Things You Shouldn’t See At The Doctor’s Office

Going to the gynecologist’s office is no picnic, let me assure you. If you’re a man and don’t know firsthand, turning our heads and coughing would be a welcome experience compared to the annual gynecological check-up.

A gynecological exam requires that you take everything off and allow someone you hardly know to view and feel your most private areas. For every woman I know, this is uncomfortable.

But this is our health we’re talking about, so we do what we need to do.

My gynecologist’s office recently began offering some new services. Services like:

  • laser hair removal
  • liposuction
  • treatment of spider veins
  • cosmetic procedures for facial imperfections

Wait, what?

I’m here for the good of my health, trying to prevent things like uterine and ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. This is a medical office.

So, what does my Doctor’s office decide to do? Make it even less comfortable by reminding all of us that we need to fix our fucked up veins and fat thighs.

Pregnant women spend a lot of time at this office. If you’ve been pregnant, you know that it’s not out of the realm of possibility for your confidence in your appearance to falter while you’re creating new life. Is that the right time to hit people up for liposuction?

This is about having a captive audience. It’s the cross-sell. “We have lots of women here. What else can we sell them? What other services might our audience purchase?”

Where is the Doctor who stands up and says, no! We are responsible for the health of our patients! We are not here to push cosmetic services on them simply because we can.

Apparently, at my Doctor’s office, that person doesn’t exist.

As If It’s Not Bad Enough…

Last year, media planning agency PHD commissioned a study to find out the days of the week and the time of day when we feel least attractive. Why? So marketing messages can be timed for when we’re feeling most vulnerable.

You can call this basic marketing. I call it offensive. Women are hit with unrealistic and unattainable images of beauty all day long.

The marketing strategy of companies that sell beauty products is this: make women feel badly about themselves by showing us images of other women that are flat-out fake, then tell us that we can look like that too, if only we would buy this product.

It’s wrong. But the fact is that selling products and making money is their job.

It should not be the job of my health care provider.

To get me when I’m already feeling vulnerable, and then try to sell me cosmetic services to fix everything that’s “wrong with me” is far beneath what I’d expect from the people to whom I entrust my health, and even my life.

I wonder how many women share my reaction when they see these signs in the gynecologist’s office. I wonder how many never think about how offensive this manipulative strategy is. And saddest of all, I wonder how many women actually purchase these services because they didn’t feel attractive during a medical exam.

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