Sparing you the (unsavory) details of all that is wrong with me, I’ll just comment that I have many, many doctors in my phonebook. They all happen to be female. I say “happen to be”– except I do not think it is truly a coincidence.
Studying at a college which requires more than eight hours of travelling to reach home has meant I have had to find my own doctors in the local area. I like to believe I am impartial as I choose a doctor to see– I first consider location and the convenience with which I can visit them. Second, I look up their credentials and if possible, patients’ reviews. Then, I decide.
I decide on women, almost unilaterally.
But wait, are not men usually the better doctors? Let us phrase that in a more correct manner. The better doctors are those who have had experience, preferably 10 years but not so much ‘experience’ that they are out of touch with the newer technology, and those that have matriculated from top universities. In 2002, the gender ratio of medical school graduates, male to female, was 56 to 44. The kind of doctor I usually seek are in their mid-30s, and so I have no doubt that in the 1980s, the gender ratio was even more skewed. Therefore, in general, there are just more male doctors that fit my ‘experience’ criteria, and have graduated from a prestigious program. Thus, it is more likely that a male doctor is the best possible fit for me. Case in point: before I went to college, all of my doctors were middle-aged Jewish men.
Yet, in college, I ended up with all female doctors.
A doctor is someone whom you confide in, share your darkest secrets (I don’t exercise, I don’t floss every day), someone that you should feel comfortable bringing up anything with (god forbid I ever think I contracted an STD). Plus, they look at your sensitive parts from time to time, and you have to trust they are not going to snigger or anything. I think this is my problem– when I consider male doctors, I think about him, listening to my problems, trying not to look patronizing and condescending, but I know, that for some reason, he thinks that I am silly and have silly problems because I am an ignorant female.
That was really hard to type out, for it is one of my irrationalities lurking underneath my perfect rational facade. I realize that when I was with my parents, they could stand up for me and mediate and ask questions of the male doctor, but now that I have to fend for myself, I find questioning and submitting to female doctors much easier.
I do not know what it is about females– it certainly is not the ‘motherly’ or ‘matronly’ air– that draws me to them. My dermatologist is the most curt and stoic doctor I have ever met, yet I adore her. She is to-the-point, and she does not waste time; I have never had to wait for an appointment. Nonetheless, I do know that I can be more of ‘myself’ with female doctors, and interact with them on an equal basis. I know that when they peer at me beyond the edges of their glasses, they may be judging me, but I can offer my two cents anyway.
Perhaps it is the result of studying at a women’s college; I have become unaccustomed to men and sensitized. Yet, I cannot say it is because I have many male professors, and I see them personally no more and no less than my female professors, and am equally intimidated by both sets. I have no trouble talking to males my age, save for the random thought, “Wait, males go to college too?”
Perhaps I have turned into a feminist because of the whole ‘studying at a women’s college’ thing. If anyone ever says that to me, I will probably launch into an angry tirade. This is one of the oldest stereotypes concerning women’s colleges. Please spare me. Besides, being a feminist does not mean sticking exclusively to women.
Perhaps it is the result of a patronizing father; he has instilled in me the dominance of males. I waver on this, for while my father was strict, he never lay claim to authority for the sole reason he is male. He is my parent, and so he derives authority that way.
Perhaps it is the result of my overactive rationality. Even before going to a women’s college, I have always been distinctly aware of a difference between the two sexes, and the subjugation of one under the authority of the other. I know that there will always be some males that will always view me as a silly female, no matter how learned they are and where they earned their MD, Harvard University or University of Texas. So, by choosing female doctors exclusively, I minimize this risk of prejudice on the doctor’s side, and so I will get the best attention and care possible.
Perhaps it is because females had to fight to get into medical school in those days, fight the patronizing professors, fight the societal norms, that the few experienced female doctors out there happen to be some of the smartest and driven in their field. So while there may be more great, experienced male doctors, the few female doctors really are worth their salt.
In the end, I do not know why I chose to have all female doctors. All I know is that I do not regret any of my choices, and that I will be consciously choosing females for a very long time.