Tag Archives: patriarchal medicine

New Hub Post: “Female Lawmakers Use Satire Against Conservative War on Women”

25 Feb

Here is my new post on Radfem Hub. It’s about the responses of several female politicians to the recent slew of especially egregious anti-abortion bills, including Virginia’s trans-vaginal ultrasound bill that was in the headlines this week.

P.S. If you want to get really drunk, use “trans-vaginal” as your ‘drink’ word and watch an episode of The Rachel Maddow Show from this week. Now THAT is a partay!

[image via Maddow Blog]

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Video: MHP on Women, Church, and State

21 Feb

Melissa Harris-Perry’s new show on MSNBC premiered this weekend, and Sunday’s show had a particularly excellent conversation on the fallout from the Obama administration’s decision on contraceptive coverage and religious employers.

Included: Sen. Barbara Boxer’s grandson’s concise observation about the all-male panel on contraception, multiple anecdotes about shifting male-centric framing in girls’ lives, and several plain truths about male supremacy that you will basically never find on cable news shows or television generally.

Click the above image or here to watch the 18-minute clip.

New HUB Post: “In Reporting Pain, Men Are the Norm”

29 Jan

Here’s my new post on Radfem HUB about a new study on pain reporting and why it’s bunk.

And for more amusing “man in pain” stock photos, see here. Such great modeling skills.

Vaginismus, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Getting Punched in the Face

18 Dec

The following excerpts have been taken from Vaginismus.com. Here is the definition of vaginismus from the website: “vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to have intercourse.”

What follows has been altered slightly.

FAQ: How can I stay motivated and positive through treatment? I struggle with avoidance.

Fear, complacency, and avoidance

It is common for people to avoid issues that are difficult, painful, or have uncertain and potentially disheartening outcomes. This is especially true with not wanting to be punched in the face. The pervasive hopelessness that couples feel with not wanting their partner to punch them in the face is defeating and paralyzing. One of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting through your desire not to be smacked in the face is simply dealing with avoidance. Encouragement, love, patience, and communication can go a long way in helping to sustain relationships during trials, but there is simply no substitute for taking positive corrective action to make you feel comfortable with being punched in the face. Facing the problem directly, educating oneself and taking the positive necessary steps to overcome your fear experiencing pain when hit in the face are key to breaking the cycle of avoidance and defeat.

Here are some of the tips on staying motivated during treatment:

Remember the declarations. A woman needs to choose to not allow the pain or failures of the past to continue to impair the successes of the future. It takes time to retrain a person’s body to overcome the fear of being punched in the face. Be positive and embrace a different future potential.

Be determined. Significant life achievements require patient determination. Be determined to overcome your fears and all other stumbling blocks to resolve not wanting to be punched in the face and find freedom. You can do it!

FAQ: How does vaginismus affect husbands or partners of women with vaginismus?

It is important for male partners to understand that experiencing pain is not something the woman intentionally caused to avoid being punched in the face. The fear that causes her to back away from your fist is an unconscious reaction which is involuntary and happens without control or intention.

Even though a woman may very much want to be punched in the face, there is a ‘disconnect’ between her mind and body which triggers fear of being punched in the face.

“Samantha” shares her story:

“I feel like a failure. Why can’t I be punched in the face? The worst part is how it has affected my relationship with Dave, my husband of over four years. I have never been able to let him hit me and yet I so desire to be close in that way and to return that feeling of pain. The fear of being punched in the face as a child so many years ago keeps surfacing. Could this be the problem? I have unhealthy thoughts about myself and feel trapped.

One of the symptoms:

Avoidance of being punched in the face due to pain

When a woman states that she avoids being hit in the face by her husband because being punched does not feel good or has become very painful, a fear of being punched should be strongly considered.

*

Related reading:

I Blame the Patriarchy: “Thursday Vagina Blogging”

RadFem Hub: “Brad Pitt to Secure Permanent Access to Angelina Jolie’s Vagina?”

New Hub Post: “Bachmann, HPV Vaccines, & Female Credibility”

16 Sep

Just like the title says! It took me literally all night to write because of the massive linkage and research needed. Reward my bizarre sleep patterns and check it out!

Get ‘Em When They’re Young

29 Aug

[Trigger warning for medical coercion and abuse.]

Headline: “Doctors now recommend teens, age 13-15, visit a gynecologist”.

While gynecologists have always seen teenagers with menstrual problems, there’s a new emphasis on building that early relationship. [. . .]

“People are leery. They think it will require an exam,” [. . .] “It’s really just to establish a relationship where they get to know us. It’s a non-threatening environment.”

This move to reel in younger teen girls to the gynecologist’s office isn’t entirely evil. Road to hell, good intentions, etc. However, this all just works to further normalize the constant medical surveillance of female bodies. It’s bad enough as is, but with earlier – and therefore more frequent – visits, girls hardly have the chance to realize that it is not, in fact, necessary to have doctors regularly inspect your genitals or reproductive organs. Rather, even younger girls will now be instructed to worry about the ticking time bomb that is (supposedly) their bodies. It’s never to early to learn that females are faulty versions of males, right?

As noted in the article, “At the first visit, patients receive a pamphlet explaining what to expect.” Before ever getting a gynecological exam (years before, actually), I panicked regularly about the impending visit. I researched what to expect online and forced myself to think of it as totally normal. I cried reading about women’s accounts of their doctor’s visits (even if it was “normal”/not traumatizing). I cried more when I finally found another young woman on a forum saying that she’s terrified and doesn’t want to go through with it. Responding to her, I wrote how I felt the same way and said how I couldn’t even think of the exam without imaging kicking the doctor across the room. (The reason I was considering getting a gynecological exam at age 15 was because I wanted to go on birth control. The 21 year old man I had been chatting with online said he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get pregnant if we decided to take our “relationship” offline. Nothing ended up happening, thank goodness.) It took me several years before realizing my aversion to these exams wasn’t because I was being “sensitive”; it seemed fucked up because it is fucked up.

Perhaps, at least, these early visits could be used to screen for sexual abuse? This is not on the list of reasons for the visits. These are, though:

“Personal safety, binge drinking and date rape.” Just what every teen girl needs. . . a lecture about how not to be raped!

“Birth control. Most teens using it do so to regulate their periods.” *Het-hem*

“The benefits and safety of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.” Ah, of course.

Merck, the maker of Gardasil, no doubt wants plenty of fresh guinea pigs to sign up for the vaccine. They also are testing the vaccine on girls in India against the competitor’s Cervarix. Why India? It costs less (though, as the linked article describes, it is clearly costing these girls their lives in many, many cases). Here is a very comprehensive article regarding the testing as well as the many risks associated with Gardasil.

These “early visits” are grooming for a life time of interventionist, unnecessary health “screenings” and “check ups”. The HPV-vaccine-pushers will also assure girls that the shots are necessary, because it is presumed that you will be engaging in proper hetero sex (PIV). Lesbian? Asexual? Just don’t want a painis in yourgina? Who cares! Shots for all!

Gynecology never ceases to amaze me in its ability to be the full-package when it comes to patriarchal bullshit.

Related:

CherryBlossomLife on RadFemHub: “Polish Government proposal: Submit to compulsory gynecological examinations, or be fired “ [warning for gynecological illustrations and descriptions of related horrors]

A film called “One More Girl” is in production right now, set to be released in 2012. The documentary will reveal the numerous adverse effects that girls and women have suffered from getting Garasil.

New Hub Post: “Side Effects of Patriarchy May Include PIV”

22 Aug

New post at the Rad Fem Hub on male contraception and the crap that women go through to have baby-free PIV.

Let this also be another occasion to share Sarah Haskins and “Target Women” with the world.

Awareness… Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

22 Jun

There is a new “cancer awareness” campaign targeting women’s pubic hair. Cancer of the pubes? Nope. Your cervix! You know, cuz lady bits are all just one big amalgamation to be pornified.

This is not, of course, the first time women’s body parts have been turned into objects under the guise of ‘awareness’. There has been the ubiquitous pink merchandise that declares “I ❤ boobies”, for example. (Fun side story. . . before I knew these bracelets and so forth were for “breast cancer awareness” I legitimately thought it was some overtly misogynistic crap designed to sexually harass women. Why? Because I only saw men with the bracelets and stickers, and particularly dudebro-y men at that.)

There’s campaigns to “save the boobies” and “save the ta-tas”, emphasizing the preservation of fatty masses over the life of an actual female human being.

There are “dance for the cure” parties for women. And the dancing? Around a pole, natch.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation had an ad showing a woman with a shirt that reads, “Punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it, and pummel it until its good and dead.” Hahaha! You thought we were talking about murdering a woman! Funny jokes!

There was Boobie-thon, which urges women to send in photos of their breasts, covered or uncovered.

I think you get the idea. This newest sexy-cancer campaign is supposedly mirrored after Movember in which males grow out mustaches or other facial hair to bring awareness to general “men’s health issues”, including male-specific cancers. Creating a similarly awkward portmanteau of ‘vagina’ and ‘July’, this newest cervical cancer awareness-raiser is called Julyna. (I’m strangely reminded of that episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry can’t remember the name of a woman and only knows that it rhymes with a female body part.)

And so, Julyna kicks off with not only a hilarious name, but an inaccurate one. Vaginas and cervixes: not the same thing, actually! The campaign further removes itself from the actual subject with its promotion of sculpting pubic hair, something the founders chose to create ‘media buzz’. It seems if you’re not showing pictures of breasts or shaving your pubes, no one much cares about ‘awareness’.

The parallels with Movember pretty much end with its involvement of hair in some way. Other than that, it is actually a reversal. Men keep their facial hair, women remove their pubes. As the last linked article says, the website for Julyna “has sample design ideas and suggestions on how to execute shapes with the least amount of discomfort.” There will be discomfort (ingrown hairs, itchies, etc) but just not as much as there could be. Got it.

Not only is the campaign Not Helpful in the way that it promotes sexualization of female bodies for some bullshit ‘awareness’, but the awareness it is raising is over something rather dubious. Cervical cancer is believed to be caused by HPV, a virus which is transmitted to the cervix almost solely through penis-in-vagina contact. While I don’t expect a soon-to-be-popular movement to include a critique of PIV, that should be a part of any campaign that is truly trying to reduce the cases of cervical cancer.

As with any mainstream awareness movement dealing with cervical cancer, Julyna hypes the importance of very frequent Pap tests. As I have written about before, cervical cancer screening (particularly in the U.S.) is used far too often, is unreliable, and is part of a broader system of medical surveillance of female bodies as a means of control. The constant urging of women to ‘test early and test often’ serves to make women afraid of their own bodies and shame women as irrational and immature for deciding against the test. With the sexy-cancer angle, the concurrent pressure to get Pap tests is similarly unacceptable and harmful to women.

Now, in an attempt to balance the scales, I have a proposal. I ask everyone to join me in supporting my new personal cancer awareness-raising cause: testicular cancer. To increase knowledge about it, I ask that all men bleach their assholes. It’ll be a great attention-getter!

(Thanks to Jilla for bringing this campaign to my attention.)

 

Documentary: “The Perfect Vagina”

31 Mar

[Trigger warning for body hatred miscellany. Warning for some graphic images of surgery.]

No, it’s not a perfect, radical-feminist-y film. And, yes, it should be ‘vulva’ instead of ‘vagina’. It’s still worth a watch if your emotional fortitude allows.

Militarized Health Ads

13 Mar

Here are television ads for two products which appeared over the last couple years. I haven’t seen any other blog link these two ads, so here they are.

All of the ads feature a woman as consumer/patient/war-zone, with the product portrayed as a military force coming to “solve” the “problem” the woman has. I could get into the various layers of media analysis here, but this isn’t 101 and this isn’t Sociological Images. I just wanted to share these since they all have such a bizarre confluence of military overtones while also treating female bodies as deficient. What a twofer!

[Note: overt phallic imagery, anyone?]

Omnaris nasal spray (1)

Omnaris nasal spray (2)

[Note: The next ads might be a bit triggery regarding disordered eating.]

Ensure “nutrition” drink (1)

Ensure “nutrition” drink (2)