Summer of 20011; I consider this vintage gynecologist's examination table at the Kittitas County Historical Museum in Ellensburg, Washington.
Intending to write about it at some time, I kept it on my desktop. This is its moment of reveal, because last night I heard a woman state senator in the Michigan legislature tell more about her personal life than should have been necessary. I am frustrated and angry with what is happening to women.
Last night we listened to Senator Gretchen Whitmer on the Rachel Maddow Show. The 80% male legislature could only respond to the "...anti-choice group Right to Life Michigan use of an obscure provision, which says that a proposal can go directly to the Legislature if three percent of state residents sign in support of the initiative."
And so "rape insurance" was birthed.
Nothing could stop these male legislators--even Whitmer revealing how she was raped as a young woman. Other women in the legislature joined her.
Women should not have to tell their most intimate stories as Senator Whitmer has done, as I myself have done on this blog in many public settings. in order to secure our right to control our own bodies,how desperate must women act today?
And the gyn table? Slightly updated these days. Looking up the origin of the specialty of gynecology, I found this abstract of an article, "Late 19th century sexual surgery in America" written from the perspective of 1975:
...describes how the tendency of post-Civil War medicine accorded with general social tendencies. Doctors' attitudes toward women reflected their anxiety about female emancipation and changing sex roles. The specialty of gynecology emerged in significant part as a reaction to female emancipation. The strong surgical emphasis in American gynecology practice has continued. The operations, clitoridectomy and female castration, were intended to reimpose the traditional sexual order (the term "castration" and "female circumcision" implied women had become men). The paper goes on to describe the beginnings of psychosomatic medicine, the circularity of gynecologists' treatment of women, and the effects of this treatment. The operations were in part the expression of a symbiotic relation between doctor and patient. Because they expressed widespread and deep-seated beliefs, they were difficult to challenge.
Too many state legislators and their handmaidens in the anti-Choice movement spend much energy on the repression of women. The only hope for our daughters and granddaughters is major support for Democratic women running for office in 2014.