Chivalry or Rights? Pick one.

Another stimulating and educational week in the internal med department!

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If you’re a curious student, ready to drop the self-conscious mindset and go headfirst into learning medicine, being an intern is the place for you.

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Sometimes I consider the irony when I feel like I’m getting paid to ask questions, but I guess that’s part of being a student? “Don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask questions, you won’t get much out of this experience, and we don’t get as good of a doctor in the future. Your endless questions are a win-win.” This was what I was told after I spent nearly the entire day with a giant question mark hovering over my head as I wrote about an entirely new-to-me procedure. I felt like I was constantly interrupting my senior doctor (I was), preventing him from being his most effective (I did) and I was irritating the hell out of him (most likely). But I learned a lot, and hopefully someday I’ll be actually helpful to that department instead of just a giant pain in the 😉

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This week I’ve had the pleasure of working with a really bright male collegue. He’s one year ahead of me in school (and acts it). He’s been kind and generous, teaching me how to take an arterial blood gas sample, hear a certain murmur, write an epicrisis so the superiors don’t dismantle my writing 18 times before accepting it… a lot of valuable lessons to take from this practice! He’s also taught me another valuable lesson:

Is chivalry dead?

When we were on rounds for example, our senior doctor heard an interesting, rare murmur, naturally he wanted his students to hear it. Male intern X and I were standing side by side. It was only the two of us with the senior physician. To my surprise, he took the initiave to listen to it first without glancing in my direction to see if I was getting my stethoscope ready. Or, in another day of impropriety, I was walking to lunch with a bunch of male interns. Am I from the 1800s if I expect one of them to keep the door open for me? Gentlemen, please.

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I personally hate the saying “Chivalry isn’t dead, feminism just killed it” because the term ‘feminism’ in itself is too expansive or interprative to blame.  Merriam-Webster calls feminism :  “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Ok, social equality = no opening doors or practicing the ‘ladies first’ principle! Nope. Social equality then means, by definition “a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects, often including civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights, and equal access to social goods and services.” (Wikipedia)

Common courtesy, chivalry, manners aren’t mentioned here, are they? “Social equality” is not exclusive of good manners. But is the act of opening doors for women considered well mannered, or old fashioned?

I noticed over the course of the week this guy made it pretty clear women are equal to men in the workplace. In every respect. Finland is known for having a profound reputation for equality in the workplace; salary differences are practically non-existant. We have the highest percentage of female politicians in the EU. We take pride in all of these exemplary changes, but do women and men really have no difference at all? 

I’ve honestly been surprised several times this week. Men, you’ve taken this women’s equality thing too far! Bow to me.

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