Pelvic Exams and Porn (Trigger Warning)

The porn industry has sunk another level.  Gynecological procedures such as pelvic exams, bimanual exams, the use of speculums revealing close ups of opened vaginas, and other intimate procedures are being play-acted by naked female actors alongside male actors dressed as doctors. If you type the term “gyno porn” into your search bar you will find a wide assortment of examples in which intimate medical procedures are being used to sell porn.  Interestingly, many of the porn videos and images are strikingly similar to the educational gynecological videos and images.  In fact, the producers of some educational videos feel the need to specify that their videos are NOT PORN!! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL522CB692DE6A37C7

The difficulty in distinguishing between porn and “legitimate” pelvic exams does help to highlight the sexual nature of routine gynecological exams, although many doctors are continuing to ignore this aspect.  Pelvic exams have been, and continue to be, presented in a casual manner – even when performed by the opposite gender.   There are certainly those amongst us who at some point in our dealings with doctors might have felt we were being viewed as something other than a patient . . . and who have been harmed by this practice.  The list of doctors accused of sexual assault continues to grow.  Consider also the lack of information about the risks and benefits; the potential harms; the coercion; and the fact we were never told that we were “allowed” to say “no”.

Furthermore,  women who do say “no” to a pelvic exam are often met with an emotional reaction from doctors.  Is it possible that the sexual nature of pelvic exams is partially responsible for the emotional, angry response displayed by some doctors when women say “no” to the exam?   Doctors do not seem to react with  anger, coerce or bully patients in relation to other health choices.

It is 2013 and still many doctors are not offering informed consent to women for pap testing/pelvic exams/STD testing. Still no information, and still no choice. We still hear “need to”, “have to”, or “should”. Paps are often still being demanded in exchange for birth control pills. Women when they are pregnant or in need of other care still face coercion.  It is enough; it is 2013 and we now know we should have been offered informed consent all along.  There are some women who are not concerned about a rare cancer, but who are concerned about the lack of information and the absence of choice. The current use of intimate examinations to sell porn only serves to intensify the unethical and insensitive way in which pelvic exams have been presented to women.  It is time to end the bullying and coercion – it is time informed consent took its place.

Additional Reading:
Doctor concerned about lack of informed consent: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html
Sexual misconduct by doctors: http://www.sexualmisconductbydoctors.com/resources.aspx
Doctors practice unchecked: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-doctor-sex-charges-gallery,0,2850650.storygallery
What some male doctors do when women say “no”: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/10/17/what-some-male-doctors-do-when-women-say-no/
A male doctor’s point of view on pelvic exams: http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/

About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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43 Responses to Pelvic Exams and Porn (Trigger Warning)

  1. OverItAll says:

    Very true. I remember looking into all gyn crap before trying to get help for my periods and coming across multiple sites for gyn porn. And with spy tech, no one is safe. Ever.

    Another one is breastfeeding. When I was researching breastfeeding, i came across a few “boob porn” sites showing babies crawling up to their moms’ “leaky racks”. How anyone can turn something so natural into porn is beyond disgusting.

    Guess you really can make a fetish out of anything.

  2. cheryl ann borne says:

    FYI you also can search “medfet” or “medical fetish”

    ________________________________

    • Alex says:

      Why would this be something with a “trigger warning?” I get that it’s a severe subject, but wouldn’t that apply to all the other threads, as well?

      I do get the concept, though. The belief that there are no overlapping properties is untrue. A point is that if any of those people in those movies were forced into being there, it is desgnated an attack (just like forced prostitution as opposed to casual sex). Like I’ve said before: if someone snatched someone up to agressively play doctor, it’s an attack. The variation doesn’t matter, the properties of the situation are as such to constitute abuse.

      I think a lot of it has to do with the situation boiling down to: “Yeah, it’s a problem, but I like to make problems.” If a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder- so the concept of iatrogenic detriment is present. The situation is what it consists of & they certainly have enough of an awareness of the situation to figure out how to impose it on someone. They deduce how to counteract someone’s resistance & they definitely figure out ways to cover themselves, so they must know they’re doing something that constitutes a wrong-doing.

  3. Romina says:

    So true! Especially regarding the emotional reaction from doctors when a woman dares to say “no”.

    I have never seen or heard of a doctor getting so angry, pushy, emotional, or firing out so many scare phrases, or lecturing so much when a patient (especially a man) declined any sort of procedure, except when it comes to breasts or female genitals. Try to say “no” to a mammogram or a pap smear, an you get it all: scaremongering, lecturing, bullying, coercion, yelling, forcibly arranged appointments, red ink letters… you name it!

    Medicine is the only profession where porn is not only free, but actually pays big money to those who is watching.

  4. Kleigh says:

    I wonder how many woman and girls have been injered or torn by speculums. Some woman do have hymens and some are smaller. not only that but I read about a teen who had been cut internaly by a pap smear. she was rushed to the ER latter that day with bleeding and who ever took the pap smaple scraped way to much and tor into her skin. How in the world can they force woman to have paps and prevent informed concent. doctors say the screening is siple painless and not harmful.

  5. Mary says:

    I’ve got nothing to add except this from an old article on some Swedish sexual clinic refusing to let women choose the sex of their gynaecologist.

    “Why go against what’s natural for the patient?
    The fact that Swedish clinics felt the need to control the assignment of the ob/gyn to the patient indicates that there must have been an obvious preference for females to choose female ob/gyns over male ob/gyns. It was a natural inclination for women to select female doctors and I think it’s a horrible imposition, interference, and even a personal violation on the part of Swedish clinics to make a patient see a male doctor, exluding of course those women with past sexual trauma or religious concerns. Why go against what’s natural for the patient?

    Years ago when I worked in a medical library and had to check out a pelvic exam tape to a group of snickering, immature MALE medical students who made allusions to Debbie Does Dallas etc., I decided then and there that I would see only female gynos and I haven’t regretted it since. I’m not so ignorant to imply that all male ob/gyns are immature pervs but I must say it definitely made me think. Another thing that turned me sour about male ob/gyns is that I could feel a semi-erection pressing against my arm through the lab coat of an older male ob/gyn once when he was giving me a breast exam–and he was a seasoned professional!”

    http://www.salon.com/2007/01/29/sweden_6/

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      It was prompted because they felt a woman rejecting a male gyn amounted to discrimination, so I assume the male gyns complained about women expressing their preference for a female doctor. (or the female doctors were overworked while the males had little to do)
      It’s not discrimination, most countries have an exemption in place to cover this sort of situation, so someone looking for an attendant for a female changing room can advertise for a female. (it’s called common sense)

      The fact is whenever someone is caught doing something improper, it’s almost always a male doctor involving a female patient. Once it happens, it’s too late, the damage is done and often lasts a lifetime. We’re entitled to consider risk, how we feel, and make our own decisions.

      Some doctors WILL be highly professional, but IMO, a man does not stop being a man because he’s a doctor. I simply don’t believe a male doctor doesn’t notice or any of the other rubbish they throw at women, it’s insulting our intelligence.
      Males upset/scared/terrified/crossed boundaries and/or threatened me a few times when I was in my teens and 20s, I haven’t had that same experience with women. So that’s my experience, and obviously, that will shape my decisions when it comes to access to my body, who do I trust? It’s about me, not them, and they will not dismiss my life experiences.

      To paint a pelvic exam or pap test as just another exam, like examining the ear, is absurd. Dismissing our feelings and ridiculing us is just more of the same. There were no or few female doctors until fairly recently so women had no choice of doctor. Do you think women were treated well and respectfully during that time? I certainly don’t…
      Now we have a choice, some don’t like it, just as they refuse to accept we can decline cancer screening.

      I don’t have children and have never had a gyn problem, I don’t have pap tests, breast or pelvic exams so I haven’t had the same challenges as many other women.
      I was horrified when I heard what my Uni friends were enduring to get the Pill, I’m sure some/many male doctors thoroughly enjoyed demanding women have breast and pelvic exams etc. They had the power to refuse them the Pill, to bully and insult them etc. It didn’t take much to discover these exams were completely unnecessary and had nothing to do with the Pill…yet the practice continued for a long time and it still happens in the States and Canada.
      So what does that say about the medical profession?

      I can’t help but think the gentleman’s club that was the medical profession practiced medicine to suit themselves and touching and viewing young/attractive women (or ridiculing older/overweight/unattractive women) was considered natural and a perk of the job AND, they were safe to carry on in this way, they were doctors after all. (and looked out for each other)

      I know an overweight woman at University was given the Pill with a blood pressure test for years, no mention of pap tests or anything else, while most of my friends got the works, many were beyond distressed, but most told themselves they had to find a way to cope, these exams were necessary for their health and they wanted the Pill. (This was the SAME male doctor at the Student Health Centre)
      Why did the overweight woman get the Pill with a blood pressure test, the only clinical requirement for the Pill, while slim and very attractive women got the works?

      So speaking generally, I don’t believe men have served us well in the medical profession and sadly, some female doctors have followed their lead. I accept their are great male doctors out there and some women are happy to use them. It’s the attitudes and practices that foster and protect the medical abuse of women that has always horrified me.
      Most of these exams and tests are unnecessary and simply risk our health anyway…refusing them makes medicine easier to negotiate.

      It’s how I feel that matters…I would not allow a male to fit me for a bra, would not use a changing room with male attendants or use a male doctor if I needed a pelvic exam for symptoms, end of story. (in fact I choose female doctors for everything, even my dentist is female, my money, my choice) AND, I will never accept that makes me a prude, difficult or sexist, it’s perfectly natural. The profession has always ridiculed us when we exert control and demand some respect for our rights and body. That needs to change and it starts with every woman taking control. I will not deny my life experience that has shaped who I trust and how I feel, our feelings ARE valid, and those feelings have served me well over my life.

  6. Mary,

    I am sorry to hear about your bad experience with the older male ob/gyn. Many people falsely assume that older male OB/GYNs do not get aroused. it is very common for well-respected male gynecologists to be sexually aroused by seeing private parts of women. This is exactly why I wrote an article about why women should avoid a male doctor for intimate female health issues at http://patientmodesty.org/avoidmaledocs.aspx.

    It’s horrible when a medical facility makes a policy that patients have no choice in the gender of their medical provider.

    Misty

    • Mary says:

      Misty that wasn’t my experience. That was still part of the comment that I quoted. I never let a male doctor go anywhere near me until I was in my mid thirties. I never trusted them when I was young. I still don’t trust them but I usually go into the consultation in control these days.

  7. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    In the paper today – a male doctor loses his appeal and is de-registered for a year, what do they think will have changed in 12 months, surely someone who’d insist on an internal exam of a female patient complaining of facial spasms is not fit to practice medicine. How could any woman trust this man, how could the Medical Board trust this man?
    “In these circumstances it was both open and appropriate to the tribunal to find that ‘in the absence of a clinical purpose for the examination, the only available inference is that it was conducted for the sexual gratification of the practitioner’.”
    Interesting…consider this statement in light of all the doctors who tack on routine pelvic and breast exams and mandate pap smears for the Pill. None are clinically required for the Pill or anything else.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/doctor-deregistered-over-unnecessary–internal-exam-loses-appeal-20130829-2ssw1.html#ixzz2dRW162xT

  8. Yazzmyne says:

    I think gynecology is worse than ‘gyno porn’ and it is both rooted in the same evilness: the male desire to sexually dominate and humiliate women. The profession of gynecology is worse, because here the men who perform the exams are making women believe this is actually for their own good and DENY in every way possible that there is anything sexual about the nature of the pelvic exam. Which is a lie both for the patient as well as the examiner. The difference is that the patient will usually not enjoy the sexual nature of the exam as opposed to the examiner, which means it comes down to RAPE. That some of these gyno porn sites feel like stating ‘this is not porn’ also tells us that just like real life gyn exams, the denial of the blatant sexual nature of gynecological exams has the effect of sexually arousing the viewer even more. Because it’s well known that suppressing sexual feelings makes them only stronger. And this is exactly what happens in gynecology and why gyno porn is arousing to many and the denial is also a strong weapon to keep justifying the perverted exams as ‘medically necessary’ and ‘for your own good’.
    Those arguments are also triggering sexual arousal, because they are a non-direct way of denying the obvious rape like nature of the exam and even going as far to call it ‘good’. To call something good that feels bad and disempowering is already a form of humiliation in itself.

    Porn in general is mainly about sexually humiliating women and treating them as subhuman which is very much related to gynecology. It is the same business if you ask me, the only difference is that porn is a bit more honest in admitting the purpose of their acts- al though they won’t admit it is wrong and sexist- but they at least admit it’s about sex and money as opposed to gynecologists who will deny their business has anything to do with sexual arousal or profits. Yet in the porn business, actresses who participate and play the victim get to be paid, whereas the so called ‘decent’ regular woman who is not considered a prostitute or whore actually pays for her rape and ‘plays’ victim for real and also *believes* she is a real victim. Because how many women would still choose or consent to having pelvic exams if they knew the facts of how medically unnecessary and even downright dangerous these exams can be? That’s why I still call it rape if the body and the feelings of the person feel raped, even if they rationally consented to it (through deception).

    The meme I made about the male desire to sexually control women is also here applicable for both porn and gynecology (trigger warning): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=328049160637294&set=a.108612182580994.15350.108600349248844&type=1&theater

    • Yazzmyne says:

      BTW I should actually have put a trigger warning with the link I gave in my previous post, because it includes an upclose image of a woman’s vagina being pap smeared. I hope the moderator can still put a warning in the other thread where I posted this link as well, thanks!

      • Yazzmyne thank you, I’ve edited as you requested and added trigger warnings to precede the links to the picture. The picture together with the message speaks loud and clear – very effective.

    • Yazzmyne says:

      I’d like to add that when I wrote ‘And this is exactly what happens in gynecology and why gyno porn is arousing to many..’ I meant to say that this is not the only reason (the denial of the *sexual* nature of the pelvic exam)why gyno porn is sexually arousing but that the gynecological context in a porn scene gives it an extra stimulating sexual dimension because of the denial in real life gynecology that there is anything sexual about it, apart from the already explicit sexual images of naked women with spreaded legs.

    • Alex says:

      Deception “vitiates” consent (means it screws it up- impairs, counteracts, impedes, etc…). Overall, any interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack (it’s just an iatrogenic variation when done through medical methodologies). If someone had a camera in a bag or was taking pictures through someone’s window, that’d be an issue. If a guy was walking with his girlfriend & somebody smacked her on the ass, he’d smack his head off the concrete- it doesn’t have to be to the same level as what medical situations go to (doesn’t just have to be women, either- no one says “it’s two guys in a prison cell, so that’s fine” or “well, those Catholic priests were also male, so that’s not an issue”).

      I understand your stance on porn, but the thing is it’s 99% someone just wanting to see someone naked & all kinds of things shaking around (as for doctor porn, there’s a higher potential for it to be someone being a fan of the actual situation- but even then, the way it’shot gives a better view). I do understand that it’s focusing on anatomy in isolation & that can be a bit disres[ectful (because it blows off everything else, kind of an “omission is an argument” type of thing).

      Another major difference is that in a medical situation, there is both an imposition & impairing physical detriment. Malicious fruad is a huge point (they lie about risks, inaccuracies, and alternatives- as well as there being a massively low potential for there to be a problem to compensate for in the first place). There’s sometimes a view that doctor’s practice medicine (doing medical acts) at their own discretion. That they act at will, and somebody is attacking them for deflecting that in any way. This is not an attack, it’s the patient comporting their own medical situation. Doctors, obviously, don’t think that it’s your body, your rules. They feel it’s their decision what they do & can act as they please (anything else is unacceptable for them).

      • Yazzmyne says:

        “but the thing is it’s 99% someone just wanting to see someone naked & all kinds of things shaking around”

        I strongly disagree with that. If you can not see the humiliating treatment of the female in porn you must be blind or trying hard to not see it to justify your own porn use perhaps.
        Men we’ll even brag to one another who has the most extreme porn and the ‘best of it’ is apparently when the woman is treated as subhuman. All you ever see is women on their knees with semen on their face, sucking men’s dicks and being fucked in all their orifices. And there is definitely nothing neutral about gangbanging. You hardly ever see a woman being pleasured, but she pretends to like it of course. There is an obvious power imbalance. I don’t have a problem with the explicit nudity, it’s the power imbalance, the lack of respect for women in porn. There’s no denying that most porn is misogynistic and I see it all the time: men trying to defend their porn usage by denying the power imbalance and disrespect. Arguments such as ‘some women like it’, and ‘smart men can differentiate between fantasy and reality where they should not act upon it’ as if exposing yourself to such images doesn’t affect the subconscious mind and for the majority (those who ‘know’ how to not act upon it) will at the least stimulate more subtle forms of sexism.

        There’s something wrong with the desire to subjugate women sexually and call it ‘just sex’ as if it’s a neutral form of sex. It’s perhaps more wrong when you can’t even see the humiliation because you’ve learned to see it as ‘just sex’ like a gynecologist is trained to not acknowledge the (unnecessary) submissiveness they require from their patient but see it as ‘just medical’, and therefore ‘neutral’, so the problem isn’t them but with the woman if she disagrees with his arguments.
        I’d say that sex in itself is neutral, but in reality it’s always based on something else: either love/respect or less or no respect and the latter is what I see in porn and causes a power imbalance between the partners, usually in the advantage of the male. The tendency to dissect the body apart from the human inside of that body-especially when it is a woman- seems to be prevalent in both porn and gynecology (or allopathic medicine in general) and is problematic. Men need to learn to think wholistically and not ‘in parts’ which is an easy way for them to justify their inconsideration of the woman’s feelings living behind those parts they tend to visually dissect. It’s disconcerting when they try to minimize the effects of such a way of viewing which we can see in so many areas of life. They or society always finds a way to justify the objectification of women, be it in the name of medicine, porn, art, religion, biology, history or entertainment.

        What you claim to be ‘a bit disrespectful’- the focusing on anatomy in isolation- is therefore more than just that, but this way of deliberate ‘isolated viewing’ is a means to disregard what’s inside or behind the anatomy and that is very dangerous and leads to more than just a bit of disrespect. This mindset opens the door to the complete dehumanization of the woman whilst denying it happening. It fuels their aggression and sense of domination by having no regards for the woman’s feelings as such by justifying their viewpoint with the arguments that it is supposedly ‘neutral’ and therefore not a ‘big deal’. Men need for that matter to become aware of the error in that way of thinking/viewing and stop giving excuses for it, trying to convince women that their point of view justifies somehow the ignoring of a woman’s worth, value and her demand of a respectful treatment.

      • Alex says:

        You make good points. The “most extreme porn” is very creepy. It definitely seems to have the point of being oppositional (like it being left of normal or something that the woman wouldn’t typically do- so it’s “getting” her to do something in spite of herself as a victory). I was saying, at least with the more normal situations, it’s really not that deeply thought out. It really can stop at: “Well, she feels like doing this for a living & she is pretty hot.” Wasn’t trying to justify the industry, but the underlying psychology isn’t always that antagonistic to women. That kind of subtlety is generally something a woman is better at.

        I do think that “knowing how not to act on it” is a bad sign. If the guy gets heated up watching Taken, that’s pretty bad. That kind of drive isn’t there for everyone, though.

  9. Yazzmyne says:

    Ok I misread something. I thought you were saying that some of the porn producers were specifying that their footage was ‘not porn’, which they non-verbally already ‘say’ when pretending to do a real life gynecological exam on supposedly real life patients. Some of that porn is also taken from real life, from patients who never consented to being filmed in such a manner.

    But yes, the overlap is obvious and it is simply our nature to find these exams sexual, because that’s what they are! And denying it, one way or the other, doesn’t make it go away, no it only becomes stronger. I always compare it to the story of ‘the emperor who has no clothes on’. Anybody can see that the woman is being raped, yet just because the authorities say she’s not, and ‘its just medical’ (~the emperor is not naked but has new clothes on is believed because the authorities say so) everybody believes it. It would have to take a child to blurt it out and say ‘look, she’s being raped’ but no, there are actually families who expose their child to the potentially traumatizing footage of their hospital birth and forcing that child to watch their mother being raped like that, because who would believe a child anyway who inherently knows what it sees is wrong and therefore harmed, above a professional?

  10. OverItAll says:

    How do you “de-sexualize” something even they call “sexual health”. Are you dealing with genitals? Then it’s sexual. Are you penetrating/touching genitals? Then it’s sexual. If my partner was squeezing my nipples, I’d say he was “copping a field”. Fondling a breast ? I’d call that a breast massage if it were my partner. Finger in a vagina? That’s “finger fucking”. Item going in a vagina? What’s so different about it if it were a dildo or cucumber? Again, there’s no way to desexualize it, touching the genitals or penetrating genitals is all the same. I’d love to see countries, especially the US, follow evidence-based medicine, but the money’s too great.

    I don’t know if I brought this up before but: I referred a friend of a friend to my midwife. Unfortunately, it didn’t go through. She had to be “stitched up” due to incompetent cervix and csectioned at 35 weeks. Her dr did a cone biopsy (later it she found out her pap was totally normal!) And told her she could start trying for a baby just 3 months later. Needless to say, her intervention-free homebirth didn’t happen and she demanded a tubal ligation. She got it (yet I can’t even for medical reasons). She’s just turned 28. When will the mutilation end? How much longer until women wake up and take a stand??

  11. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    I think young women are targeted for STI testing because they “assume” young women are more active sexually and more likely to contract an STI. Personally, I don’t think the medical profession has the right to assume anything, give us the evidence, options and back off.
    Pap testing young women more than older women makes no sense at all, none at all.
    I can only assume it’s grooming women to accept lifelong “care” and “proper management” of their reproductive organs. (I heard an American doctor use the latter expression recently)

    After decades of testing we know those under 30 don’t benefit from pap testing and pelvic exams are next to useless in asymptomatic women. (and apparently of limited value in symptomatic women, especially if the woman is overweight) Also, pap tests can cost a young woman her life, the very rare cases that occur usually involve an adenocarcinoma and the pap test is bad at detecting this type of cervical cancer, these women often get a false negative result and that could cost them dearly. Women should be given sound advice and for young women it’s clear: no pap testing, just see a doctor if you develop persistent and unusual symptoms. Falsely reassuring young women with pap testing and over-treating huge numbers is not healthcare, it’s medical abuse or an unethical medical business model.

    The American practice of including all women from 21 is once again, the profession making assumptions, you must have seen some action by then. This is cupable when you consider the high risks associated with testing young women. Your cervix damaged before you’ve even started a sex life. (plus the emotional damage) You often read that women have been put off sex after these exams and treatments, how many young women have had their health and peace of mind destroyed by this testing?

    So when the evidence says high risk for no benefit when it comes to pap testing those under 30, the testing we see in Australia and the States must be about something else…not our health. Is it medical control and grooming, profits, a consequence of paternalistic and perhaps, perverse attitudes that exist in the profession?

    These women also, have the most to lose, many will end up with damage to the cervix and some might want to have children one day.
    It’s disgusting the cervix has been treated like a disposable item, it’s there for a reason and should be respected along with the rest of the female body.
    Older people are more likely to get cancer, but even then screening may not be the answer. Breast cancer is far more common, but I’ve rejected both breast exams and mammograms. If the evidence of benefit is dubious or non-existent and/or it expose me to risk, stay away. Most of us could benefit far more from a decent walk every day or a yoga class two or three times a week.

    The obsession with our breasts and genitals is bad medicine, here’s an idea: perhaps, we should concentrate on our overall health, after all most women die from heart disease. Near silence on that subject, but they’re frantic about a rare cancer. What does that tell you?

    • Alex says:

      It’s a cover. If they were really worried about STDs, then they’d offer blood & urine tests which actually have viability without the massive ramifications that are, at least, possible with their current style of doing things. They really shouldn’t have any concerns that the patient doesn’t have. The patient comes in, tells them what their problem is, then the doctor sets about fixing it in a manner suitable to the patient. The patient discontinues their actions at will. That’s it. If there are any futher attempts, then it turns into impasse.

      It doesn’t matter what kind of utility something has, anyway. Something of this nature being imposed on someone, even with complete accuracy & safety, is still an attack. I don’t know why some people see usefulness as necessesity- maybe habitual word usage? Medical quality is determined by patient satisfaction, not academic value.

      • OverItAll says:

        Alex: if it were for STI/STD testing the doctors would test BOTH males and females. Instead, they tell males NOT to test unless they have symptoms, but tell females they must test yearly because STD/STIs have no symptoms. Also, if it were all about STD/STIs, they’d urine the much more reliable urine tests instead of pap smears. But an abnormal pap (due to chlamydia for example) “requires” a biopsy. It’s all about money. You can make more cash off a woman’s body than male…

    • ADM (Canada) says:

      One of the issues is that women don’t know what the pap smear is testing for. Many think that it’s an all inclusive test for STI’s and HPV and uterine cancer and vaginal cancer and ovarian cancer and CC. I’ve had to educate a few people that the pap smear tests for cellular changes in the cervix that might turn into cancer. That is all. People are usually shocked that it doesn’t actually test for all those things. Such a sign that informed consent has never been provided for the pap smear.

  12. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    “You can make more cash off a woman’s body than male…”
    Exactly Overitall, and sadly, many women make it easy for them. Coercion leaves little choice, except to go without the Pill and healthcare, but it’s the training of women that will be harder to change, we’re constantly told throughout our lives that our bodies will kill us if we don’t hand them over to the medical world. So many women fear “things” will start if they don’t have the well-woman exam and screening tests.

    We have to be so careful, I was speaking to a woman today who declined mammograms, but her doctor has always done breast exams when she goes in every year or so for a check-up, blood pressure test and she has arthritis. She gave up pap tests many years ago after a traumatic biopsy. Now you can see why doctors fear moving away from annual or 2 yearly pap testing or well-woman exams, all of those consult fees down the drain. (plus the biopsies etc.)

    Anyway, the breast exams have led to three ultrasounds and biopsies in 5 years, (all normal) plus a lot of worry. She’s now decided to forget the breast exams; when I mentioned they haven’t been recommended for quite a few years, she was surprised, “so why does my doctor say, “now I’ll just check your breasts for lumps or changes” during my check-up”.

    Good question, a doctor doesn’t reach for asymptomatic testicles just “to be sure” or because they’re there in the consult room, so doctors will have to be trained by us to view reaching for our breasts as they would reaching for testicles. Neither is helpful or appropriate and should not be done. Women should react as a man would react if a doctor said, “now I’ll just check your testicles for lumps” when he was there for a flu shot or with a migraine. Yet women accept this sort of conduct, we may go in with a headache and come out having had a pelvic and breast exam and a pap test. (the works is more likely in Canada and the States, here it would probably be a pap test, although some of our doctors are still doing bimanual pelvic exams when they do a pap test, even though it’s not recommended)
    Our bodily privacy has never been valued, that needs to change. Stop, why do you want to do a breast exam? I can’t help but think a male dominated profession certainly helped get us to this position where lunging for our breasts and genitals is the norm, regardless of the reason for our visit.

  13. Ro says:

    I have a question for Elizabeth or anyone else who has done extensive research involving the numbers and statistics. A recent article came out saying that they found 12,000 cases of CC this past year. Wasn’t it less than that prior to the beginning of the screening program? Perhaps there are other factors increasing that number, but it just sounded like an awful lot of cases found as opposed to 7,000 which is what I read somewhere as the supposed number of cases per year prior to screening. I’m wondering if they aren’t lumping together actual cancer and cases of pre-cancer now?

    Also, I find myself at times worrying about these exams/screening still. I feel as though eventually I will have to give in for one reason or another because it seems as though all women do. I’m not even sure why I think that – there are women out there who go through life (and live a healthy life for that matter) without any of it. It’s just really terrifying to think that my entire life I will probably have to fight against the system and coercion. Furthermore, I may end up losing access to medical care or insurance as I get older. Even scarier, if there is some sort of emergency situation, even one unrelated to female organs, there’s always a chance it will be done without my consent. The whole thing is terrible and awful. I was reading through some of the other comments and apparently pelvic exams aren’t even that great for detecting problems in symptomatic women! Why in the world do they continue to say they’re effective then? Surely, more money could be made off of the use of more advanced technology such as ultrasounds. So I truly don’t believe that it’s just about money. I really hope that the US and other countries using similar programs start following the evidence-based program of the Netherlands, or at the very least, follow the UK’s guidelines.

    • Alex says:

      Ro- Not that you should have to worry about either of these things, but isn’t it a lot like worrying about not getting rapedor otherwise attacked in general? It’s an instituted risk, which changes things a bit- but it’s the same general theme (there’s just something unconventional added into the picture).

      The fact that (SOME) other women do things doesn’t make it that this’ll just happen. It works that way with prisons, too- the impression of inescapability has an effect like bars, themselves, have. Keep in mind: a situation has to be engaged in order to occur. This situation is a bit like steering into oncoming traffic- it just has a better current reputation. Also keep in mind that a lot of people can be tricked simulanteously- it doesn’t just have to be one individual instance. I mentioned “information cascades” before, and that might be part of it. If you have to look down on these women, do it- but don’t share their situation.

      I’d say to let their pressure fuel your refusal, if nothing else. It helps to picture the after effects, too (like picturing winning a fight where the odds are really bad). I’d also ask the question: Is it scarier to worry about fighting this situation your whole life, or to have this situation imposed on you your whole life (and whatever aftermath happens to be a ramification of this)?

      It seems you’re pretty religious, maybe praying would help? Another country to live in is another idea (not a decision to be made lightly, but it might be worth looking into). Don’t know much about how a woman would do that on her own (if that’s even the case for you), but keeping in touch with people frequently & not answering ads that seem too good to be true would be part of it. Sometimes you go from tourist to local (I believe there’s something called an “immigration consultant” that helps people get set up).

  14. Judy (US) says:

    Ro, I haven’t stepped into a doctor’s office in many years because of the pitfalls of supposed women’s “healthcare,” such as lack of informed consent, coercion, etc. and am always fearful of developing a symptom where I will need to seek healthcare, and will then get roped into the system of abuse. So you’re not alone in your feelings. It is empowering to be part of this community of intellient, well-informed like-minded women and I believe if that time ever comes where I have to deal with our oppressive health care system, I will be strenghtened by this community and hopefully, you would be also.

  15. Moo says:

    You have to wonder if some male doctors are also fitting the profile of a rapist.

    the characteristics of each of the four rapist profiles:

    1. Power-assertive rapist: Athletic, has a “macho” image of himself. More often than not, this is the type who commits date rapes. He typically meets his victim in a bar or nightclub. Instead of targeting a specific victim, he looks for an opportunity to get a woman alone with him, perhaps with an offer of a ride home or an invitation back to his place. Or he may con his victim into trusting him or letting him into her home, perhaps by posing as a policeman or repairman. Approximately 44 percent of rapes are committed by power-assertive rapists. He is physically aggressive, and will use the amount of force needed to control you — degrading or obscene language, [brandishing] a weapon, slapping or punching — but he does not intend to kill you.
    – well if he works in a clinic then he has plenty of opportunity to get women naked and rape them with a speculum and his fingers. The anger that is used to deny birth control or other medical treatments if you do not submit to a pap test/pelvic or breast exam is aggression.

    2. Anger-retaliatory rapist: He feels animosity towards women and wants to punish and degrade them. Often he is a substance abuser. He is impulsive and has an explosive temper. He looks for an opportunity to commit the rape rather than for a specific victim. He attacks spontaneously and brutalizes the woman into submission. Thirty percent of rapists fall into the anger-retaliation category. Sound like any doctor you know?

    3. Power-reassurance rapist: He lacks the self-confidence and interpersonal skills to develop relationships with women. He is passive and nonathletic. He lives or works near his victim, and “preselects” her by peeping or stalking. He typically breaks into her home in the early hours of the morning and awakens her. He uses minimal force and will threaten her with a weapon, but usually does not have one. He fantasizes that he is his victim’s lover so he may ask her to disrobe or to wear a negligee and he will kiss her and engage in foreplay. The power-reassurance type accounts for 21 percent of rapists. He is the least violent type of rapist, and does not intend to hurt or kill you, Among the different types of rapists, he is most likely to be dissuaded if you scream, cry, plead or fight.” In general it is more probable that you can discourage a rapist who uses this [power reassurance] approach. But you could instead be dealing with a power assertive rapist who is starting off with a softer approach. – This could be that doctor who seems very nice while the assistant is in the room. Once you feel you can trust them then they will sexually assault you. The inappropriate touching during an exam is part of it.

    4. Anger-excitation rapist: A sadist, who derives sexual gratification from inflicting pain. He is typically charming and intelligent. The crime is premeditated and rehearsed methodically in his mind before it is attempted. He will tie, gag and blindfold them and torture them over a period of days, even recording his crimes in a diary, taking photographs or videotaping them. Just five percent of rapists fit this description. Sounds like a gyn who does colposcopies. And they do take videos and photos of women’s vaginas.

    • Alex says:

      They ARE of that overall category, but I wouldn’t split hairs too thin. It’s like when people say “things like that are about power” when they could be about sadism, money revenge, mommy issues, or general arousal (I have no idea why some people don’t see that as a possibility- they’re attracted to someone & don’t find that an imposed situation is a turn-off). It was even mentioned that these doctors don’t try as hard to railroad the older or fatter women. The hotter chicks- they’d try to arrange all kinds of stuff. They’ll angle anyone into anything for money, too.

  16. Nerd Grrl says:

    I created a petition asking that the Pill be made available over the counter. Please sign if this is an important issue to you http://wh.gov/l2ZYA

    • Alex says:

      Having trouble signing-on, but you have my support. I mention things like this to men & women a like when I get the chance. It’s actually illegal for them to force a woman into an internal exam for birth control. Laws don;t mean much of anything to me, but it’s interesting to know that what’s illegal & what’s wrong is something that matches- for a change.

      Just as an idea, have you tried making a Youtube video on this? That might be helpful.

    • Alice says:

      Unfortunately, the White House put an obstacle: to sign a petition, one has to create an account and verify their email address. Which means risking it to potential spam and misuse (yes, governments do misuse personal information!). I bet many more people would have signed the petition if they haven’t been forced to register, verify, sign up and log in.

  17. Moo says:

    There is a real risk of hidden video cameras in exam rooms. One thing about willing participants in porn Acting or “educational” videos and innocent people being recorded unaware.

    How can any women feel safe?

    • Alex says:

      You really can’t, can you? Their “cultural traits” are not very safe toward women, anyway. As far as hidden cameras go, there was a case of a guy wearing a camera pen like a necklace. Guess which profession? And it does look like an innocent thing, too. “Maybe they’re just keeping the pen there so they don’t lose it & can get to it quick? Maybe it was a gift- it looks expensive.” It is pretty horrendous that they hide behind someone’s conscience & use that urge to not hurt someone that doesn’t have it coming as fuel (“you’re hurting your family by not getting these tests & you’re being mean to us by distrusting someone that just wants to help you”).

      As a side-note: It seems a common trait of sociopaths/psychos/evil people to pretend to be innocent. I guess it has to do with the dynamic of “perverting” things. A real good example: Remember that second Pirates movie, where Davy Jones has Will’s father whip him instead of the guy that tended to leave bone-deep wounds? He was tainting that act of mercy. That “twisting” mentality tends to run very heavily in that type of person, which these doctors obviously are.

      I was reading something about serial killers being attracted to medical professions because of a perceived control of life & death- maybe that’s something to consider, too? Especially since there’s that connection between women & life (men have their role, but…). Maybe that adds to the fixation on certain areas with women? Controlling birth (or holding sway over something connected to it somehow) as a means of imagined control over life?

  18. Rachael Bleymaier says:

    It isn’t just male doctors. My female doctor has been trying to scare and bully me into allowing all kinds of invasive exams and procedures and won’t take no for an answer or tell me why, but demands to know why I say no. She even lied to me about the risks. I’m about ready to give up on doctors, I’m so mad. This isn’t the first problematic doctor or situation! They do not respect me or my boundaries or choices or wishes at all, about anything.

    • Rachael, I agree it isn’t just male doctors – female doctors often follow the same script. I think part of the reason it can be so traumatic to say no to exams is because of how engrained it is to respect and listen to our doctors telling us what we ‘need’, and so it can feel traumatic to take a stand. Especially when their reaction to confidence and assertiveness in a female patient is often an angry and authoritarian stance. Good for you to take control and make your own decisions. I think each woman standing her ground and making her own choices is the best way to ensure doctors will begin to treat women with less paternalism and with more respect.

    • Alex says:

      Keep in mind that her not “certifying” your reasons doesn’t counteract them. They DO try to kick the chair out from under your reasoning a lot. They have a tendancy to try to intellectually negate people ( like saying: “what comes from me is an “A” & what comes from you is a “B,” at best- so I outmatch you”). Overall, medical quality is determined by patient satisfaction, not academic value. They’re not supposed to inflict detriment, anyway.

      I’ll tell you what I say all the time & I hope it helps: Any interface with a sexual area (in this case, a penetrative one) as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack. A medical variation changes nothing (it’s just called an “iatrogenic” attack at that point). If a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder- a situation is what it consists of. “It’s not like that, it’s a doctor”- it’s not like what? Reality? That’s an argument that’s pretty tough to counter (what happens is what occurs & saying otherwise is crazy).

      The same applies to the risks & inaccuracies with these tests (and the other procedures it leads to). Even if you were worried about something that’s massively rare to begin with, there are alternatives like blood tests & home testing things (that they don’t often tell you about). The properties of a situation don’t change by designation. This is a third-party orchestrated situation that consists of an interface with sexual areas that carries additional risks & inaccuracies. Try asking someone that argues with you & tries to present this as a non-antagonistic sitaution: “if someone were to snatch someone else up to aggressively “play doctor”- is that an attack?” It also doesn’t matter if it’s a woman doing it (if she were to run another woman over with her car, that’d still be an attack). Maybe it just adds an against-orientation aspect to it (nobody says “it’s two guys in a prison cell” or “those Catholic priests were also males”)) and there’s nothing to say that this other woman isn’t a lesbina or bi (or maybe she just likes causing people problems).

      Also, it’s malicious fraud for her to lie, as well. Deception “vitiates” consent (means it impairs, impedes, counteracts- whatever you prefer). It is also coercion (as well as illegal) for her to withhold birth control if you don’t get these exams, by-the-way. Anything of that nature could absolutely be argued in court as iatrogenic abuse (laws can be tricky, but the situation being elaborated in sharp relief would most likely nullify any wiggle-room or camoflauge). Bringing this up & maybe recording these things with a cell phone (or maybe one of those spy-gadget pens, watches, or whatever- which they DO use to record exams, by-the-way) might be useful as a tactic.

      I know this was kind of long & it gets longer the more arguments I hear, but I wanted to give you a decent amount of ammo to work at different angles, because a lot come up. When one approach fails, I’ve noticed that there’s always some other aspect of the situation that gets used as an argument. I wonder if someone will ever say “But their socks match” as an argument?

      • Moo says:

        Does anyone have a good way to know if there are hidden video cameras In a doctors office, the exam room to be specific? I suspect this is the case at a clinic that I use. This is run by a husband/wife team so making a complaint to the owner is pointless.

        I remember a flashing red light inside the wall near the ceiling. Also some wires that seemed to running into a cupboard in the reception area. If I return should I take photos with my cell phone. If I am sure then I am calling the police.

        I am wondering about two issues that the excuse will be the cameras are for theft only, but then how would a patient know if they were turned on or not. Also I have declined any exam there when I am unclothed. So will the police only do something if a patient was actually filmed while naked or partially naked and they can get the evidence? It makes me feel creepy anyway.

        Any advice?

      • Alex says:

        That’s a tough one. You might run into some legal snags if you take pictures of their office (privacy regulations- I know, I know). You’ve probably breached that patient-doctor trust, too. How could you (insert sarcastic crying tone here)? This is a bit of a long post & I don’t mean to discourage counteraction, but there are a few snags that one might hit.

        Serious Point: Look at that guy that got arrested & put in jail for three days because he fought back when those doctors violated him with a rectal exam. This was in New York, remember? He went into a hospital to get stiches on his head & they said that they wanted to give him a rectal exam (as a non-viable method of dtecting a spinal injury that there’s no reason to presume is present). When he refused, they said that they didn’t think he was mentally fit to make that decision & did it anyway. After he woke up from being knocked out (because they “sedated” him), he got locked up by the cops.

        I know I rant about things like this sometimes & I don’t know what everyone thinks of cops, but it IS worth mentioning since a lot of things cops do runs parallel (sometimes exactly parallel) with what doctors do & there’s interlocking spheres of influence. If a doctor goes on the attack, subtlely or overtly, the cop will potentially side with them (if nothing else, they might be of the mind that nothing the doctor does is an attack- regardless of the composition). Keep in mind that these are POSSIBLE scenarios:

        (1)You defend yourself, you might get arrested (and be afforded all the integrated security & hygience measures cops impose on people).

        (2)You file a complaint, take them to court & it gets decided that this whole thing didn’t happen- maybe you get locked up for perjury, filing false police reports (even though they weren’t false), slander, and whatever else gets thrown in.

        (3)The officers go after you for retaliating against something that they like very much. An opposite side to things that might have the same results is the possibility that they’ve been through the same thing & figure “Why shouldn’t you?”

        (4)The officers responding are incompetant & aren’t getting the story straight (this might be one of those things where the evidence gets mishandled in some way & you’re case falls apart). Attached to this is you correcting them when they get the story wrong gets treated as an attack & is responded to with aggression. Same with asking questions that they don’t know the answers to (“making them feel stupid”).

  19. Moo says:

    Of course I would not accuse this person of making obscene video to his face since he would have time to destroy evidence. Also gives the chance for him to take revenge or for violence. I might just contact police to ask about this. If a complaint is made then they have to investigate. Even if nothing turns up then it is on record for the next person who complains. I can imagine that dozens of women and even some children are being videoed. I can not live with that. Many might not notice.

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