In case you needed a pick-me-up this week, The Bloggess sparked some spontaneous twitter sharing of everyone’s most embarrassing social interactions. Fair warning – you’re going to laugh until you cry.
You can read even more in her twitter feed.
All over the world, women, for a variety of reasons, experience much higher rates of pain than men…Yet, doctors discount women’s reports of pain and are more likely, when treating women, to discount women’s experiences of pain as emotional or psychological discomfort that they have to learn to live with.
- 57% report being told by a doctor, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”
- 51% report having doctor’s say, “You look good, so you must be feeling better.”
- 45% reported that they were told, “The pain is all in your head.”
My personal favorites? “You are too pretty to have so many problems,” and “You can’t be too sick because you have makeup on and you are not in your sweatpants.”
Lastly, medical research continues to fail to take sex-specific issues into account, mistakenly assuming that male, mostly white male, test subjects sufficiently represent all of humanity. This discriminatory skewing of research, in favor of male physiology, has considerable impact on women’s health, including pain and pain mitigation.
Last year, I had occasion to visit my doctor, who prescribed some medicine. When I asked him if any of the clinical trials for the medicine had included women, he admitted that he didn’t know, but assured me that it was the best solution available. So I looked it up. The trials showed that the medication worked for men, but actually had several high risks and contraindications for women. So I found a new doctor, one who didn’t dismiss my concerns with a paternalistic and sexist arrogance.
I’ve had some ridiculous experiences with doctors because of my gender, including completely outdated and false information about birth control, the implication that I don’t know enough to identify my pain, and having doctors completely ignore my choices because of my mental health issues.
There’s nothing quite like having a doctor tell you there’s nothing wrong with you when you’re incapacitated with pain, or blatantly make fun of your previous health care choices to your face.
And in our modern health care system, it’s basically impossible to figure out how a doctor will react to you and your illness or pain before you’re paying them money for their opinions about your health.
To me, that’s broken. At this point, I have a team of doctors that I trust and am able to communicate with, but it’s been 100% luck of the draw. HealthGrades doesn’t have survey questions for ‘is informed about the latest medical research’, ‘takes time to understand medical implications for diverse populations’, or ‘doesn’t make fun of patients’.
I have anxiety and depression. Some days I conquer the world and help the people around me, and others I’m lucky if I changed out of my robe or ate something more than an avocado.
I’m on meds. I’m in therapy. I read blogs. I read books. I take online quizzes. And focus on my happiness. I read about the latest ‘breakthroughs’. And I keep going around in circles.
I’ve recently found myself on an upward trajectory. So many things have changed lately that it’s hard to say what has caused it. But I thought I’d share some things that at the very least break through my fog on a daily basis.
- The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts – I haven’t finished it yet. I don’t even know what I was looking for when I found it. But it has jumpstarted a really healthy reframing of exercise and why to do it.
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety – I also haven’t finished this yet. And I know the idea of sitting through your anxiety is scary as hell when you’re well acquainted with panic attacks. The reading is easy. It doesn’t feel like work. And most importantly, it pulls me through that fog.
- Strong Inside / Out – An exercise website built by someone who has depression. She writes great articles about balancing mental health and the community is super supportive.
- Happify – I love the little game Uplift here. Not in a ‘play it forever’ way, but it’s… uplifting. They have lots of different ‘tracks’ that help you reflect on and learn about different things that might be holding you back from happiness.
- My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut – This one is just a healthy reminder that everyone’s a fuck up. I get real down on myself for not being the ‘perfect adult’. But Hannah Hart makes nachos out of saltines.
- Yes Please – Take this as a reminder to find something you enjoy. I will always have a sweet spot for outspoken funny women who hold all the cards. Where’s your sweet spot?
- Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book – There are some other mindfulness coloring books as well. I definitely recommend it. Color everything the wrong colors if you want. Or the right colors. Or draw your own pictures. It’s been a great way to break a panic cycle.
If you’re struggling, I hope something here helps you. Or, at the very least, that this post makes you feel less alone.
I provide Amazon links here because they’re easy. I actually read almost all of my books through my library’s ebook app. If you buy any of these books, I encourage you to purchase them through your local bookshop.
It hit me on a fairly ordinary Wednesday afternoon, when on a whim I decided to visit the Greek and Roman galleries of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art … that none of the forms showed the reality of female genitals.
Meanwhile, the male statues rock out with their cocks out; dicks are everywhere. Penises of all sizes surround me: curled and flaccid, pert and alert, balls dropped and shrunken. I wandered around, looking closely at all of the female nude statues and fragments. There are no vulvas, no protruding labia, anywhere. There’s no suggestion that vaginas existed.
These marbled statues represented a value – an idealized value – of male and female roles in society that codified a power dynamic and a social order that persists in so many ways today. It’s such a gesture that seems thoughtless until you see it repeated over and over; it becomes clear that it is intentional and deliberate, and the lasting effect, erases feminine humanity. Even the most enlightened of us still have to unlearn cultural definitions of our sex that cast our vaginas as profane, obscene, ugly.
I’m not even sure I have anything to add here. While we sometimes refer back to classical art when talking about shifting body ideals, I’ve never heard anyone point out that, while the statues have wider hips than we glorify now, they seem to have anatomically lost something through the artist’s eye.
I’m revamping the blog. I’m not sure how many of you are following me for the specific things I post, and how many of you landed here from my frequent posting in the forums, but I hope you’ll like the change.
The struggles of oppression will still come up. I still feel passionate about that. But I also need to see some happiness in the darkness. And seek the light in the disappointments.
I hope that I can balance the difficult with the art. :)
In case you need a head start, I’ve written up some suggested scripts for talking to your buddies:
Let’s all start reminding our friends not to be garbage people! If your friends are garbage people, tell them not to be. If they keep being garbage people, go ahead and stop being friends with them! I know, its scary. How do you make new friends? Will anyone else ever love you like those sexist racists did? Trust me. Your quality of existence will skyrocket when you leave the trash behind.
I’m all for diverse views. However, that doesn’t mean you have to accept all opinions as valid and equally worthy of your time, energy, and patience! Guess what? The “view” that women should stop complaining about equality and instead go make everyone sandwiches is NOT A VALID ARGUMENT and is NOT WORTHY of my or anyone’s attention.