Dr. Dawg

Gender notes

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pink and blue.jpg

A while back I posted on a piece of performance art on Sweden. I think I got the racial angle more or less right, but somehow—despite the obvious need to foreground it—I missed much of the gender aspect. In a revision for The Mark I tried to make amends, but the omission in the first place remains a cause of concern.

I begin with this self-criticism to indicate that I am not taking a position of moral superiority when I criticize some of the coverage of an outrageous act of medical malpractice in Oklahoma—a rape victim refused treatment and emergency contraception by a hospital doctor who said that it violated her religious beliefs.

Note that I said “her.” The doctor in question was a woman. But this wasn’t always correctly reported. Indeed, this account invents a religious “nurse” alongside the doctor.

Some may see this as an example of feminist prejudice (a doctor refusing treatment under such circumstances has to be a man). But feminists are acutely aware of the existence of anti-feminist women, who inevitably hog the media spotlight. The fact that a “nurse” sprang into existence in the latter account, furthermore, makes the suggestion even more problematic.

What is far more likely is that we are here witnessing a kind of re-telling of an old feminist riddle. Doctors are men, nurses are women, so the stereotype has it. Our socialization runs deep—The Pinks and the Blues (58 min., 1980) is still a must-watch documentary. And those of us who count ourselves “progressive” are anything but immune.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 31, 2012 2:08 PM.

Discourtesy and malnutrition in Harperia was the previous entry in this blog.

Tales from Gilead is the next entry in this blog.

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