Another day, another disheartening shitshow on Twitter. What I’m referring to is this thread, in which an autistic woman, @LakeZenobia, tackles celebrity doctor Dr Christian Jessen about the harmful representation of autism in Netflix’s new show Atypical.
What followed was sadly inevitable. @LakeZenobia made a number of excellent points about the difficulties women, trans & non-binary and PoC face in getting diagnosed with autism. She made points about the sterotypical view of autism and gender bias and how it harms women. Our Doc blatantly refused to listen to her and dismissed her points as opinions.
Whilst this is enfuriating on it’s own – here we have yet another male doctor not listening to a woman who is explaining her own lived experience, it is characterisitic of the wider problem with women being belittled, dimissed, ignored and undermined by medical professionals. This attitide is toxic; it is harming us.
Autism and ADHD are massively underdiagnosed in girls and women (and PoC), which can result in serious mental health problems. Women are more likely to be affected by an autoimmune disorder, yet it takes years to be diagnosed. Women’s pain is ignored or not taken seriously, something I can personally attest to (that is a story for another time). Until fairly recently the medical profession were missing heart attacks in women, as they don’t present like men. The British Heart Foundation now issues a symptom list for women. Whilst researching this I found a paper on how sleep apnea symptoms in women were being disregarded by medical professionals.
Is is any wonder we’re tired and angry? Is it any wonder we will call you out when you are clearly have no idea what yo are talking about? Medical proessionals: please, please just shut up and listen.