Friday, June 18, 2010

From Sex and the City to Animal Farm: Voices of Women

This week brought aggravation. Not just the I’m-on-call-and-everybody-wants-a-piece-of-me-now stuff, but a lot of committee meetings. As I sat through these “events” I felt angry.
I am not opposed to what we were discussing; much of it makes a lot of sense. So why did I want to shout “No,” and do a Diva-stomp out of the room?
I finally figured it out. For several years I have wanted to make our section better, starting with another faculty member. A salary line received approval a few years back, but we were not allowed to recruit. Even when we confirmed increases in our patient volumes, we were told to wait, to be patient, to be team players. For years our opinions and desires have been ignored or minimized.
Now, a lot of other people are telling us what we must do. They don’t necessarily listen to our input, even when it might be in a patient’s best interest. They have their own agenda, and if we are in the way, well, too damn bad.
Animal Farm We have lost our voice. This theme recurred throughout Sex and the City 2: Miranda’s new boss, Carrie’s bad book review, and the veiled women of the middle east. All literally or symbolically suffered a blockade of their mouths.
I wonder if this could have anything to do with the composition of our section; after all, we are two women. Would a group of men be this disenfranchised? Ever?
In Animal Farm, society initially regulates itself by the Seven Commandments, summarized as all animals are equal. By the end of the book, the powers in charge have changed the most important commandment:
Yup, I know how they feel. My section, my specialty is definitely less equal these days.
And it’s damn irritating. Maybe I should practice my Diva-stomp.



    You sound like you feel frustrated and mad, right? And in IS SALINE TOXIC? you sound intrigued, right? For you would like the world to be fair and we men to understand, correct? I have two MD daughters--you have a tough row to hoe!

    As a new poster of comments, I feel isolated for I seem to need a challenge to my views so I would like a post in response with how I work the web for mutual satisfaction. The screen says, "Your comment was published." Where? Can I read it? Would you direct me to it?

  2. Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. When administrators learn that particular entities or individuals can be fucked with and they don't fight back, then they just keep fucking with you. If you and your colleague in your section had gone to the department chair with a credible offer to take your research programs and clinical practice and go elsewhere, I bet you would have actually got your hiring slot.

  3. My colleague won't go anywhere, and would never threaten to rock the boat. The position would be funded by ANOTHER DEPARTMENT to support their clinical activities. I really can't understand why my chair (and his predecessor) refuses to grab the cash and get another body.
    I have told my chair that once my son graduates next spring, I will have no reason I have to stay in Omaha; he might find himself with only one nephrologist. And my husband is being actively recruited at places that wouldn't mind having another nephrologist with other skills (like research, faculty development, and some of my other hobbies).
    Once again, I got the "be patient" talk.
    Sometimes you find out what your real value is.
    Now I just have to resist the urge to smack people for a year or so...