Ladies, I’d like to know if I’m alone here in my experience with gynaecologists of the male variety.
When there’s not much choice over who you get (no choice) and appointments are so sparse (6 month minimum wait usually) you tend to take what you can get (begrudgingly). Unfortunately, my experience hasn’t been so positive and I’m left wondering what exactly it is gynaes do, and whether any of the male species have an interest above preaching about menstrual cycles as though we mere women cannot understand the concept and examining their female clientele.
When I first saw my gynaecologist, I was pleasantly surprised, and that doesn’t happen often. Not only did he give me time to speak, he seemed to listen to what I had to say and then even asked me how I felt about things and what was the one big worry I had. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I found a good egg! If only more doctors give you a chance to talk and a human touch to your appointment.
Fast forward a few months and I have realised my error. He came across as personable and considerate, and he did indeed listen to what I had to say. After the first appointment, however, he just decided he didn’t want to do anything about it. I was constantly bundled up with other ‘young ladies like you’ and the opinion he had formed of me was front and centre; he wasn’t interested in investigating my problems, only on making a judgement and palming me off because there was ‘nothing more’ he could do.
So, what is it a gynaecologist actually does, if you’re not pregnant, that is? He thought he’d explain how periods worked, as if speaking from a textbook because I’m just a woman so I obviously wouldn’t have a clue about these things, would I? His argument for why I was experiencing what I was didn’t hold up, but he didn’t care. As for my worry about fertility, well, kids probably won’t be in my future but he wasn’t too bothered about that. I guess I would only be a concern of his if I were seeing him because I was, or wanted in the immediate future to become, pregnant.
I’m wondering if this is a common issue among gynaecologists. The smarmy attitude, the inability to detach from preconceptions and judgements, the prejudice and grouping together ‘ladies like you’, and not understanding the myriad of issues women can face when they only seem schooled in their own areas of interest. It’s not a great picture of the specialists we have to help us with what are often incredibly personal and important issues.
I wonder what it is that these guys find attractive about the gynaecology role? Did they wake up one morning and decide they wanted to learn more about the menstrual cycle and talk about it on a daily basis? Did they want to explore the complexities and miraculous nature of women’s bodies and the ability to carry a new life within one? Or did they think they could never pass the exams to become a brain surgeon, so gynaecology would be the next best thing for getting on their high horses to look down on us poor women folk with our little problems? I feel cynical, but I’m disappointed and disheartened.
Perhaps men just can’t appreciate the nature of our experiences because of the obvious biological, biochemical and wholly physical differences? Will the gap ever be bridged enough for them to be able to excel in such a role? I think that yes, it is possible. A doctor specialising in cancer, who has never been touched by cancer or any kind of long term illness, can still listen; that doctor can still empathise, be patient, consider another point of view, take on board all of the symptoms, think outside of the box, and, ultimately, take responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their patient.
Surely there are some males in the profession worthy of some praise, or who can at least do this job with respect, integrity and an open mind..?