Treatment Of Women In The Medical Field

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Treatment Of Women In The Medical Field Essay, Research Paper Throughout centuries there have been millions and millions of people overlooked and shunned for reasons that are not concrete. Yet, these same persons that were overlooked centuries ago because of reasons such as the colour of their hair, eyes, skin, or sex, are still overlooked in today’s society. Women have been at the hands of “oppressors” since the beginning of documented time. What is scary, is not so much that they are being oppressed, but the persons that are their oppressors. The oppressors are not from a different planet, or a different society, or a different town; the oppressors are the women’s own brothers and fathers and doctors- they are men they know and trust! The works of Sylvia Plath and

Margaret Lawrence have exposed the tyrannies that exist in women’s lives today. Through their words, these two author’s reveal society’s failure to recognize women as individuals by classifying them in terms of class, age and gender. Throughout their novels, The Bell Jar and A Jest of God respectively, they have created an atmosphere for the reader to settle into, and see, if they have not seen already, the downfall of the medical profession and its treatment of women. Clearly the medical profession categorizes the female antagonists in The Bell Jar and in A Jest of God , as being females that have no serious problems in their lives. In the novel The Bell Jar, Esther’s experience with her male psychiatrist clearly represents this stereotyping. Dr. Gordon begins his first

interview by asking the suicidal Esther to assess her problem, ” Suppose you try and tell me what you think is wrong. What did I think was wrong? That made it sound as if nothing was really wrong. I only thought it was wrong “. (Plath 137) Dr. Gordon obviously believes Esther’s problem to be only a matter of her faulty perception and shows no concern for concrete factors leading to her depression. He does not conduct the interview in a proper medical fashion, demonstrating the, ” collection of data, assessment, diagnosis and plan ” (Schultz 76) Instead, he spends most of the interview reminiscing about the girls he had met at a WAC station during the war. His attitude towards women is blatantly superficial, “…My, they were a pretty bunch of girls” (Plath 138).

Evidently his hypocritical attitude towards women has not changed. After reminiscing about the WAC station, Dr. Gordon dismisses Esther by saying , “See you next week, then” (Plath 138). He fails to treat Esther as a patient deserving respect, having real concerns, fears and needs. Instead he has categorized her as one of the “pretty girls” (Plath 138) who could not possibly have any substantial thoughts to require therapeutic counseling, and almost immediately sends her for electric shock therapy. Shock therapy is for those persons with, ” major mood disorders with pronounced physical deterioration and risk of suicide, severe mania and some forms of schizophrenia that have not responded to medication.” ( Rawlins, Williams, Beck, 268) Esther has been given no

medication to respond too, therefore Dr. Gordon is taking Esther to level of treatment that she should not be at. This course of action can further danger the state of Esther’s mind. Unfortunately Dr.Gordon overlooked this detail. In the same fashion as Dr. Gordon fails to treat Esther with respect, Dr. Raven in A Jest of God does not respond adequately to Rachel’s concerns, as a result of stereotyping her to the common notion about ” old maids” (Lawrence 219). This is evident when Rachel tells him that she missed her period. He responds by saying,” at least we know there’s no question of one thing, anyway, with a sensible girl like yourself. That at least can be ruled out, eh? Can’t say the same for them all, I’m afraid” (Lawrence 218). Dr. Raven, assuming