Smear tests: an intersectional look at why we don’t attend, by @PhilippaWrites

Cross-posted from: Philippa Willitts for Global Comment
Originally published: 26.01.18

Seven years ago, I collected stories on Twitter about surprising things that people had had said to them during a smear test and published them. From one woman who was recognised from being on TV to others being complimented on their cervix, it is clear that inappropriate comments are far from unusual.

Others experienced colleagues of the doctor or nurse, including students, attending without permission or even entering the room during the course of the examination and, although many people in the discussion were keen to point out that smear tests are usually painless and quick, it was clear that they are not painless enough, or quick enough, for many.

Anyone who has suffered the indignity of a gynaecological examination knows the score. At best, it’s a bit awkward but essentially fine; at worst, it’s humiliating, painful, damaging and triggering. It can cause physical injury, it can lead to misgendering and it can cause psychological trauma. At least one person I know have even had her GP tell her to skip smear tests in the future because the potential benefit of detecting cervical cancer does not weigh up against the trauma to her mental health that she experiences whenever a speculum is involved in her care. …

 

First published at Global Comment. You can find the whole text here.

 

Incurable HippieMad, disabled, feminist, radical, angry, lesbian, pacifist, warrior, geek, flower-power chick… About hippie blog? Somewhat neglected but still well loved. Bits and bobs from a British glasses-wearing, sweary, fat, disabled, atheist ex-Catholic, anti-capitalist, pacifist feminist lesbian with eclectic tastes. (@PhilippaWrites)

 

Photo: Pan American Health Organization/Creative Commons via Global Comment

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