My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Smear tests to subordinate women

614 replies

sakura · 06/07/2011 04:30

I have been looking at the recent threads about compulsory smear tests in Poland, and I have to say, it doesn'T surprise me that they're compulsory in some countries. THis is a natural, inevitable, progression from the actual purpose of screening.

[Oh, did you think smear tests were about saving women's lives?!?!]

wildkittydear made an excellent point (I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her}
"It is shocking that Poland is thinking of making very personal medical examinations for women compulsory. I personally am very offended by the way only breast and cervical cancer are championed as the only killers of women and I know that is an exaggeration!! but do you get my drift? Some illnesses get priority in the media and I am not convinced there is always a benign reason for this."

Yes, Womanhood is the "problem" to be cured. Women's organs that are seen as faulty-- because men don't have them. Not male = pathology.

The truth is that women's bodies are much, much healthier than men's because we have two Xs in our chromozomal make up and each X contains lots of life-preserving genes, whereas the Y is slightly pitiful by comparison.
This is why women live longer and why boys are more like to be born with chromozomal abnormalities or die when they get sick. Girls tend to recover.
The extra X gives women the biological upper hand.

Men don't really know how to look after their bodies either, in a general sense (healthy diet etc)

Considering this, it's really important to question why the medical fraternity is obsessed with getting women to their tests and not men. Men are more likely to contract all sorts of diseases and cancers, and much earlier in their life than women too.

But men are trusted to look after their own bodies and decide for themselves whether they want to be screened or not. There is no goverment promoted mass-screening programme of testicular cancer, for example. BEcause testicles belong to men, and are therefore regarded as "healthy until proven otherwize"Men are not frightened, coerced or cajolled into being screened because there is no obsession with controlling them.

THe history of medicine teaches us that women, and by default their sex specific organs, are regarded as defective and pathalogical. (when if any sex is defective, it is the male sex due to the Y, which renders them biologicaly more vulnerable to disease in a number of ways)

Greer has covered this in detail in The Whole Woman. She has examined the evidence which shows that cervical screening has done nothing to save women's lives.
Women are still dying from cervical cancer. Although the rate of cervical cancer has been dropping , that is not because of screening, but because because it was actually dropping naturally before mass screening was invented, and continues to drop at the same rate.

Often mistakes are made in the laboratories, and there have been cases of women who actually had healthy cervixes being treated for cancer, and women who had cancer were missed, and ended up dying.

As I said, the point is not to actually save women's lives, but to get women to comply, to STFU and to be penetrated by gynelogical instruments.I don'T get screened, because I've looked at the statistics and found that, despite screening, women are still dying of cervical cancer so the margin for human error in the tests is too great.

Which brings me to another important question. WTF are men doing in gynecology anyway? I mean, WhyTF are they even there? In the room? Sticking bits of metal into women? Researching vaginas, when it's not their place to do so? THe funding should go to female scientists and doctors [but that's for another thread]

I haven't had a smear test for over ten years. WHen I had my first at 18 the results came back telling me I needed to go for a re-test for possible cancerous cells. I went back, had another check, the second time it came back clear (after me scaring myself to death). After doing research I learned that if you have had sperm or even your period (if you'd just finished it) can interfere with the findings, making it look as though there may be cancerous cells when there aren't.

WHat a joke. And the joke's on women. And I haven't been back since.

OP posts:
sakura · 06/07/2011 04:33

ETA: I learned that sperm , or even your period

OP posts:
differentnameforthis · 06/07/2011 08:07

As I said, the point is not to actually save women's lives, but to get women to comply, to STFU and to be penetrated by gynelogical instruments

So the point of smears is medical rape? The purpose being, in your eyes, is to control a woman by penetrating her with an instrument? So some person decided that smears were a great way to violate a woman & control her?

So does breast screenings not save lives either? Because women are dying from that too, or was that invented so men could grope women?

Sorry, I think you are way over thinking this & your POV on the purpose for smears is damaging & very wrong.

I happily go for my smears, never once have I felt I was being controlled or violated. I go for my own piece of mind.

I do agree that it shouldn't be forced upon a woman, but saying it is all about controlling a woman is so wrong.

BTW, my friend's smear saved her life.

VivaLeBeaver · 06/07/2011 08:16

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Bandwithering · 06/07/2011 08:22

Wow. I'm overdue a smear test as well. I haven't had one in four years. So I'm glad it's not compulsory I guess. But I don't think I would have read so much into it as you have. I bet the official who decided to make this compulsory for women in poland hasn't read any germaine greer, and probably honestly believes that he is doing a really good thing for women.

I do see your points but at the same time, in gynae, there is choice about whether or not to go into that speciality isn't there? there are women doctors, plenty of them in the UK, don't know about poland.

ps, I really hate smear tests, but nurses are always really kind, and I bet in Poland it's the same. I admit I don't know but i'm sure the smear tests are carried out by nurses who are also kind people. But I don't know if this is irrelevant to the point you made. I'm confused!

Northernlurker · 06/07/2011 08:23

'despite screening, women are still dying of cervical cancer so the margin for human error in the tests is too great'

errrr no - that would be because women aren't attending for screening.

Every smear I've ever had has been delivered by the practice nurse btw. A woman.

differentnameforthis · 06/07/2011 08:33

Testicular cancer can & often (if I am not wrong) presents a lump. So no doubt a man (or his partner) would discover said lump.

As far as I know, the early stages of abnormal cells that can go on to become cancer, don't present themselves as any as quite as obvious. And the only way to detect those cells, is via a sample under a microscope/in a lab.

I guess that is why men aren't screened, because there is an obvious, tangible symptom/indicator.

And someone has to be an OBGYN, why not a man? I know a guy who had his vasectomy performed by a woman, is that inappropriate too? I mean, why should she specialize in that? Why it's not her place to do so (I don't agree with this, btw..just turning your words around to compare to women working with men)

You are spreading dangerous propaganda. Do we really want a generation growing up to think that medical intervention isn't necessary? Women should be allowed to make choices as to what they do with their bodies, that includes having a smear if they believe it will help them.

pyjamalover · 06/07/2011 08:35

surely the reason men aren't screened is because they can see and feel their testicles for lumps, we can't check for abnormal cervical cells can we? and by the time people get symptoms from cervical cancer it is pretty advanced, so I would argue that availability of smear tests (and no, they shouldn't be compulsory) is a huge step forward for womens health.

TrillianAstra · 06/07/2011 08:39

You sound paranoid, and dangerous. If you go around speaking like that and prevent even one woman from going for a smear test then you could cause a lot of damage.

Bandwithering - you say that you don't like smears and are overdue for one because you have to arrange it yourself, but if it were compulsory don't you think you'd just get on with it and then be pleased that you had gone? My dad is one of those strange people who hates wearing a seatbelt, but he wears it because it's the law and he is glad it is the law because otherwise he would probably be dead.

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:40

The tests will a be a part of the already existing obligatory medical tests that employees must take every 2 years. I haven't really got a problem with it, tbh.

Butlinsbabe · 06/07/2011 08:41

Thank god for smears and mammograms.
I never miss mine and they are always done by a woman in our surgery.
Prompt treatment for breastcancer and cervical cancer saves thousands of lives a years, thank god. in fact, doesn't breast cancer have the highest survival rate of any cancers.

I can't work out which part of your post is more bonkers. The never going for smears bit or the smear tests as patriarchal rape bit.

Deliberately not having smears is certifiable, I reckon. But it's your funeral.

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:42

Oh, and they will include obligatory mammograms for women over 50- seems like a good thing to me.

bruxeur · 06/07/2011 08:44

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Butlinsbabe · 06/07/2011 08:46

Succinct but apposite, bruxeur Grin

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:48

'The introduction of the Pap smear test in 1941 has greatly reduced the number of cervical cancer-related deaths. Pap smears have lowered worldwide annual deaths by approximately 2% decline each year. They have also reduced the overall death rate by approximately 74% since the tests were first implemented. The test is considered the most successful cancer screening technique ever discovered. '

'Cervical cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women worldwide with approximately 471,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It?s sobering to think that a woman dies of cervical cancer approximately every 2 minutes.

In less developed countries, this type of cancer is the second most common in women and accounts for up to 300,000 annual deaths'

In some parts of the world it is the most common cancer for women. Guess what, it'll be in the countries where women dont have access to cervical screening.

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:50

Oh, and in the US it's the 8th most common cancer for women and in the UK the 12th.

But of course it has nothing to do with lots of women in these countries having regular smears Hmm

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:51

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

swallowedAfly · 06/07/2011 08:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

GrimmaTheNome · 06/07/2011 08:53

Ignorant sexist rant.

PirateDinosaur · 06/07/2011 08:54

Wow, those people who introduced smear tests specifically to subordinate women must be really pissed off that they led to such a big reduction in deaths from cervical cancer. It must have taken the shine right off the subordinating.

(I do agree that making them compulsory is wrong, though)

TrillianAstra · 06/07/2011 08:56

There is an interesting discussion to be had on whether medical screening that is for your own good should be made compulsory, but it clearly can't be had here.

MollysChamber · 06/07/2011 08:57

The vaccine that has been introduced for the virus that can lead to cervical cancer will eventually lead to smears being a thing of the past surely?

Anyway, no smears should not be compulsory however they should certainly be encouraged. I have one regularly. It's fine.

InTheNightKitchen · 06/07/2011 08:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

TrillianAstra · 06/07/2011 08:59

I'm sorry that your first smear experience was not a pleasant one, but the letter telling you to go for a smear should have clearly stated that you should not have sex the night before and you should book for mid-cycle to get the best results.

If you don't understand what the results mean, or don't understand how to prepare properly, you should speak to the doctor/nurse, not just assume that the whole system is flawed.

winnybella · 06/07/2011 08:59

Oh, and I have just read that cervical cancer rates in Poland are the highest of all of the EU.

Cattleprod · 06/07/2011 09:01

It's not so much about trusting men, it's the simple biological fact that men's genitals are on the outside, so easily accessible for self-checking (not that all men do this). Were women able to self-check their cervixes etc., I'm sure the medical institutions wouldn't waste their money on unnecessary examinations.

You don't mention prostrate testing, which is something my dad and his peers regularly have done - presumably this is some sinister attempt to 'control' older men? Hmm

And why does it matter what type of genitals the medical practitioner has? Surely it's their hands and their brain that make them good at their job.

You realise if it was the other way round you would be complaining, rightly so, that millions of pounds of resources were being ploughed into keeping men safe and healthy while women were being ignored and dying earlier.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.