I recently discussed on Hathor how birth control pills are the only solid treatment for many cases of PCOS in which a woman is not trying to get pregnant. A commenter shared it on Facebook and got the following response from a male med student reading her Facebook:
“Annie, that has to be the most absurd, far-fetched article I’ve ever read. I didn’t think you’d bother with the works of idiots. Even if birth control was banned, it wouldn’t stop doctors from prescribing estrogen/progesterone mixes to patients with PCOD… such a bad article.”
Sounds convincing, doesn’t he? Makes it all sound so simple. But there’s a problem. What he’s saying is strikingly ignorant.
I actually have PCOS. I’ve seen a number of OB-GYNs and endocrinologists about it. They all have decades of experience on this dude. They all insist I need to take birth control pills for it even though I’ve told them I’d rather not because of pill side effects. I have specifically asked them if another hormone treatment would work without side effects. Not only, they assure me, do all hormone treatments have side effects, but no other type would address my issues.
Why not? It seems the goal of treating PCOS (in patients not currently trying to get pregnant) is to stimulate regular menstruation. Birth control pills do this, but they also block ovulation. Fertility drugs, which stimulate or regulate ovulation, are not an alternative for a couple of reasons: (1) they use much higher doses of hormones, which are not intended for long-term use (and women with PCOS can expect to need medication for many years) and (2) they don’t guarantee regular menstruation, which is the whole damn point. Basically, any hormonal solution that ensures regular periods will also block pregnancy, and then we’ll be right back to this same tired battle. Go ahead and Bing-fu yourself silly. I’ve looked online for any hint that there are medications other than the pill that will work. There are some claims that losing weight will do it, but these are based on the old assumption that being fat causes PCOS. New research indicates that it’s the other way around.
How is it some people feel so confident everyone will believe any bullshit they spout that they make up contradictory research to someone else’s research and expect to be believed? Well, in my experience, having a penis seems to be helpful here. From the time we determine a newborn is a boy, we start grooming him to speak authoritatively, not cooperatively, and bluff when he doesn’t have the answer because a Real Man (TM) would have the answer. At the same time, we groom girls to speak in soothing supportive tones even when they’re trying to gently correct some ignorant man who’s about to get twelve people killed because he can’t admit he doesn’t know what to do. And we groom everybody to think that men always know what they’re talking about because they’re men and omniscience is a trait of maleness.
Not only is this a shitty way to treat women, but it’s a horrible burden to put on any conscientious man.
Not that that’s what we’re dealing with in that Facebook comment. No, this is someone who’s comfortable dispensing wisdom to women that’s misleading and could even harm their health. And this is why in my naturally cautious appraisal of whose advice I’m actually going to give some credence to, I don’t take men seriously until they demonstrate that they are capable of saying “Oh, you must know more about it than I do” to a woman. If they’re not, then they’re just some egotistical male-privileged bastard, and the odds are against them having anything meaningful to contribute. Or at least, I consider the odds low: I’ve never met a smart bigot.
This is all a special privilege we extend to men. The privilege to be believed when they’re talking out their asses. Hell, we post researched stuff like the above-mentioned article at Hathor and they don’t believe us. We post stuff with loads of citations and links like my article on How Not to Raise a Rapist and they treat it like a fluff opinion piece – women, too. At first I assumed that was because the public schools have degraded to the point kids don’t know what research is anymore. But maybe it’s just that I’m not a man, and therefore shouldn’t be believed even if all the research I’m quoting comes from men.