tendency to advise pelvic exams far more frequently than preventive health care warrants. I'm not saying OB/GYNs are perverts, just that they are acting on the assumption that female organs are suspect and more prone to failure than usual, and need to be constantly monitored.
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Our CNP does the annual exams - and most of the early pregnancy exams. OB doesn't become involved (other than meeting mom) 'til around 6 months. He does every other appointment from then on, and the last month's appointments and delivery, and the 6 week appointment (although I think the CNP does that too sometimes).

His job is to assist with birth - I suppose he meets with older patients or patients that the CNP has flagged with an issue or something but it's the CNP who does most of the "mundane" stuff. And incidentally their office has just started doing pelvics every three years, for women who are HPV free and over thirty with a monogamous relationship.

I feel like some of the attitude in this thread is that males, lacking female organs, must be somehow inferior or perverted (or sadistic) to want to be involved in a medical area which serves women. So, what's up with all the veterinarians out there? They must be super-sickos then, hmmm? :

I can totally empathize (and agree) with the fact that birthing as practiced in the USA today *by and large* is disempowering and unhealthy for women and their children. And that does have a lot to do with the medical system created by and run by men. But to move from that fact, and the need for women to be allowed the power of their own births without meddling or intervention (unless warranted) -- to removing all men other than the woman's partner from the room unless an emergency c/s is necessary (and preferably not even then, only a female OB for that too) -- that goes too far. And as we've already observed, there are plenty of awful female OBs too.
post #43 of 85
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Originally Posted by 2Bugs View Post
By that logic, should we say that all med students who specialize in pediatrics are pedophiles?

Some of you that agree with the OP, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this question.
post #44 of 85
I don't believe that normal birth should be in the hands of surgeons, regardless of their gender.

Here's a fascinating (and quite long) article by Robbie Davis-Floyd that addresses sexism in the current birth culture. I highly recommend---very relevant
post #45 of 85
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Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Neither men nor women, in this society, can appear naked in public. That was not imposed on one sex by the other; it is a rule that applies to everyone, except very young children. There is no society on earth that does not have some restrictions on nakedness. This is not the place to debate Biblical interpretation, but in brief, both Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness and covered themselves, it was due to a spiritual change and not some new regulation on female dress, and the issue of "sluttiness" had not yet arisen.
Yes, everyone covers up to some extent, though not all out of shame or 'modesty' but for protection from the elements. How else do you explain indigenous tribes where the men simply wear a loincloth and women over cover their bottom half? The rule that women must cover their breasts and torsos came from somewhere so if it wasn't imposed by men (as women had absolutely no say in these things back then), who was it imposed by? I don't buy the story that both men and women woke up one day and felt compelled to hide their bodies from one another. And I don't want to get into Biblical interpretation either but wasn't the Bible written by men? They can say whatever they want about what Adam and Eve did or thought. But that is a whole 'nother topic so I won't divert into that can of worms.

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The female rep. system may be a bit more complex, but still not enough to explain the degree of watchfulness and intervention the medical system calls for. For example, as I understand it, men are about as likely to experience prostate cancer as women are to encounter breast cancer. Are boys encouraged to have a prostate exam every six months, beginning when they are 12 or 13?
The rate for breast cancer is about 10% higher than that for prostate cancer. I would argue that the rates are actually probably the same but because so much more money and resources are put into breast cancer awareness (MUCH more than prostate), it isn't diagnosed in some men. I'm not sure I understand your point anyway -- are you saying you think we should start ignoring women's health issues because it's sexist that men aren't scrutinized to the same level? If anything, that to me says that men are the ones being let down -- all of the celebrity support, marathons, walks, ribbons, fundraising campaigns, etc.. are for women and breast cancer. Not many black-tie fundraising dinners for prostate cancer, ya know?

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Also, much of an OB/GYN's work consists of intervening in the process of childbirth. Supposedly, female reproduction is fraught with problems, which is why almost a third of us "need" major surgery in order to give birth, or why so many thousands of us "need" a hysterectomy. Sorry, I'm still suspicious.
Which issue are we talking about here -- reproductive health/organs or birth? The two are related, of course, but they are not mutually inclusive. A woman who never gives birth can still have reproductive problems. I agree that birth is intervened in way too much, but you can't lump preventative reproductive health in with childbirth and dismiss all OB/GYNs as too involved. If they were disinterested and women were dying left and right of ectopic pregnancies, ovarian cysts, burst fallopian tubes, cervical cancer, bacterial infections, etc.. we'd be hounding the medical professions to do more. So while I agree with you that there is too much intervention in birth, I don't agree that OB/GYNs are always too interventionist when it comes to general health and preventative measures. Besides, we can (or should be able to, ideally) have a gyno for our annual exams and repro. health but not use an OB for birth. I see a gyno but had only midwives at the birth of my daughter. That doesn't mean I find all obstetrics unnecessary.

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Even (I would say, especially) the most confident, liberated, self-aware woman has limits on who can touch her, where, and how. If that were not the case, why would we even have the concept of sexual assault? Those limits almost invariably include strange men handling their genitals in an office setting. Most women and girls maintain the concept of "private parts" and are definitely "not comfy" with having just anyone handle them there.
Of course we all have limits on who touches us, and where and how. But most women are able to differentiate between unwanted, wanted and necessary touch. A lover's touch is different from a stranger's groping and both of those are different from a medical professional's. I understand that some people have a difficult time separating the different kinds of touch, most likely from some kind of trauma or abuse they suffered earlier in life, but that still doesn't give anyone the right to use their personal experiences and feelings to label an entire group of people or even an entire gender as sadist or having suspicious intentions.

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I have heard many women describe the pelvic exam as demeaning; many girls relate how traumatic it was to be forced by their mothers to go through this supposed rite of passage when they had just reached puberty; and past victims of sexual assault describe the effort it took to endure being examined intimately by a male doctor. They make themselves go through it because they are told that it is necessary to their continued health.

They are also told that sensible, mature women have no problem with it. That is the attitude I find most objectionable: the idea that women who do not want to undress in front of a strange man, have their breasts and genitals examined by him, are actually repressed, backward, and shame-filled.
I understand what you are saying and I have nothing by sympathy and concern for those women who felt forced into something they didn't want or suffered abuse that heightened their fear of the whole process. But I still maintain that to use a small percentage of people's experiences to label a whole group and medical practice (female repro health) as 'bad' isn't very responsible. And if it's specifically men they have a fear of, there are plenty of female doctors they can see. Though as many of us can attest, having a female doctor will not ensure a good experience. Women can feel just as violated by a woman as they do a man.

What an interesting topic, I've really enjoyed discussing this!
post #46 of 85
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Originally Posted by amitymama View Post
Yes, everyone covers up to some extent, though not all out of shame or 'modesty' but for protection from the elements.
That simply isn't true. People wear clothing even in warm climates where there is no obvious need for it. The concept of nakedness is universal. Just because a culture wears far less clothing than we do does not mean they are casual about it. Even societies which limit themselves to a loincloth would never dream of going around without one. It is important to respect this aspect of humanity.


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Of course we all have limits on who touches us, and where and how. But most women are able to differentiate between unwanted, wanted and necessary touch. A lover's touch is different from a stranger's groping and both of those are different from a medical professional's. I understand that some people have a difficult time separating the different kinds of touch, most likely from some kind of trauma or abuse they suffered earlier in life, but that still doesn't give anyone the right to use their personal experiences and feelings to label an entire group of people or even an entire gender as sadist or having suspicious intentions.
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I understand what you are saying and I have nothing by sympathy and concern for those women who felt forced into something they didn't want or suffered abuse that heightened their fear of the whole process. But I still maintain that to use a small percentage of people's experiences to label a whole group and medical practice (female repro health) as 'bad' isn't very responsible. And if it's specifically men they have a fear of, there are plenty of female doctors they can see. Though as many of us can attest, having a female doctor will not ensure a good experience. Women can feel just as violated by a woman as they do a man.
I was not trying to say anything quite so sweeping. Very simply, who can touch us and how, where and with whom we can be naked, are absolutely basic to the psyche of any human being. In this part of the world, we have separate men's and women's showers, changing rooms, bathrooms. If a woman is undressed in a women's facility and a man enters, it had better be for a spectacularly good reason. Otherwise, she will feel uneasy, shocked, vulnerable, humiliated, even if she is well-adjusted...even if she has never experienced sexual abuse. In this society, then, to be examined by a male gynecologist involves overcoming, or suppressing, our most basic feelings. The question I ask is, why should we have to?
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The rate for breast cancer is about 10% higher than that for prostate cancer. I would argue that the rates are actually probably the same but because so much more money and resources are put into breast cancer awareness (MUCH more than prostate), it isn't diagnosed in some men. I'm not sure I understand your point anyway -- are you saying you think we should start ignoring women's health issues because it's sexist that men aren't scrutinized to the same level?
No, I am saying that much more time is spent scrutinizing female body parts because the attitude of medicine is that they are inherently flawed and in need of constant medical management.
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Which issue are we talking about here -- reproductive health/organs or birth? The two are related, of course, but they are not mutually inclusive. A woman who never gives birth can still have reproductive problems. I agree that birth is intervened in way too much, but you can't lump preventative reproductive health in with childbirth and dismiss all OB/GYNs as too involved.
To me, they are part of the same issue - the originally all male medical system's attitude to the female body. The Robbie Davis-Floyd article that Georgia linked to explains this much better than I could...
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It has been a recurrent theme in American medicine that to remove a woman's sexual organs is to restore her body to full health and greater potential for productive life. In short, under the technocratic model the female body is viewed as an abnormal, unpredictable, and inherently defective machine.
It is bad enough that this attitude is so ingrained in medicine; what is far worse is that so many women have absorbed it to the point that they feel that considering their own bodies defective is a mark of intelligence and liberation, rather than a form of self-loathing.
post #47 of 85
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It is bad enough that this attitude is so ingrained in medicine; what is far worse is that so many women have absorbed it to the point that they feel that considering their own bodies defective is a mark of intelligence and liberation, rather than a form of self-loathing.
So true. :cry:
post #48 of 85
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Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I was not trying to say anything quite so sweeping. Very simply, who can touch us and how, where and with whom we can be naked, are absolutely basic to the psyche of any human being. In this part of the world, we have separate men's and women's showers, changing rooms, bathrooms. If a woman is undressed in a women's facility and a man enters, it had better be for a spectacularly good reason. Otherwise, she will feel uneasy, shocked, vulnerable, humiliated, even if she is well-adjusted...even if she has never experienced sexual abuse. In this society, then, to be examined by a male gynecologist involves overcoming, or suppressing, our most basic feelings. The question I ask is, why should we have to?
But I don't feel that way, quite frankly. Asking a male gyno to look at my vagina like I asked him to is a darn good reason for me to be partially naked for him. I don't feel like I am overcoming or suppressing anything. I don't feel like I should be made to feel like I should have to suppress anything either because some people have hangups about it. Not like I am asking the mailman to come examine this spot on my clitoris. This is a guy who spent years and years studying the female body in a medical/academic setting. There is a world of difference in my mind between the male gyno and just some guy on the street in terms of how I feel about modesty.
post #49 of 85
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Originally Posted by amitymama View Post
But aren't the ideas that women need to preserve their 'modesty' and that being naked in front of a strange man renders a woman powerless derived from the very patriarchal rules that were imposed on women to begin with?
It's irrelevant. Because neither exposing nor hiding ourselves will overcome the system. Hiding ourselves strengthens it; exposing ourselves make us vulnerable to it. There's a third option though: to not engage with it to begin with.

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I thougth that part of the movement so intrinsic to MDC philosophy works to redefine shame and modesty with regards to our bodies and their processes which is why we embrace pregnancy and our changing bodies instead of hiding them, regard birth as a woman's primal right of passage and insist that breastfeeding is the most natural, normal thing in the world and has nothing to do with preconceived ideas of what women 'should' do according to outdated notions.
I'm sorry, I just think you are entirely missing the point. Moving beyond shame does not mean moving beyond the body and the birth process as sacred and primal/sexual. I can be fully accepting of my body and not ashamed of it, and not want someone sticking their fingers up me and directing my birth. Or even witnessing it. I don't want someone "letting" me, I don't want someone to adulate for their role in my birth, I don't want someone to be an authority figure. Denying someone something s/he has no rightful place in to begin with is hardly the same thing as "hiding".

But why not men especially? Because there is more to it than modesty. There is more to it, even, than the patriarchy. And I think that while some might not have intellectualized it, they feel it in their gut nonetheless. It is nothing but arrogance to come alone and tell those people, "oh, if you only weren't ashamed of your body, you could be enlightened enough to see that male is just the same in all respects as female. Tsk." Again, that's completely missing the point. In a sacred and/or primal/sexual sense it may be inappropriate to have a particular person present specifically because of their gender or sexual orientation.

If birth isn't simply clinical -- if it is hormonal and emotional and sexual and primal -- then these things have to matter.
post #50 of 85
Fourlittlebirds: Very well said!
post #51 of 85
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Originally Posted by ktbug View Post
From my point of view, as a woman, a mother, and a feminist, however, I just don't see the sense in trusting the care of my female parts to a person who does not have those parts. It's as strange a suggestion to me as seeing a veterinarian. I didn't say men should be outright banned from OB/GYNing, that they shouldn't be allowed to be baby/mama doctors. And people have the right to choose whatever they want.
I don't believe that either of my midwives have had children themselves. I don't think that disqualifies them from attending my birth. But I would expect that, for you, in addition to "having the parts," they should have given birth. How can you trust your care to a woman who has not experienced birth? How is a woman who has not experienced pregnancy or birth not similar to a man in terms of being qualified on the basis of physical characteristics/experiences?

A male FP, midwife, or OB has had all the training to become whatever title he has. I don't understand the veterinarian reference because a veterinarian isn't trained to attend birth or be a baby/mama doctor, but the male version of the female equivalent (MW, OB, FP) has.


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I also genuinely don't understand why men want to be OB/GYNs, except for the sadism. I really have trouble wrapping my head around a man going through medical school and residency, all that hard work, with the purely altruistic intention of "helping women". It just doesn't compute, and for that reason, I don't trust male OB/GYNs.
Many, if not most, doctors don't go to medical school because they want to "help people." They go because they find the subject interesting, the prestige alluring, or the salary compensable. They go because science is what they're best at and Mom and Dad want them to be doctors. There are many reasons, but honestly, "helping people" is pretty far down the list for many, if not most medical students (speaking from experience here).

A good friend of mine (male) found that he loved his OB rotation. He loved caring for women during birth but especially loved babies and seeing them come into the world healthy. He isn't going to be an OB, but he's seriously considering pediatrics. His wife also did an OB rotation, and HATED it. Every. freakin. minute. of it. Would complain end over end about being tired and screaming women and amniotic fluid all over her.

Then there's my good friend (female) who has decided to do OB-GYN. She thought about midwifery but doesn't have the patience to sit through a natural birth. She likes the "predictability" of the medical, managed model of birth even though she's said she sees how beneficial natural birth is for mothers and babies. She also loves performing surgery, and I think she really likes that a good portion of the time the birth ends in c/s and she gets to do that, which is her favorite thing in OB-GYN (surgery, but esp. c/s because it is a "positive" surgery in comparison with, say, tumor removal or hysterectomy).

I don't think women should ever have to see male FP/OB/MWs. I ended up having to do this because I wanted to have a NCB and a homebirth and a male FP was the only option that I could find. Didn't get the homebirth anyway, and won't be returning to that particular doctor . . . unless I have twins or a breech. Why? Because he's the only one I know of who will do them vaginal, without forcing a woman to be on the operating table to be allowed to give it a try. Ideal? No. Only option other than UC? Yes. Would I rather that he just not have gone into FP, doing homebirths for 25 years and providing an option that was otherwise practically unheard of in the area, supporting natural birth while everyone else got more and more medical? No way. And I don't think that his sex should ever have been a reason to keep him from doing the good and important work he's done for many years, even though he's not my very favorite (I don't have a favorite doctor; I tend not to like them very much at all).

I think birth is absolutely a feminist issue, but I don't understand why that necessarily excludes men. My dh is afraid of the word "feminist" because of the social and cultural baggage it has, but behind closed doors doesn't mind me pointing out that he's a feminist and will acknowledge it "according to my definition of feminism." I think the birth-feminism intersection has far more to do with information, choice, respect, and autonomy than whether the HCP is male or female.

I think the first step to creating a healthier birth environment is taking surgeons out of the picture entirely unless actually needed - whether they be male or female surgeons. And based on my own personal comfort level, I would always see a female GYN for GYN issues. I wouldn't even consider taking my daughter to a male GYN for her first exam nor someone I hadn't given a "test drive" to previously (i.e., experienced an exam at her hands). My mom had that much courtesy and thoughtfulness for me and I'll certainly repeat it for my daughters.
post #52 of 85
oh, I have so much to add to this! so much! I agree alot with the OP....I have to do some housework stuff, ponder the issue and I'll come back to blab about my feelings.

oh, so glad Linda conveyed her feelings on this...makes it much easier to form my own thoughts.
post #53 of 85
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We hear much the same thing about childbirth, that women who object to having procedures done on them without their consent, who resent the lack of privacy and respect in a typical delivery room, are women who simply have "issues." Maybe they don't. Maybe they are the ones who are the most in touch with their own feelings, and refuse to repress them.
i fully agree with this statement.

you know, i have a hard time seeing this as a feminist issue - maybe because it shouldn't be an issue at all. i don't see why *anyone* - male or female; doctor or midwife; mother or sister, even - should be directing any birth except her own. hell, to be directing anyone else’s *life* but her own. pregnancy and birth are normal states within the adult female experience. they are part of life, not departures from it. sadly, these stages are not treated this way by the western medical model, which is where we have the problem. asking a health care provider to direct my health when i don’t have a specific job for them to do is an essential expression of mistrust in my body, isn’t it? if i see my healthy state as abnormal and in need of management, some provider will surely take my money to do a job that doesn’t need doing.

whether i choose one gender of provider over another isn’t as important as how i see my role as consumer of health care services generally. if i suspect that my health needs attention beyond my capability to perform it for myself, it really is *my* job to do the legwork so that i can ask specifically for a service to be provided for me. when i don’t have a clear need, but insist on having services performed for me, i can hardly complain when i’m taken advantage of by men or by women. it’s equal opportunity in that regard.

personally, i see routine physical examinations as ridiculous, and routine prenatal care equally bizarre. what information can be had under a microscope that i can’t intuit by living with myself every day? just because i *can* be examined under a microscope doesn’t mean that i *should be* - i am not consciously constructing myself (or a baby) at the molecular level. knowing what i know at the conscious level must be enough to maintain health; without that basic trust in my own body, how would i even get out of bed in the morning? never mind grow a baby.

but women are clearly conditioned to accept prenatal care and strangers (male or female) molesting their bodies in a professional capacity as ‘normal’ and ‘health care’. similarly, we are conditioned to expect direction in birth as normal. it is not normal, none of it is, and i can prove it: imagine a healthy couple choosing to copulate in a doctor’s office or a hospital just in case something goes wrong. you would ask yourself what kind of nuts these people were (i would), because it is not normal. imagine a gastroenterologist shoving a camera down your esophagus while you ate to examine your digestion habits. it could be done, sure, but wouldn’t it be unpleasant and unnecessary? would i expect accurate information about my body to be gleaned under these strange circumstances? information can be had, surely - but is it properly defined as ‘health care’? or is it clear by analogy that these are ‘unnecessarily and invasive interventions in a normal process’? how could you fail to suffer, say, indigestion? similarly, how could a healthy body birth normally while being handled and observed?

no one suggests that your digestive tract be examined - even the first time you use it - in case something goes wrong. no one condemned me as careless with my health for lacking a doctor’s care on the scene when i first used my body for vaginal intercourse - even though i’d never used it in such a way before. why should birth be different? assuming you are a healthy person who’s enjoyed an unremarkable pregnancy, why would you elect to have any attendant at your birth at all, male or female? i simply can not see a place for a manager. it’s laughable, even, except that we don’t laugh - we just expect it to be so. we shouldn’t. all through the process from conception to birth - there’s just no place for management.

no one is standing by when you conceive. no one manages all forty weeks of your life while you gestate your baby. similarly, no one should be on hand telling you how to birth one. it’s as simple as that.

i think that if i throw my (healthy) self into the hands of a doctor and ask them to tell me what to do with my body, i am right to expect that that person (indeed, that industry) is going to evolve as an authoritarian, telling me what to do and how to do it, and comparing me with others. we need to recognize how useless this is. we need to regain faith in ourselves. we need to see ourselves as our own OB/Gyn (or midwife) and the people we employ to help us as servants. what they do for us is up to us to request, not up to them to direct.
post #54 of 85
I would just like to put out the idea that veterinarians deal with bodies that are vastly different from their own. So the arguement that men shouldn't be OB/GYNs just because they don't have the parts isn't really sound logic. I've assisted with many surgeries on the cows' fourth stomach. I've never heard of a person having four stomachs.

There are other social issues here, but the 'not having the equipment' argument is weak.
post #55 of 85
I think the whole field of reproductive health care for women involves a lot of power politics. Traditionally, the system is paternalistic - in the sense that the doctor is seen as the keeper of knowledge and the woman the potentially flawed body (alternatively, some practioners clearly view women as definitely flawed, an accident waiting to happen so to speak.) There is also the dynamic of authority figures often seen in doctor-patient relationships. Do any literature search on "compliance" or "adherence" to see that the accepted dynamic is the doctor prescribes and the patient complies (or doesn't comply, which leads to all the literature on non-compliance!)
Added to that are gender role politics in many doctor-patient relationships. Are all male health care providers who take care of women misogynistic and sadistic? Nah, not anymore than all female care providers are nuturing and understanding.

Talking about individual providers, it's easy to see that there are good and bad types of every provider, male, female, midwife, OB, FP, whatever. The very best care I've ever had was from a male FP, the worst from a female OB. We can talk until we are blue in the face about our individual experiences and individual docs and everyone is going to have slightly different experiences with slightly different takes on the whole thing.
When we look at the system as a whole (talking about medicalized obstetrics and gynecology) it is hard to ignore the overall woman-as-broken theme and the power and gender politics that weave through medical care. The historically largely male, largely white OBs have made medicalized obstetrics overall pretty paternalistic, patriarchal, and overpowering. Women in this system are not generally seen as intelligent, sensible beings capable of rational thought. Because the system is like this, many (most?) individual providers are like this.

Are women inherently better birth attendants? It's hard for me to say from my experiences. Perhaps in a midwifery model they are, but in the medical model I trained and practiced in, women who go into medicine and OB in particular often deliberately repress any nurturing or understanding feelings to survive their training and professional life. Sometimes, I think female doctors go even farther the other way, feeling that if they were able to internalize the medical model, suppress their "female weaknesses" and survive in the paternalistic/patriarchal medical model, any woman who can not is weak, emotional, and stupid. Therefore, patients (and I use that word deliberately rather than one with more equality in it) are to be persuaded, controlled, or coerced into doing what the medical model deems normal and right, and any disagreements or conflict are seen as arising from the weaker patient's lack of knowledge or lack of strength.

In my own training, I saw women providers, who I thought before hand would feel more of a bond with their clients, be belittling, dismissive, controlling, and sometimes outright cruel. It was like women could not allow themselves to have any softer emotions like compassion or empathy for their clients because they needed to maintain their position of power.

My own original interest in any kind of medicine, and eventually women's health as my strongest love, came out of an interest in feminism and power. The power politics of doctor-patient relationships are something I try to always, always be conscious of and consciously try to discourage. If individual women truly held the power in reproductive healthcare relationships, perhaps there would be less men interested in the field.
post #56 of 85
Wow... just wow. I can't believe the arrogance that goes into a statement like 'Why would men want to get into OB/GYN anyway?'. Good grief! Obstetrics is uniquely rewarding--it's about new life. Some male med students probably find it fascinating. Some probably discover they have an unexpected talent for it. Some probably realise that they don't want to go into surgery/oncology/pediatrics after all, and that they prefer OB/GYN. Some probably hear horror stories of bad OB/GYN staff and want to remedy the situation by being good OB/GYN staff. Some probably make the decision based on work/life balance, because the money and hours allow them to spend time with family. Some probably do it because there's a shortage of OB/GYNs in the area and they're encouraged to fill the gap. There are a thousand reasons! Just like women who go into OB/GYN are motivated by a thousand reasons! You think all female OB/GYNs are motivated by identical feminist, woman-serving causes?

The 'parts they don't have' argument is equally ludicrous. As has been pointed out, vets take care of creatures with entirely different physiologies. Not to mention the WOMEN doctors who help cure patients with prostate or testicular cancer, or any of the diseases which specifically affect males (haemophilia, for instance). Gee... how dare they. They must be sickos. They must just love making men feel powerless by handling their delicate parts and forcing them to come in for checkups.

How about this: doctors do what they're good at. Isn't that a radical concept? If women are truly 'better' at OB/GYN, then it'll show--the field will be gradually and painlessly taken over by women, because the hospitals will always hire the best OB/GYNs. And if not, well, the patients will still get the cream of the crop--the people who can save their lives if necessary. If the pregnancy is normal and an OB/GYN is not required, the patients can choose a male or female midwife instead--again, based on ability or whatever criteria they desire.

ETA: I forgot to mention the marginalisation of the baby's father in this thread! My DH will be there with me for the birth, and yes, he will support me and help me. BUT, it is his baby too--and if in my pain or panic I make a stupid decision which will harm the baby, I EXPECT him to veto me. That's the responsible thing to do. I don't have some kind of magical powers just because I happen to be giving birth, nor sole right to our child.
post #57 of 85
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Wow... just wow. I can't believe the arrogance that goes into a statement like 'Why would men want to get into OB/GYN anyway?'. Good grief! Obstetrics is uniquely rewarding--it's about new life. Some male med students probably find it fascinating. Some probably discover they have an unexpected talent for it. Some probably realise that they don't want to go into surgery/oncology/pediatrics after all, and that they prefer OB/GYN. Some probably hear horror stories of bad OB/GYN staff and want to remedy the situation by being good OB/GYN staff. Some probably make the decision based on work/life balance, because the money and hours allow them to spend time with family. Some probably do it because there's a shortage of OB/GYNs in the area and they're encouraged to fill the gap. There are a thousand reasons! Just like women who go into OB/GYN are motivated by a thousand reasons! You think all female OB/GYNs are motivated by identical feminist, woman-serving causes?

The 'parts they don't have' argument is equally ludicrous. As has been pointed out, vets take care of creatures with entirely different physiologies. Not to mention the WOMEN doctors who help cure patients with prostate or testicular cancer, or any of the diseases which specifically affect males (haemophilia, for instance). Gee... how dare they. They must be sickos. They must just love making men feel powerless by handling their delicate parts and forcing them to come in for checkups.

How about this: doctors do what they're good at. Isn't that a radical concept? If women are truly 'better' at OB/GYN, then it'll show--the field will be gradually and painlessly taken over by women, because the hospitals will always hire the best OB/GYNs. And if not, well, the patients will still get the cream of the crop--the people who can save their lives if necessary. If the pregnancy is normal and an OB/GYN is not required, the patients can choose a male or female midwife instead--again, based on ability or whatever criteria they desire.

ETA: I forgot to mention the marginalisation of the baby's father in this thread! My DH will be there with me for the birth, and yes, he will support me and help me. BUT, it is his baby too--and if in my pain or panic I make a stupid decision which will harm the baby, I EXPECT him to veto me. That's the responsible thing to do. I don't have some kind of magical powers just because I happen to be giving birth, nor sole right to our child.
Amen to all of this!

And I'd like to add that I'm horrified by the statement (don't remember who made it) that most men want to control and subjugate women. The wrongness of that makes me feel ill. Men are human, just as women are. They have all sorts of thoughts and motivations, just as we do. There are plenty of women in the world who would love nothing more than to control and manipulate men (and children, and other women) just as there are men who would like to do the same. The majority, however, have no such dark desires. To paint a whole gender with that brush would be laughable if it weren't so repugnant.
post #58 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by GathererGirl View Post
Amen to all of this!

And I'd like to add that I'm horrified by the statement (don't remember who made it) that most men want to control and subjugate women. The wrongness of that makes me feel ill. Men are human, just as women are. They have all sorts of thoughts and motivations, just as we do. There are plenty of women in the world who would love nothing more than to control and manipulate men (and children, and other women) just as there are men who would like to do the same. The majority, however, have no such dark desires. To paint a whole gender with that brush would be laughable if it weren't so repugnant.
Whew! I was beginning to think I was going mad for being the only one to think this. :
post #59 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
ETA: I forgot to mention the marginalisation of the baby's father in this thread! My DH will be there with me for the birth, and yes, he will support me and help me. BUT, it is his baby too--and if in my pain or panic I make a stupid decision which will harm the baby, I EXPECT him to veto me. That's the responsible thing to do. I don't have some kind of magical powers just because I happen to be giving birth, nor sole right to our child.

Except that you do have "some kind of magical power because you happen to be giving birth". Your intuition and your knoweledge of your body and the intimate knowledge of your baby that you get from carrying it inside YOUR body for nine months. Father or not, nobody else has that.

Shelley
post #60 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by danotoyou2 View Post
This is such an interesting thread... I don't have time to add a lot, but wanted to comment on the male OBGYN vs. female OBGYN...

My mother, nearly 60 years old, has always preferred male gynecologists. The reason? She feels that women, when looking at her genitals, are comparing to their own and this makes her uncomfortable.
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You know, while I don't completely agree with your mom :, there is a part of this I agree with.

It's been my experience (mostly working with female obs; I've only ever been to one and not for childbirth) that female OB/GYNs don't compare their patients to themselves physically, but certainly in other aspects. If there is a female ob/gyn that worked until 38 weeks pregnant, she expects all her patients to do the same. If you find one that went out on bedrest at 24 weeks, then she is usually much more open to that idea for other women.

I worked with a female ob/gyn that wouldn't treat patients agressively for thrush with breastfeeding. She would swear up and down that it was "normal" for breastfeeding to feel like shards of glass for months. And, for her, it did. Cause she didn't get her thrush treated. : Other than that quirk, she was actually a competent doctor.

But, I just find that female ob/gyns that have had some sort of pregnancy/childbirth/female issues tend to really forecast their experiences onto their patients.

Not all, but a glaring number.
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