Yesterday, I went to my college’s health center. Circumstances have conspired to leave me without private health insurance, and without transportation to get to my trusted GYN, so when the prescription for my birth control expired, I made an appointment at my friendly university health center to get a new one.
At that appointment, I was told that before I would be allowed more than one refill for birth control, I would have to get a gyn exam. Now, on the one hand, I understand the need to ensure that college students get the health care and checkups they need, as college students are notoriously bad at keeping up with such things. I am one of them. On the other hand, I was obviously intensely uncomfortable with and resistant to getting such an exam, and the response to that was deep condescension and holding my access to birth control hostage. With the recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights in the form of the HR3 and HR358 bills going through congress I feel I am understandably sensitive to the use of my means of reproductive control as leverage to do what someone else wants. But the sentiment was well meaning, even if the delivery was condescending and pissed me right the fuck off, and I really SHOULD get annual gyn exams even if I really really intensely dislike the experience, so I decided to go along with it with a minimum of fuss.
So yesterday. I went to my appointment for the GYN exam, but I was a silly Shora and forgot to bring something interesting to read, so out of sheer boredom I started reading some of the pamphlets and information brochures lying around. One of them was something about having sex under the influence of alcohol and had a big pink stamp on it saying “For Women Only” (Way to erase trans women, Friendly University Health Center!). In it was a concern trolltastic explanation about how alcohol can lead to ill advised decisions and that it’s not good for anyone (emphasis on women) to participate in drunken hookups, with the heavy suggestion that that is because what women REALLY want is romantic flowery monogamous relationship sex, but what most MEN want is something to stick their dick into. And, while SOME women (sluts) can shake off a bad decision easily, MOST of “us” (nice girls who aren’t skanks who actually might ENJOY one night stands or casual sex), cant. So protect yourselves ladies, and keep your legs close till he’s got that ring on your finger! (okay, maybe I’m overreacting a LITTLE bit, but I just got done writing a paper for class about HR3 and HR358, and I’m a little sensitive to slut shaming at the mo’)
Now, I am not denying that a disproportionate amount of women wish for relationships and a disproportionate amount of men want hookups. I will say that I think there is a lot of legitimacy in the argument that those discrepancies are due to certain social pressures (slut-shaming, the connection between conquests and masculinity, ect ect). I will also say that after being in a two and a half year relationship that should have ended after a year with someone I have huge amounts of emotional codependency issues with even now, six months after the official termination of that relationship, I do not think it is prudent, nor healthy, nor fair to enter into another serious monogamous relationship. Fortunately, I live in the 21st century! A Utopian age of sexual freedom for women where feminism is obsolete because women are equal to men in every way!
Anyway, eventually I get called into the examination room. First things first, a long list of extremely personal questions about blah blah blah with blah blah blah just answer honestly. I’m someone who’s pretty good with answering probing personal questions, since I’m pretty much an open book. So I, being the naive person that I am, pretty much trust that health care professionals will be, well, professional, and understand that if they are to get honest answers to medically relevant questions, they will keep their judgment to their damn selves.
Check me out with my rose-tinted glasses guys. Don’t they just go AWESOME with this outfit?
So anyway, she’s asking questions and I’m answering as honestly as I can. At first this goes just fine, because even though I’m not a good girl pure as the driven snow, I’m certainly not a hot mess, and I’ve got it together more than many girls my age. Then she asks me about alcohol use, and I’m all “Yea I drink sometimes,” because, hi, college student (yes, I know there are plenty of college students that don’t drink. I also know there are plenty MORE that do), and I start feeling the disapproval radiating off her. I tell her my drinking habits, which are pretty tame compared to most of my peers, and she tells me a story about a patient she had who passed out in a 7-11 and walked home barefoot.
I’m gonna give you a minute to let that sink in.
She told me a story about a patient of hers. No, she didn’t name names, but that is, in my opinion, extremely fucking unprofessional. Not to mention the implication that I am or will likely become a hot mess of that caliber if I continue along my path of sin and decadence. It didn’t end there, of course. I revealed the fact that I have smoked hookah twice in my life and would not be against doing so again if it happened to be there, and she said, and I quote “Maybe you should get friends who don’t do that.” Excuse me? You are not my mother, you are not my guardian, you are not here to pass judgment on my lifestyle choices. You are here to do your damn job and keep your morals out of it. Because do you know what happens when health care providers start injecting morals into their practice? Women who are in need of emergency contraception are given misinformation and told they should have kept their legs shut.
Honestly, from where I’m standing, there’s not a huge leap from judgment for being sexually active outside of a monogamous relationship (which I got) Assumption and judgment of a drunken hookup on New Years (which I also got), and reporting being raped and being asked, in a morally superior and judgmental tone, if I had been drinking. It’s inexcusable from any health care practitioner, but even MORE so for one that is employed by a large university where rape and sexual assault, and by extension rape culture and victim blaming, are epidemic.
I did get my damn prescription in the end, at least.