Initial disclaimer: Before you read this, please understand that this is intended for humor only.
So, I hear from men all the time that I must have the greatest job in the world! This leads me to believe that, in their mind, I spend my days with hot, sexy, naked women and their perfect bodies and private parts all day long to my heart’s desire. In addition, I am sure that these same fine gentleman wish that they were a hot, male gynecologist like in the 1989 SNL sketch Mel Gibson: Dream Gynecologist. (Yes it’s real. Look it up. )
I hate to burst your bubble gentleman, but first of all…Ewww….and COME ON! These kind of comments just exemplify ignorance regarding what I actually do and what attracts women to a particular physician. First of all, let me clear up what I do all day long. I see women of all body types, ages and colors for every kind of health and pelvic issue that you could imagine from incontinence to infections to cancer. Yes that’s right gentleman. It is much harder to get them in for routine maintenance when everything is perfect ” down there” like the vaginas you are dreaming about as opposed to when something is “amiss.” That includes elderly women who bring me their crusty underwear, wondering what that discharge is all about and women with STDs that have gone untreated for a long time. It’s not all fun and games gentleman. This is a serious job, not some endless beauty pageant of genitalia. You may not believe this, but once you stare at anything consistently for a long time, day in and day out, the excitement wains. I guarantee it.
Now let’s deconstruct the hot male gynecologist ideal. Be prepared to have your mind blown. Did you know that multiple patient surveys have been conducted regarding possible gender bias in patient selection of a gynecologist? Most patients said that they picked their gynecologist based upon experience, not gender. Those that did pick based on gender usually picked a female because they felt that a female would be better capable of understanding what they were going through. There were still a few that picked a male, yearning back for the days of 1950’s patriarchal medicine, but they were not the majority. Now add on top of that the fact that patients have said that they would feel too intimidated if they picked a gynecologist that was too good looking. In other words, the odds may be ever NOT in your favor if you are a hottie. Sorry.
Well, I hope that I was able to clear up some of your misconceptions about the real world of gynecology. For now, I will just keep on keepin on with my frumpy, female badass self. Cheers!
I saw a study the other day outline in Contemporary Obgyn magazine. The study was originally published in JAMA Network Open. This study attempted to evaluate the possibility of gender and racial bias in patient selection of their physicians. In other words, does it matter if the physician is male or female? Black or white? Here’s how the study went. They took about 3600 online US respondents from a very geographically diverse population. Two different crowdsourcing platforms MTurk and Lucid were used to recruit participants. Each participant was shown a clinical scenario of a gastrointestinal issue being evaluated by an emergency room physician. The participant was supposed to play the role of the patient. They were shown pictures of the different ER physicians with different diagnoses: one with a diagnosis of gastroenteritis and a conservative treatment plan and one with a diagnosis of appendicitis and a more aggressive plan. The researchers did what is called a random assignment of the participants to images of physicians with different genders and races. 823 were assigned to black female physicians, 791 to black males, 821 to white females, and 835 to white males. They used a total of 10 different faces for each of these groups from the Chicago Face Database. This means that they were trying really hard to determine whether a participant’s reaction was truly due to a particular skin color or gender, rather than one specific face. None of the participants knew about the purpose of the study. In research terms, that means that they were “blinded.” Each participant then had to rate each simulated physician on confidence in him or her, satisfaction with care, likelihood of recommending the physician, trust in the diagnosis, and the likelihood that they would request additional tests.
I found the initial report of the results as reassuring. They did not find any significant difference in participant satisfaction and confidence based on race or gender. Ok that sounds good at first, but it is not time to celebrate just yet. They went on to say that about 40% of the participants endorsed some type of white superiority. It does not explain how they knew that. So then, they essentially threw the accuracy of the results out the window and said that it was possible that the participants actually knew the purpose of the study and hid their prejudices in their answers to look more socially acceptable. Mind you, that this is by no means the first study evaluating gender and racial bias in patient physician selection. Also keep in mind that a lot of these studies are failing to show any systemic bias in regards to gender or race, but we keep looking anyway….and then not believing the results. I don’t get it. Would we prefer that there is bias? Are we unhappy that we can’t prove it? Are we looking for yet another race or gender inequality issue to be upset about? There are plenty of real issues out there with regard to race and gender that desperately need to be addressed. Maybe we should leave this one alone if we cannot truly prove that it is there in the first place. Have a fantastic day everyone!