Medical Misogyny?

While we’re on the subject of terminology…

Here’s a list of some of the actual diagnoses a woman might receive regarding her reproductive system:

  • Diminished ovarian reserve
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Hostile cervical mucus

Yikes. Sounds like a pretty damning list of inadequacy, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, what do men get?

  • Low sperm count
  • Azoospermia (absence of motile sperm in the semen)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Retrograde ejaculation

Still not fun to hear. But at least they’re more or less accurate, fair-enough, scientific-sounding verdicts. If they got the same treatment women get, it’d sound more like:

  • Wimpy sperm count
  • Testicular failure
  • Incompetent penis
  • Stupid semen that gets lost and doesn’t ask for directions

If these were real diagnoses, you’d be forgiven for suspecting the medical profession was made up of a pack of man-haters, wouldn’t you?

Luckily no one would be such a — pardon me — dick as to tag a man with these labels when he’s already dealing with a difficult diagnosis.

Yet women are routinely kicked while they’re down with words like diminished, hostile, failure, incompetent. Why is that, I wonder?

The diagnoses could just as easily be:

  • Low ovarian reserve
  • Early menopausal symptoms
  • Premature cervical dilation
  • Incompatible cervical mucus

Sounds a bit less… how shall I put it… “fuck-you-barren-whore,” doesn’t it?

I think it does.

More sciency, less judgy, please. Whom do I write to to complain about these things anyway?

Was it this guy?
Was it this guy?

Speaking of cervical mucus… If you don’t know what that is, it’s the stretchy, silky, clear liquid that emanates from the base of a woman’s womb around ovulation time, signaling she’s in the middle of her fertile window, and it’s an awesome time to get busy. It’s arguably the sexiest liquid there is, and people who are trying to conceive tend to talk about it a lot because it is important to the reproductive process for many reasons.

And yet it’s named after something that makes people think of infected sinuses.

Not. Sexy.

If doctors must insist on using that term in the interest of technical accuracy or consistency, that’s their problem. The rest of us should be free to come up with our own word in everyday speech.

I tend to call it ‘cervical fluid.’ If we put our heads together, I’m sure we can think of something better. Sexy gloss? Silky stream? Baby glide? Sex river? Sperm slip-n-slide? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

Or just call it ‘cervical fluid.’ Anything but ‘mucus’ for God’s sake.

Uhh... what were we talking about again?
Uhh… what were we talking about again?

Why, yes, I am trying to rethink the terminology surrounding human reproduction to make it more woman-friendly and sex-friendly.

I hope you’ll join me. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Medical Misogyny?

  1. Let’s get more entertaining. The best time to get “busy” is when you have mucus the consistency of egg whites aka ewm. Essentially really slippery and stretchy. Why do we have to compare it with raw chicken eggs?

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  2. “Wimpy sperm count” *snicker*

    Besides being judgy, the vocabulary also assumes that all women want to get pregnant. If a woman does not want to get pregnant, then a cervix that behaves in a way that avoids pregnancy is rather competent, is it not? And her ovaries certainly don’t “fail”.

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