Friday, August 24, 2012

An inappropriate question

Is it just me or has the entire world gone ape mad about women's sexual, reproductive and well.. basically human rights? Maybe I've become more sensitized to it but to be honest it's really not that difficult to see. From the Lebanese government's insulting reasoning of their rejection of women quota, despite their being a million other more dignified arguments against it, to Jordan's Minister of Education theory about females outperforming males in national exams. There is also that Neanderthal statement cited by al-Nahda's Ghanoushi that “a woman’s unique features revolve around her sexual functions”, while for a man it is secondary. The argument was used to propose changes to Tunisia's progressive constitution so that the woman's role in the family "complement" that of the man, instead of having equal rights unconditionally.

Of course we shouldn't forget the equally ridiculous arguments made in the US, mainly by middle-aged/old male Republicans, and culminating in the pure ignorance of Todd Akin's: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

We are bombarded with insults like that every day, continuously. Some of them may be out of ignorance, but there is a desire for control at the root of it all. There is an insecurity and fear of change, intricately intwined with the complicated sexual and reproductive process, which is why in many cases women are accomplices. And so, from now on, every time I am offended as a woman, you will hear from me. And I start with a personal experience, at the emergency room.

So every time I am admitted into the ER, the first question I am asked by the attending doctor is: "Are you married?" Although I always found it weird, I never thought much of it until one time, and after replying "yes", the doctor said: "Any chance you could be pregnant?" The reason she asked was because she was prescribing me an X-ray and a medication, both of which would clearly be harmful for a fetus. So if the question was only meant to safeguard the fetus, why not just ask if I could be pregnant? (euphemism for "Are you sexually active?") What if someone could be pregnant but she's not married. She will say no to the first question and that's it. No follow up question. Worse, if she did realize that an X-ray can't be good for a fetus, what is she supposed to do? Confess that it is possible that she is pregnant and bear the judgement of the entire hospital?

A doctor's job is to protect life and maintain health, not to make moral judgements. We leave that task to society's hypocritical do-nothings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great one Lama, I personally agree with your point of you, it is not only with Doctors though, our society is obsessed with this disease called ''Judging'' and it is not only on this matter of sexuality or what so ever, it can also evolve around the way we dress as women, the way we talk, who we talk to..etc we are monitored through our daily lives by nearly everybody, it is crazy, we need to speak up!
Thank you for sharing this, great perspectives..