Polish Government proposal: Submit to compulsory gynecological examinations, or be fired
“The Polish government wants to give an order so that women would be forced to undergo cytological, gynecological examinations (also called cervical smear tests). In other words, the Polish government intends to make such examinations obligatory. The Polish Minister of Health wants to make women devoid of their work if they refuse to undergo these cytological, gynecological examinations.”
cylindrical metal speculum for examination and treatment in Sims posture
(Quoted from a petition currently being organized by Polish women
“Devoid from their work” means they will be fired.
Sadistic male-dominated societies have often used the practice of compulsory gynecological examination in order to control women. The Contageous Diseases Act was passed in England in 1864, whereby women could be stopped on the street and subjected to invasive tests by men:
“The Act of 1864 stated that women found to be infected could be interned in locked hospitals for up to three months, a period gradually extended to one year with the 1869 Act. These measures were justified by medical and military officials as the most effective method to shield men from venereal disease.”
As we can see, men have conjured up this horror in the past, and today a new generation of men, drunk on power and misogyny, have decided to use this very same method to psychologically, physically and sexually control women anew.
So I would like to discuss this subject against the backdrop of the history of gynecology.
Over the years, gynecological tests and experiments on women have been painful, cruel, perverse and unnecessary. The literature on the subject makes for sickening reading. Women have been used as guinea pigs and lab rats so that men posing as doctors could “study” the effects of this or that gynecological procedure. They purported that experimentation was needed in order to help women, but as I will explain below, men’s interference is usually the root cause of women’s gynecological problems in the first place.
The vivisection of black slaves by Dr Marion Sims , the so-called “Father of Gynecology”, is one example of such horrors. He would experiment on black women by cutting into their vaginas without anaesthetic, sometimes up to thirty times on one woman alone.
At Auschwitz, Dr. Carl Clauberg and Dr. Horst Schuman, among a number of other men, tortured Jewish women by injecting chemical substances into their wombs during experiments. Thousands of Jewish and Gypsy women were subjected to this treatment. They were sterilized by the injections, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms.
Ninteenth century French doctors were unhealthily interested in gynecology because they were keen on making sure women’s reproductive organs were in tip top condition so that French women could out-breed the Germans next door.
In Britain, Isaac Baker Brown was convinced that women who wanted to divorce their husbands would change their mind if he performed clitoridectomies (excision of the clitoris). And so he did. On many, many women
. In “On the Curability of Certain Forms of Insanity, Epilepsy, Catalepsy and Hysteria in Females
,” he argued that the operation was both safe and effective. “The “mental illness” of seeking a divorce was an especially important indication, for which Dr. Brown found excellent results. He claimed several patients gave up on their motions, returned to their husbands, and thereafter led the lives of exceptional wives and mothers.
In the U.S and the U.K, gynecologists excised the clitorises of little girls as young as three in order to “cure masturbation”.
I believe that when patriarchy finally falls, the medicine men will be remembered, above all else, for their amazing ability to invent illnesses.
In Gyn/Ecology, (a book which is very hard to read because of the details of the harms men have inflicted on women), Mary Daly states:
“It is important to emphazise the fact that from the inception of their profession, gynecologists have used black, immigrant, and other poor women as guinea pigs, experimenting on them without their informed consent, in order to later use the “expertise” thus gained in lucrative private practice. Yet a class analysis is inadequate here, for it falls short of explaining all of the dimensions of andocratic atrocities. The fact is that experimentation is part of the routine procedure of gynecology for women of all classes. As I have already indicated, poor and non-white women are usually totally uninformed of how they are being used for “study”. So also middle- and upper- class women are often simply not told anything, or when they are given “information” , their msieducation gives them the illusion of informed consent. There are, then, varying ways in which women serve as unwitting/unwilling “material” for gynecologists.”
It is impossible to escape the fact that for hundreds of years men have been obsessed with gynecology, and have enjoyed experimenting on women.
The point is that experimentation on women’s bodies is standard and universal gynecological practice and that is it legitimated by the divine right to “study”. Even the more critical medical journal articles invariably call for “further research”. The potential object of such studies is Everywoman. (Daly)
This particular patriarchal obsession of “caring for women’s reproductive health” transgresses time and place, so that we see the same institutional “concern” replicated today in the form of the European Union Campaign for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer in Women.
There is no such equivalent campaign for men, as far as I have seen. Men, as adults and humans, are trusted to take their health into their own hands. There are no reminder letters for men, no rounding up of men and herding them to clinics. It’s women’s “bits” alone that are viewed as intrinsically faulty, not men’s.
What is rarely mentioned is that the Pill is connected to a number of disorders and diseases and recent evidence has linked it to cervical cancer. This is unsurprising. Perhaps it is being downplayed because then women might stop taking it, leaving the pharmaceutical industry millions of dollars out of pocket, and forcing men to revert back to condoms. Hormone replacement therapy, imposed on post-menopausal women, is also responsible for cancer.
Men’s interference extends to childbirth. Once men had driven midwives out of the labour room– a systematic process which began with the witch burnings, and continues today with modern-day witch hunts of midwives– and once they had appropriated women’s skills and knowledge for themselves, there began a long process of introducing gynecological interventions which led to the tortuous deaths of thousands of women and babies.
Forceps and episiotomy are two interventions purported to help women. Episiotomy is an unnecessary procedure whereby an Ob/Gyn will cut a laboring woman’s perineum with scissors in order to hurry up the birth. Men cannot be patient. They cannot wait. They must intervene and interfere whenever possible. Midwives, such as the revolutionary Ina May Gaskin, have been fighting against this practice for decades. A growing body of research is proving what women knew all along: that rather than preventing pelvic floor dysfunction after childbirth, episiotomy increases the risk.
Midwives know (have always known) that a woman’s body is capable of birth, and that such intervention is derived from misogyny. A midwife will wait for the perineum to open gradually, just like a flower bud opening into bloom, in order to allow the mother to slowly push her baby out in her own time. She may use oils or a number of other tricks–not tools– of the trade to encourage the stretching of the skin. To a midwife, the ability to help a woman deliver her baby with the perineum intact is a mark of her professionalism.
In countries where episiotomy is rife the incidents of third degree tears and incontinence are much greater. (The epidural drug, however, does create a need for intervention, due to the swift drop in the mother and baby’s blood pressure, which necessitates a hasty delivery. When coupled with the fact the labouring woman cannot feel the baby, cannot move her legs, and cannot push, the epidural drug often leads to what is known as the “cascade of intervention” and a statistically high chance of the birth ending in forceps or C-section)
Judging from history then, we can see that men are obsessed with the concept of women’s sex-specific organs being faulty. To look at the hand-wringing that goes on over diagnosing breast cancer and cervical cancer, one would be mistaken for thinking that women die of nothing else. In The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer details the mistakes that are made in detecting cervical cancer: women are told they have cancer when they don’t, and other women with cancer are overlooked. She cites research which shows that women have not stopped dying of cervical cancer since mass screening was introduced. The death-rate has been dropping, but at the same rate as it was before smear tests were the norm.
This is a controversial topic. Amidst all the mess of gynecological experimentation and intervention, there may indeed have been the odd woman whose life was “saved”. If we manage to turn a blind eye to the death and destruction that led to it, and the Machiavellian means by which the knowledge came about, she can be held up as a testament to the “truth” of gynecology. But as Daly points out “the ultimate irony occurs when a woman-identified woman who dares to counterattack these “helpers” of women is made to appear hostile to women. “
Whether you are a believer in gynecology or not, I think at this stage in the game,the very least women can expect is a female Ob/gyn. Research funding should be directed at women scientists and doctors. And men need to get out of the labour and delivery rooms, out of women’s vaginas and out of gynecology: they’ve outstayed their welcome. Or failing that, somebody at least tell them that gynecology jokes aren’t funny anymore.