What We Missed

Coates kills it on Chris Matthews.

Rohin Guha asks “Why doesn’t America trust its leading ladies?” in response to Forbes list of the 10 most trusted celebrities, only one of which is a woman.
“In India’s relatively young financial industry, women not only are some of the top deal makers, they are often running the show.”
Apparently in Canada, medical students practice pelvic exams on women who are in surgery without their consent.
Immigrant rights leader Pramila Jayapal on her reaction to the State of the Union over at the Women’s Media Center: “I watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech ready to fall in love again or to wage war. I came out cautiously optimistic but afraid to be burned yet again, encouraged and yet disappointed, all at the same time. Perhaps that is a fitting response to a man who has the capacity to engender so much hope in a truly flawed political system, making disappointment inevitable.”

Join the Conversation

  • Kathleen Hagerty

    Regarding the 10 Most Trusted Celebrities list, I am disappointed that more women aren’t included. I also wonder whose votes were tallied to come up with the 10. Some of them are no-brainers: Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, these people are utterly miraculous in their acting ability (outstanding) and their reputations. I’ve never heard a negative thing about them, they are reliable family men, and they have stellar records of taking on important, challenging, socially relevant work. Good for them, I’m glad they’re up there.
    However, why is Sally Field the only woman on the list? I can certainly understand why she is “trusted.” She always plays such endearing, loving, motherly characters: Steel Magnolias and Forrest Gump, for example. Heck, she was the Flying Nun, for pete’s sake. Who wouldn’t trust a flying nun? But she’s never really played an unsavory character. Never had a public feud with anyone, as far as I know. She’s very well behaved. And likeable. And over 50. But there are so many female actors with a track record like hers. Why isn’t Rita Wilson up there? Or Julia Roberts? Or Sandra Bullock? Tina Fey? They are all so wholesome, and always portray themselves as such. Why the snub? I’m annoyed.
    And why does a woman have to be maternal, cute, and non-threatening in order to make a list like this? Where is Dolly Parton? She’s been in the public eye for over 40 years and has never sniffed controversy. And she’s one of the most talented musicians working today. Give me a break. I’m annoyed.

  • jm

    It’s not just in Canada that they do pelvic exams without explicit consent. I’m not sure how widespread it is in the US, but I know from personal experience that they were still doing them at the University of Wisconsin-Madison five years ago.

  • Anna

    Wow, this makes me think back to an experience I had in the E.R. I was at UCLA’s Medical Center (which is an educational facility) for severe lower abdominal pains. They had SEVERAL doctors and students do pelvic exams on me throughout my time there. I kept wondering why they had to do so many… especially since someone had come in right before the other to do the same exam. I figured they just needed extra opinions or needed to see the change (but the time elapsed didn’t seem that long). I can’t help but think if perhaps they were performing superfluous exams for educational purposes and therefore performing them without my consent.

  • rhowan

    Re: unnecessary pelvic exams on surgery patients
    Y’know, I knew I’d read about this somewhere before…
    This was front page news in The Globe and Mail (the newspaper the article linked above was published in) back in March 24th 2001. They had an entire cluster of articles:
    “Medical schools ‘everywhere’ rife with unethical practices”
    “Patients still seen as training tools doctor says”
    “Unethical practices not just a University of Toronto issue president says”
    “Unneeded medical procedures detailed”
    “Med students question ethics report”

    Nice to know that nine years later not only does the practice continue but it only warrants a single article (in the Health and Fitness section of the paper) and the Globe reporter isn’t even informed enough to reference the history of the issue. Bravo.
    The original articles were in response to a survey of University of Toronto medical students – nearly 50% of whom said that they’d been asked by instructors to do something they felt was unethical.
    From one of the 2001 articles:

    “In my opinion, U of T is probably no different, certainly no worse, than any other school,” Frecker said. “So I’d be very surprised if this sort of behaviour wasn’t from time to time encountered in other schools.”

    The Canadian Medical Association admitted yesterday that teaching hospitals may have taken patients for granted in the past.

    “I think there’s been a perception over the years that patients who enter into care in teaching hospitals, university-associated hospitals, automatically consent or at least give their implicit consent to serve as teaching material in one form or another,” said Dr. John Williams, director of ethics for the association.

    “And in return for that they presumably get better care because here are the experts, the high-level professors of medicine who are looking after them.”

    But that trade-off does not excuse the practices raised by the survey, Williams said.

    P.S. If run into any guys who don’t see what the big deal is, you can mention they also do rectal exams without explicit consent.

  • atouchofthecrazy.wordpress.com

    Fortunately New Zealand has quite stringent guidelines around patient consent these days. Unfortunately it took the deaths of 20 women and many more losing the reproductive organs due to non-treatment of the cervical as part of an unfortunate experiment

  • Brianna G

    I’d probably consent to allowing the exam to be performed, but doing it without my consent would definitely feel like rape. It makes me very glad that I’ve only had surgery with general anesthesia once and that I was young enough it seems unlikely that would have happened (9– they didn’t mention but I sure hope they aren’t doing this to young children, especially since they won’t even do intra-vaginal ultrasounds on women who aren’t sexually active).
    I’m sure it’s a (shitty, unethical) holdover from when women were less likely to consent to such things, but honestly, I don’t know why they don’t just do it during regular pelvic exams! I’ve let nurse practitioner students and med students perform manual breast exams on me before, I wouldn’t object to them learning following the normal pelvic exam.
    The scariest part for me is that so few of the doctors actually question the ethics of this. They just accept it, which proves to me that they clearly either don’t understand the concept of informed consent or that the medical school environment is preventing them from voicing their concerns. Either way, we have a serious problem.

  • Lily A

    I’m confused. In the United States, wouldn’t vaginal penetration of any kind without consent be considered rape or at least sexual assault? If laws in Canada are fairly similar, shouldn’t victims of this practice be able to bring court cases to stop the practice?
    If I found out that I’d been vaginally penetrated while unconscious for any other reason than a medical procedure that was necessary for me, you bet I’d be up in arms.

  • mamram

    According to Stiff, most American medical schools now have their students practice pelvic exams on volunteers. Grossness and ethics aside, conscious volunteers are able to give students feedback, making them the obvious better option all around.

  • Igiveup

    Oh, doing pelvic exams on anesthetized patients is a longstanding practice that goes back decades. I’m 51; I was aware of the practice more than 30 years ago in American hospitals.
    And when I was a patient in the ER for a ruptured ovarian cyst as a college freshman, I had a long line of residents and students doing pelvic exams on me, too. Sometimes three or four in one night. Was I asked? Rarely. Mostly it was put to me as “the attending doctor wants to check what the resident found. Slide your butt down to the end of the table.”
    Lemme tell ya, having four pelvic exams done over a period of two hours when you have a ruptured ovarian cyst is like being gang-raped when you have a ruptured ovarian cyst. I felt sicker and had a great amount of pelvic pain after four exams than I did when I arrived in the ER.
    There was no reason to have me in stirrups that many damned times.

  • aleks

    Why would anyone consciously articulate trusting celebrities? I can see be affected by Morgan Freeman’s voice and why this would make good advertising, but much as I love the man as an actor I can’t give actual reasons I’d trust him as a person.

  • pololly

    I think it’s about the voices. Low deep voices feel soothing and trustworthy. Most of the people on the list are lauded for their voice over work. I think that’s what people find reassuring.
    As for your suggestions – it’s the voices. Imagine a really terrible accident happened outside the house of someone you cared about. Now imagine an ideal stranger’s voice (maybe a policeman) calling you to tell you that no one was hurt and that everything will be ok. That voice – for me, Morgan Freeman. Don’t care that he’s not a woman – it’s Morgan Freeman. This is not about being friendly or talented. I don’t want Tina Fey to call me (I like her but I don’t even know her. Maybe for dinner but not when I think my parents are dead). On that note, I don’t want Brad Pitt or George Clooney or RPatz. I want Morgan Freeman, I want Tom Hanks, I want a smooth irresistable graceful rich low reassuring voice – no jokes, no ego, no ‘personalities’. Most of the people on this list do voice overs in movie after movie and commercial after commercial because of a kind of an enchanting memsmerizing drone that they have.
    Also, this list is about a stable group of people who play similar roles which are always likable and inform people’s perception of them. Will Smith always plays Will Smith. Denzel has played like 1 bad guy role ever and everyone ran around going ‘oh my god, Denzel played a bad guy!’. Otherwise he’s a no drama family guy who’s been married for 20 years. Morgan Freeman’s roles give him so much reverence it borders on Magical Negro type stuff. Tom Hanks is a sweetheart. Bill Cosby’s there ffs – this is not an America’s up and coming talent – this is about people who feel comfortable like a pair of slippers.
    Lol this was a bit long but I have such love for Morgan Freeman, I always feel compelled to defend him.

  • Brittany

    Ugh, I’m thankful that I was 16 and my mom was there the entire time that I was in the hospital for an ovarian cyst, tumor, and an agitated appendix, otherwise I can imagine that I would have had multiple exams as well. My mother was protective and questioned everything being done to me.