A few days ago, I wrote a post about my issues with a fibroid tumor and Nathobian cysts. That post was also featured on Mamapedia.com. Many women chimed in with their own horror stories of gyno visits and problems gone awry, making me feel so much less alone in this horrible adventure. I was thankful for all the advice and shared stories. What I wasn’t thankful for were the trolls.
I was pm’d by people telling me that I was over-sharing, that no one wants to hear the gory details of having these issues, and that I should just accept my plight because “ladies” shouldn’t write about this sort of thing. Curious responses, I think.
You see, I’ve never identified as a “lady.” I am a human being who happens to be female. “Lady” implies the very archaic stereotype that my post was trying to live down. Someone has to talk about this stuff. Someone has to shine a light on the issues that “ladies” have been dodging for decades. I get the ideas of socially acceptable conversation, but why is a uterus a body part that’s off-limits and not, say, an appendix? If I said my appendix exploded blood all over my furniture and husband, no one would think twice. They’d just gasp at the horror of it. Insert a uterus instead, and, suddenly, my manners are questioned.
The point of the post, and some folks just didn’t get it, was that there is a very clear and solid divide in our health care, especially when it comes to women’s issues. I see it in my own care, and it invades my everyday family life, also. How? How many erectile dysfunction commercials have you seen? How many commercials about low testosterone? Or, my personal favorite, the commercial that says a man should take medicine to “be ready” for when “the mood” strikes? Lots. And lots. I feel badly for men who have to deal with these maladies. I’m glad that there is a medical answer for what ails them.
However, when the “have a happy period” commercial comes on soon after, my feathers get more than a little ruffled. Where is the commercial that shows the woman who should be experiencing an afterglow, but is actually buckled over in pain, rocking back and forth? Where is the commercial with the timid couple afraid to touch one another because the guy doesn’t want to hurt her, and she doesn’t want to relive the trauma of seeing his horrified face when he’s covered in blood? Where’s the commercial that touts the latest product that’s great for removing blood stains from the sheets and mattress pad?
Women like me are sent home from the doctor every day being told that they should just smile through the pain that having sex while housing fibroids causes. Or that they should wait and watch. Do you think a guy who can’t get an erection is told to wait and watch? Do you think a guy who is experiencing pain during and after sex is told to take his Motrin and move on?
This all sounds like you are actually spouting sexism of your own, Miranda. Wrong. I am not anti-guy. I have two sons who are going to be grown men someday and I think they’re pretty damn awesome, especially since I know they will have stellar healthcare simply because they have only one X chromosome. I love my husband and if he had any medical issue whatsoever that wasn’t being addressed by our healthcare system, I would be his loudest advocate. That’s a promise.
So why the need to share the gory details, Miranda? Simple. Someone should. I’m tired of being told to be quiet because it isn’t lady-like to talk about this stuff. I am not a serial over-sharer. I am, by nature, a pretty private person. When it comes to an issue that needs a voice, like the poor state of women’s issues, if I have a personal story to share, I will lend my voice.
I do so because it’s what needs to be done.
I do so because I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy when someone tells me I should be quiet and move on.
I do so because I’ve never had a happy period, nor do I know of anyone who has.
I do so because I am the mother of two sons who are being raised to expect that women have a voice and are going to use it.
Now, if I could just find the commercial that lets the rest of the world know to expect it.