In My Fairy Tale…

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She looked at me, incredulously, her blonde hair all tousled up around her grimy face. She had attacked her brother in the sandbox and was now with me in the bathroom explaining how big kids used the potty. I was explaining back that “big kids” were her brother and that she was not able to use the potty the same way he did. 

“No!” Her eyes flashed with anger. “Tell God to give me a weewee! I want to grow a weewee!” 

I remember myself how unfair it had seemed. Boys got to pee standing up and I could not. There was no one to turn to for justice. I had felt angry, hurt, betrayed, and trapped in a body that was substandard. Worse, no one had asked me what I wanted when all if this was decided for me. Who doesn’t want to just point and shoot?

“Sorry, sweetie, you can’t.”

“Why?!??!” my daughter screamed at me, big fat tears rolling down her face.

“That’s just the way things are…”

I got over the penis envy eventually. We all do, right? Though I resent people thinking that because I am discussing women’s issues that I automatically hate men or still envy the penis.

I don’t. 

After years of questioning the order of things I am at peace with the fact that I am who I am. In fact, it was when I held my newborn son for the first time that I realized I really liked being a woman after all. 

I brought that cute little guy to life…

So what does that mean for equality? 

It means that I am not a man. I don’t want to be treated like one.

Perhaps I don’t speak for all women in medicine but I don’t mind getting paid less. I like fewer patients, taking my time, having some flexibility to take care of my kids if needed.

I also love being able to hug patients and hold hands and relate to their physical ailments (periods, breast feeding, pregnancy) in a way that I never could if I were a man. 

When my kids are sick I enjoy the fact that they run to me for comfort.

And so I want to be treasured and protected and valued. Most of all I want to be respected. Not respected as a man. Respected for my unique role as a caregiver to patients, family. Not equal. I don’t want to be equal. 

I am better than that. 

I am different. I demand a different kind of respect.

People ask more of me as a woman than they would of a man. My role is as a nurturer. They are more likely to call me, get upset with me, make demands of me. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. It is not having the understanding and support of male colleagues that makes this so difficult. 

Click more buttons on the electronic health record. See more patients. Work more hours.

I want flexibility and understanding from patients and my employer for my role as a caregiver to my family… accommodation for ailing elderly parents and sick children. I want an end to the guilt of being torn in so many directions. 

I want respect and understanding for my physical limitations. Working while 40 weeks pregnant was HARD and like so many women I had no support at all from my employer during that or during my brief maternity leave after having to rush back. It does not have to be that way. 

I want my opinions to be heard and not mocked or discounted, labeled as bitchiness or penis envy.

I am worth it.

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101 thoughts on “In My Fairy Tale…

  1. Yes! There is a reason some people seek out female physicians – and not just because they don’t want a man poking around “down there.” I know quite a few men who prefer female physicians because of all those things you mentioned!
    And, I’m sorry, having a penis can never, EVER beat the beauty and the experience of feeling your baby grown inside of you. Never.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sought a female doctor when I was pregnant and it was the worst experience I’ve ever had with doctors. She definitely was not more compassionate or reassuring. In fact she was borderline evil to everyone she came in contact with (so it wasn’t just me). She belittled my concerns (and I’m the type that barely wants to mention them), she showed up late for my delivery and couldn’t be contacted in time for me to get some pain relief and I always detected quite strongly her contempt for me (and I hardly knew her!)….I could go on and on.

      With my next pregnancy I went to a male doctor and he was funny, compassionate and dependable so I guess we can’t always generalize πŸ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I kid you not, up until about three weeks ago, I was completely unaware of whether you were a man or a woman. (this was probably due to my reading comprehension skills, and the fact that I don’t usually look at people’s “about” pages, which is why it wasn’t until now that I discovered you have another blog…:[)

    Since I’ve learned this, I still just think of you as “that amazing doctor whose blog I follow.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well said, and I totally agree–although I can’t ever remember feeling penis envy. (I always thought it must be a pain to have them flopping about or popping up at inconvenient moments.) πŸ˜‰

    The castle is amazing. It looks just like what I’d picture for Rapunzel.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m of two minds about this post. I was the only girl in a family that contained 3 boys, and I can’t say that I ever had penis envy. I knew they had them, but I didn’t much care what they were – and I got so much special treatment for being the only girl! That’s not to say that I grew up to be a girly-girl – my brothers taught me to stand up for myself, and to respect myself. Once out in the business world, I expected that respect, and generally received it – although like most other women, I did have episodes of being treated less than respectfully, but those episodes were few and far between. I can’t say that I have ever been paid less than a man doing the same work, although admittedly there weren’t very many men working as clerks or secretaries in the 1980s and 1990s. Once I gained paralegal status, I think I’ve pretty much held my own – paralegal pay, at least in my area, seems to be based on skill and experience and not on gender.

    As for the children coming to the caregiver for comfort – my kids came to both their dad and me, depending on who was with them at the time. For awhile, I stayed home while my husband worked.
    Then my husband and I worked opposite shifts so that one of us was always there, and there was also a period of time (when my husband was pursuing an advanced degree) when my husband stayed home and raised my girls while I supported the family financially. I never once doubted his ability to raise the kids as well as me. The only time I felt they really needed their mother instead of dad was when their periods started, or when it was time for the sex talk. But had I not been around, I’m sure he would have handled it properly (and probably uncomfortably).

    Sorry for such a long comment. I just wanted to point out, like some of the other commenters, that at least in my opinion, men and woman should receive the same consideration and respect no matter what job they are doing. Yes, women should be given some leeway while pregnant, just like anyone – man or woman – should be given some leeway while suffering any medical condition that might affect his or her daily lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree wholeheartedly that men and women deserve equal respect but that respect is not always the same type. I enjoy when men open the door for me or stand when I enter. Guys may not care about that. I think men can be great caregivers and I would never say that a man could not do a good job of that with kids but I DO like it when I am the one they seek out. Not because we are in competition. This is not about competing sexes or proving one is better than the other. We are different, we are special, and we should work together rather than fighting each other.

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      • Said much better than I could, and I agree completely. I do feel special when my kids want their mother, for whatever reason (usually when they’re having man trouble). And yes, I do enjoy having doors opened for me – but these days it’s more because of my age than my gender.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Back in 2008-2009 wife and I were getting some marriage counseling from an older couple..he had the counseling degree and she had the nurturing heart. I much preferred the insight/ care/empathy of the wife over the husband… when it comes to my relationship w/ my parents ..I would much rather sit down for a cup of coffee one on one w/ my mom over dad, even though he has mellowed. DM

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this post. I agree that there isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to respect and being valued: we are all different, and should be respected for who we are.
    I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks. As usual, a great posting. Some replied with like feeling and opinion. Music plays: “I enjoy being a girl…” And that’s that. But one points out “flopping around. ” Yes, but I recall some comedian say he could never be a girl because he’d always be looking at his breasts. πŸ™‚ Your posting has three parts: sex/gender; motherhood; equality/fairness. Well done, but could be three separate posts. I can remark about each, in time: boy/man; father; employer/employee. Yet how often these three parts overlap. Thanks again for reminding me of growing up and “wet dreams.” Thanks, Mom, for washing those puberty sheets. :o) More later.

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  8. Victo, love your “writing cabin” along with your thoughts about being a woman ! Now that I have your blog address, you are on the thank you list (Awards Page blog post.) Think I’ll borrow your castle photo…it goes with my Happily Ever After book theme and my fairyland mind. Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think in many ways we need to alter or shift or reconfigure the systems that we operate in. I know you probably won’t agree with this but I don’t believe that true equality will ever be achieved as long as religion plays such a significant role in so many aspects of our culture. If the template of our culture, (and to a more specific degree how men and women relate to each other) is based on a book written 2000 years ago by an misogynistic, agrarian, largely illiterate, culture halfway around the world, then we are well and truly fucked. And I am talking as much about Islam as I am Christianity. In the West the bible is a foundational text that is the trump card those who want power can use. Having the bible as a guide to a moral life is the equivalent of a doctor using a textbook on the humours to try and cure cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting post Victo. You know, believe it or not, after more than a half a century on this planet, this is the first time I have heard this argument. And I like it. It certainly explains a great deal. I was always taught that women and men are equal, which is too often translated into “the same”. It has often struck me that it is not true and yet it has always been politically incorrect to say so. Thank you for this post (and your other ones too, of course, and yet especially this one : ) )

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It all boils down to labels. No one is one person all the time. We are all kinds of “beings” depending on the energy of the moment and our reaction to it. Truly it has nothing to do with what is between our legs. We love to label and categorize ourselves as this and that.
    The best label……”I am.” Just “I am!”
    And that’s enough and wondrous all at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I wish I had the eloquence to say what I am feeling about this. I respect this post, greatly. I don’t agree that woman and man are the same. Like all diversities – our differences should be celebrated and our strengths encouraged and relied upon. Us from them, them from us, us from us, them from them. If we all used our strengths and abilities and honored those things that we are wonderful at, we would be equal. It’s about respecting each others abilities/skills/talents/etc. Treated with the equal amount of respect and need, not a one of us is better than the other. We need to be different to exist, now, don’t we? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It may sound strange but I am of the opinion that many civilisations including our “Western” civilisation are more matriarchal than history and culture books would ever admit.

    The cults of various goddesses of love, fertility, nature and the home from ancient civilisation to the virgin Mary hint that the woman and womanhood have always been more appreciated than is ever mentioned.

    Thing is, most “remaining” history has been written by men from a male perspective and that perspective has influenced society greatly.

    My ex-girlfriend taught me many things. Most of all she gave me the understanding that women are more versatile when they want to be and more powerful when they have to be. Women are truly awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Very well put…every woman faces this guilt when there is no need …the work culture is designed pro-men I think…and needs some alterations to consider women and consider the issues they face…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I had a good friend when I was a small child, the son of the farmer just down the road, he was three years or so older than me. Makes a big difference when you’re only five. I should add that he only had brothers which might explain his reactions.
    I remember both of us having to pee while we were out playing. David peed into some bushes and I tried to copy him. He looked at what I was trying to pee with and told me, very sympathetically, that it was a bit small but it worked just the same and not to worry about it. Penis envy? Never πŸ™‚ Thanks, David.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Brilliant. You know what’s astounding? When I was a child, I had a physician who was male. Anyway, I think he moved away or something, because I had a new female doctor whom my parents referred to as the “lady doctor”. What makes that even more baffling is that my mother was a nurse. In the Irish language, the word for nurse is ‘banaltra’, meaning ‘female nurse’. A female police officer was also called a ‘ban Garda’ meaning ‘female cop’. Again, this has been seen as offensive now so is being phased out, but still!
    I can understand your frustrations. This is a great piece and I actually value and find great comfort in having a female GP.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Someone may have mentioned this, but I’m on my phone so I can’t read all the comments…there was a doctor in England (I think) this week who applied to a gym and was refused because it was a woman’s only gym and they assumed she was a man because she wrote “Dr.”
        I have always found my female doctors to be more gentle, compassionate and warm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is actually funny in a sad way. In the other comments the riddle was told about the trauma surgeon who could not operate on the little boy who came in with his father after a car accident because the boy was their son. How are they related? Got me, too, when I was a full fledged female physician. The surgeon was his mother but your mind does not automatically go there. It is an interesting study in cultural expectations…

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m e-mailing my (female) G.P. the link to your blog. She’s in her early 40s, with children, and has chosen to work 3 days a week, plus some weekends. I honor her choices! I think we women need to change the ‘status quo’ that men have set up over the decades, and make ‘life’ and ‘family’ and ‘love’ the parameters to chose our working space/time/effort. Less doesn’t mean worse. It may mean much much better….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!!! We have been equally guilty as women for backing ourselves into this corner. A large part of that is the struggle just to be taken seriously. What does it take to be taken seriously?!?!?? A lot of unnecessary suffering. Thank you so much for honoring your GP’s choices. A bit of understanding goes a long, long way.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes yes and yes! Thank you for writing this! It is a pleasure to read.

    I’ve always been a little apprehensive of my feminist friends from university, as well as those in the media, demanding women to be treated exactly the same as men (which then always seem to end up, in how many cents to a dollar women are paid compared to that of men, that says more about the merits of our monetary system than anything else, but that’s another story) … For me, the sheer differences in physiology, would be a pretty good argument for the two genders to be treated differently. We have evolved in such a way that, the two genders of our species have developed clear divisions of labour, to suit the uniquely adapted physiologies of each sex.

    Perhaps it is necessary for traditional feminists to “overcorrect”, in order to overcome millennia of misogyny in various societies, but to demand the two genders to be treated exactly the same is nonsensical at a cellular level.

    Opportunity to receive education, the right to be respected and valued for their unique contributions, should certainly be equal, but to demand absolute equality without adjusting for the fundamental differences is not as progressive as one might think.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Reblogged this on Angie Mc's Reblog Love and commented:
    Passionate and practical post about the finesse of living a full and generous life. Victo Dolore writes, “And so I want to be treasured and protected and valued. Most of all I want to be respected. Not respected as a man. Respected for my unique role as a caregiver to patients, family. Not equal. I don’t want to be equal. I am better than that. “

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  20. Pingback: My Article Read (3-19-2015) (3-20-2015) | My Daily Musing

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