Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are Women Ready to Sexually "Come Out" Of The Medical Cultural Closet?


Women seek equality, gender equity, and/or equal societal standards. Whatever terms we use, it is certain that we want to be seen for our unique strength and accountable for our weakness. This is the attitude that makes us girls of perserverance and later women of character. But how much truth is involved in equity? Are we willing to set aside cultural norms to achieve raw honesty? Are we willing to be seen as the gender who uses the truth when it is handy only to discard it when it's not?
There are those who seem to see women that way. We say we want all things equal, until equality becomes tough. We want the big jobs as long as they are not too messy. And with the topic at hand, we love the options that allow medical modesty to be easier for us, but are a big part of why it is so difficult for men. Afterall, 94% of nurses are women, and many do not support men's modesty issues or consider it a strong healthcare issue.
Are these people correct? Is this who we are? Or maybe...
Female nurses have always taken care of men, so why the "big deal now" with modesty and embarrassment? We are not a sexual threat. Nudity means very little to us. No need to feel humiliated in front of us.....right? Why does it even matter?
So we ask ourselves why. Why are we the exception? Why are women often considered the sexually benign one in the room? And more importantly, why is this alright with us?
The medical arena often tells us that men are visually stimulated (women not so much) and they must therefore exercise some control over intimate situations involving the opposite gender. We see this attitude often when explaining why females can be used for either gender in intimate situations, and chaparones should be used for female patients involving male care. However, recent studies on female sexuality are finding women to be as visually stimulated as men involving the nude form with physical arousal times virtually the same.
Perhaps it is time for society to reconsider female sexuality and stop the outdated stereotypes that women are physically maternal and only emotionally sexually stimulated. Stop the notion that women only find nude men attractive if they are dipped in chocolate and carrying gifts of strappy shoes. We are sexual. We are neither the neutral or invisible gender in the room, and we will give the same respect to everyone that we deserve ourselves. We are not so different after all.
Men might have a better chance at modesty issues if society were honest about both genders.
Are we ready to be that honest? Or did the big job suddenly become too messy....

20 Comments:

At October 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have followed this thread off and on for some time now. Although justified, for so long this thread seemed nothing more than an avenue for venting. I must say I am encouraged by more women, and even those in the field, getting involved and that something worthwhile seems to finally be developing in a positive direction. I applaud the efforts of those such as SWF and others for seroiusly trying to get this issue to the public and not just complain about it anymore. I'm also impressed by her compassion and understanding of the male point of veiw and the right's we all should have in chosing our health care providers (see her previous post). She seems to be focused on the core issues and has the will be do something about it. We all need to get behind her and others on this thread to finally start to change the status quo. The Medical field must be made aware of the need for equality for everyone and respect for our rights as human beings. Keep up the fight SWF!

 
At November 2, 2010 at 2:34 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

Thanx for the kind words ANON.
I would suggest DR.s Sherman and Bernstein's blogs to find some real work!

http://bioethicsdiscussion.blogspot.com/2010/07/patient-modesty-volume-35.html#commentsttp://

patientprivacyreview.blogspot.com

There is no doubt we have some work to do for our concerns to become viable in the medical arena. Did you agree we need women to reconsider how society sees the double gender standards?

 
At November 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the double standard idea. but not the point of how people need to see women differnly. We had a sexual revolution years ago. what has that got to do with nurses and doctors, a non sexual encounter?
If nurses are ever seen that way than we will not be able to do our job anymore. what will men do when there aren't any males to repalace us. Suffer? People should feel lucky so many women are willing to do a sometimes disgusting job and stop complaing or worrying about sex!

proudmary

 
At November 4, 2010 at 2:09 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

proudmary:

I am not looking for a revolution. I simply think society (people) needs to choose how they see women. It is handy to say we are harmless when it needs us to be, and sexual when it wants us to be.
In the meantime, if it suits our needs we play the game, and I find it pathetically devious, and demeaning to both genders.
Just be honest.
If a man does not mind that a woman is performing intimate care on him, then that is his choice. If he does mind, then don't try to bully, con, convince him otherwise. That is his choice also.
But do not pretend you are anything less than a gendered woman. It demeans us all.

 
At November 11, 2010 at 9:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is true that women can get aroused by seeing private parts of a man. There are many women who are uncomfortable with their husbands' private parts being examined by a female doctor/nurse. There are not enough male nurses in some hospitals for male patients who are modest. I personally would never want my future husband to have any intimate procedures done by female doctors or nurses.

 
At November 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

ANON 11/11
I hope your future partner will/does feel the same. I assume it has been discussed?
So many times the issue does not come up, and when it finally does it may be too late. Then one partner may feel betrayal while the other never considered the marital repercussions.
I just hope EVERYONE has honest dialog about these issues.

 
At December 16, 2010 at 9:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is much evidence on the web as well as with state
nursing boards regarding female nurses,cna's and even
female physicians sexually assualting male patients and
behaving unprofessionally.

 
At December 17, 2010 at 12:50 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

Yes, ANON 12/16, there certainly is. Male or Female, we should all be disturbed about such medical abuses. Then we should decide how much strength we need to expose it and make changes that will not let this continue on unnoticed....and unaccounted for.
We've made some strides, but not enough.

 
At February 23, 2011 at 1:22 PM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

And so here we go again. My article was not an attack on female healthcare workers. Perhaps those e-mailing have gotten the wrong impression. Mine was simply a plea for more honesty in the healthcare system, as patients/clients/customers are getting mixed messages on modesty attitudes of male vs female caregivers.
We can no longer find it acceptable to assume male caregivers are any less or any more than female. Let's settle issues of disclosure as adults of both genders!

 
At November 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM , Anonymous peter said...

It's about trust, empathy and nature.

If you're not well, the last thing you want is someone who's bossy or indifferent that sees you as an object rather than a person.

I had a really cold natured nurse wake me up one morning to give me a cannula. She got the job done efficiently, but was hurried and gave me a mean look like she resented me, I didn't cause trouble or give any resistance, since I figured this wouldn't have slowed her down in any way. I was glad not to have to see her again.

Having a more intimate procedure from this nurse would have been horrifying.

Other nurses had a much warmer caring nature, while I was nervous about getting naked, if required, they we're good at moving the conversation onto something else, so I forgot about my anxiety.

So the treatment you receive and how you feel about it after, depends on the carer.

One would cover me up with a towel to minimise any exposure while politely going about her business.

Another, was very bubbly and chatted quietly, it was like she hadn't even noticed I was butt naked, so I pretty soon stopped worrying about it and became engaged in conversation instead.

Yes I've avoided medical care mostly, never had a prostate exam and not ready to either, (why can't they just use something non invasive and more accurate, like an MRI?) but think I have less anxiety now about hospital care.

 
At January 16, 2012 at 7:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're the SWF from Dr Bernstein's blog I have admired your posts for a long time now. Thanks, and keep it up.

It's a shame people like proudmary have to put a negative twist onto such a positive topic.

 
At January 24, 2012 at 4:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

SWF- I wonder if proud mary will be as concerned about females as more males begin careers in health care and her gender will not always be accommodated with female nurse or aide. She may not but overall I feel certain the ladies will gravitate to same respect for male care givers as most men do towards the females and realize "sex" is not in the equation... I guess at the level of doctors most folks are not too concerned about the gender...

 
At January 26, 2012 at 5:36 AM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

Anon: Thanx for the kind words! Yes...swf and I are the same..

 
At January 26, 2012 at 5:47 AM , Blogger Suzy Furno-Maricle said...

Anon Jan 24:

That is a good point. I have had e-mails from women concerned about how difficult privacy could be for them with more male nurses, and asking me to "let it go".
It also appears 'proudmary' is part of the medical culture. (?) These discussions are always a threat to female nursing staff. More male nurses mean less female nurses. I imagine from their point of view we are threatening their jobs. But in reality, hiring more male nurses does not mean letting the others go, it means being culturally sensitive and aware when replacing them.
What's your opinion on that?

 
At December 9, 2012 at 5:05 AM , Anonymous Modesty said...

@proudmary:
"People should feel lucky so many women are willing to do a sometimes disgusting job and stop complaing or worrying about sex!"

@peter
I had a really cold natured nurse wake me up one morning to give me a cannula. She got the job done efficiently, but was hurried and gave me a mean look like she resented me...

I found reading these two comments together to be very illuminating. As you say, Suzy, 'proudmary' appears to be squarely part of the medical culture. Interesting idea of yours, too, to account for the perennial hostility from female nursing staff to pleas for same-gender intimate nursing for men. You might be onto something there!

And I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of your article. It is a Victorian fiction that women are not sexually interested in the male form. A normal woman cannot look at a series of naked men with the same impassivity and disinterest as she would a row of cars in a traffic queue --- regardless of any medical training, qualifications, or years of doing the same. It doesn't mean she's immoral or unprofessional: it simply means she has a pulse! (Indeed, what a sorry world it would be if a woman's heart didn't flutter somewhat on seeing her man au naturel.)

It is widely acknowledged that gynaecology is apt to be an extremely appealing profession to a male voyeur (and indeed every so often, scandals hit the headlines to confirm one's worst suspicions). However, to make the same observation about the attractions of nursing for female voyeurs is to call down the combined volcanic wrath of the female nursing profession upon one's head. Why should female nurses' motives remain always beyond scrutiny? Again, I think the answer lies in the unsayable truth which you state so boldly above. Good for you, Suzy!

 
At December 9, 2012 at 6:29 AM , Anonymous Modesty said...

It's also worth noting that there are serious qualitative differences between male and female nudity. It sounds obvious to say it, but note the following:

1) a woman's genitalia are almost entirely internal;
2) their opening is concealed between her legs;
3) her pubic hair obscures what little remains visible.

God provided man with no such luxury!

1) His genitalia are external;
2) they are positioned prominently on the front of his body;
3) his pubic hair serves really only to frame his genitalia (though making them appear slightly smaller than they in fact are).

Accordingly, the most casual of glances at a naked man is all that is needed to take in everything that he has. To acquire a comparable overview of a woman's genitalia, she would have to be lying naked in a stirrup-type position, with some sort of internal inspection in progress. Any sane woman (even one who is fine with topless sunbathing, or public breast-feeding) would be absolutely horrified to be subjected to the casual glance of a passing a male stranger whilst in such a position, and would be scarcely more reassured even if the latter were to tell her he was a nurse.

Hence, owing to their respective designs, despite lacking the breasts of the female body the male body is actually far more vulnerable to explicit voyeurism (i.e. the viewing of the genitalia which, in censorship terms would qualify a film as pornographic rather than merely erotic). This is a fact which is consistently overlooked when discussing male modesty, and something which sadly is lost on the vast majority of women. ...And this is to say nothing of the particular (and mortifyingly visible) problem of unwanted male sexual arousal.

To compound the problem further, we live in an age wherein it has become acceptable to sexually humiliate men --- switch on a "comedy" show and you'll find all sorts of jokes about penile inadequacy and so forth (though --- mercifully --- few jokes which sexually humiliate women). Men are supposed simply to "take it", and those who dare to object are jeered at all the more for being "weak". It is a testimony to how callous our culture has become.

The sexual objectification of women was rightly decried as wicked by feminists in the Sixties. But those same feminists have since helped to make the sexual objectification of men perfectly socially acceptable --- they raise no great cry of outrage against it, and generally try to protect the status quo. Indeed, it has come to be held as a mark of women's emancipation to treat men so. Hence these days, it is accepted that a man who views and treats women as sex-objects can be called a 'creep' (and rightly so) --- but apply the same kind of censure to a woman who behaves likewise and you will be called a traitor to your gender (if you are a woman) or a downright misogynist (if you are a man).

The result of all this is that today, women hold in their hands great power to humiliate men in the most destructive ways (indeed, sustained humiliation of this sort in relationships has brought many men to emotional and mental collapse, which too frequently ends in their either killing their partner or, more likely, killing themselves). That point can't be emphasised too much: women have immense power to sexually humiliate men.

It is now up to women how to proceed in light of this. Women can either rub their hands with glee and use this power as an opportunity to make hay and mischief, to settle old scores, real or imagined, to patronise men, or to escalate the futile battle of the sexes. ...Or women can wield this power compassionately and treat men as they themselves desire to be treated. Human nature being what it is, I have a fear that it will be the former --- but I hope that I am wrong.

My apologies for the long post --- I'm afraid it sort-of turned into an article somewhere along the way!

Best wishes with your work, Suzy.

 
At November 28, 2014 at 1:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently had a heart cath and had to stents put in resulting in a stay in ICU. Not only was I totally exposed to about 4 female nurses in the cath lab, but when I got to the ICU, several nurses checked me in and this also resulted in total exposure to everyone in the room. Later, I had an antibiotic lotion applied all over my body by FIVE female nurses and all the time, I was totally naked. This lasted for about 10 min. Anytime they checked the cath site, they pushed the sheets down to my knees again totally exposing my genitals even though the doctor when he checked the site pulled the gown over my leg and exposed only the actually site. The doctor took less then a moment to check, the nurses always took about 5 min. to check the site and all that time, my genitals were totally exposed. It usually took two nurses to check the site each time. I did have a urniay cath inserted again with several nurses in the room. When it was time to remove it, one nurse asked several times if she could do so and when she did, she removed it very slowly which resulted in an erection. She simply looked at my erection for a moment and than said "I see you have good blood flow now." Even though I have been told many times that women do not enjoy looking at naked men, these and several other occasions lead me ot believe that many women DO enjoy seeing a males genitals.

 
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At August 17, 2015 at 6:41 PM , Anonymous steve c said...

I had to have a scrotal ultrasound and was a bit nervous about the kind of treatement I would get.I picked a clinic that had 9 male and 3 female tecs hoping to be able to have a guy perform it.I researched how it should be done and how much of my groin had to be exposed and was pleased to see most would be covered.When I got to the clinic I found out the booked me on a say when all three females were on duty and no males.I nneded the test so I agreed to proceed,the female doctor said she needed a chaperone for the procedure and found out the young secretary had volunteered for the job.I was not really ok with it but no choice so we proceeded like it should be done and I was well covered as I sat talking to the secretary while we waited for the tecnician to come in.As soon as the procedure started she took the towel completely off and left it on the bed an started to work on me.The chaperone was positioned for maximal vision of my groin and I had to watch her just staring at me.When it was over the tec left the room while I was still exposed and the secretary chaperone took one mor look as she left.When I went and payed my bill she could not even look me in the eyes and as I left I looked back to see the older secretary ask her something and she got exxcited and broke out laughing.As she did so she looked out the front glass door and noticed I was watching her and she went beet red and turned her back to me.Do not try and tell me she did not enjoy the show and maybe even know how wrong the performance of the test was.

 
At December 27, 2015 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went for a "Soft Tissue" ultrasound 5 yrs. ago. I made the mistake of trusting my male pcp of 12 yrs. who knew my male modesty issues full well.

His office setup the scan so I went not knowing until it was too late, that there were no male techs to do the test.

At this point one becomes conflicted.

You're in pain do you want to go thru the humiliation and find out what's wrong or leave & start over.

I should have followed my gut & left but unfortunately I stayed & things went from bad to worse.

I was told at the start only part being scanned was to be shown.

After I'm laid out in position like she wanted me and I was comfortable nothing else was showing, the door opens up & in walks what the tech called her chaperone. Another female. I was mortified.

Growing up I was always told at the doc & hospital "don't make waves" put up shut up & just get it over with.

At the time I did not know I had the right of refusal & I could tell her to leave or cancel test.

I have since this issue and another issue where the nurses would ignore my boundaries & take a peak under the gown have tried to become a well informed patient.

I'm learning more from these blogs every day.

The chaperone was young walks over lifts off the towel & make a comment.

I just wanted to crawl into a hole at that point.

The tech never reprimanded her or said a word just smiled.

The test results came back I should have surgery.

To this day it hasn't & most likely won't happen as I will NEVER trust any female healthcare workers again. I personally don't want female nurses or techs having anything to do with my healthcare. That means I won't be getting much done since most healthcare workers are female.

I was ambushed by my pcp for setting me up with a female tech when he knew I would bother me & he got an earful the following week before I dropped him as my pcp.

I called a couple of hospitals once to see if I could get a same-gender surgical & nurse team. Both hospitals said no.

So because of a couple of real insensitive women, I have & will stay away from healthcare.

 

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