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II. A Glimpse of God

II. A Glimpse of God


II. A Glimpse of God Phillida BUNKLE 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Orifice' quoted from a standard medical textbook of the late 1960s. If the gynaecologist '. . . is made in the image of the Almighty, and if he is kind, then his kindness and concern for this patient may provide her with a glimpse of God's image' (Scott, 1968: 25; quoted in Scully and Bart, 1973: 286). I was reminded of it recently when the Ritchie inquiry in Britain (Ritchie, 2000) found that a 'disgraced gynecologist ... was able to severely maim hundreds of women patients because of a hospital culture in which consultants were treated as "gods" and junior staff were afraid of "telling tales"' (Hartley-Brewer, 2000: 2). In the 1960s, doctors were the authorities on women's bodies. Only they could look at, and know about, 'Down There' or 'It'. Women had no alternative information and nowhere to obtain it. The columns of women's magazines were mystifying. Public libraries had 'such material' in a cage under lock and key and entry to the medical library was jealously guarded. The professionalization of medicine from the mid-19th century established a medical monopoly of
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