By Josie Richardson in Huffpost.
Like Victorian women being branded ‘hysterical’, women like my best friend are being silenced.
“ME, that’s the one where you don’t feel like going to work today,” Ricky Gervais once quipped on-stage.
He voices a common feeling. I have heard someone casually proclaim that they must have chronic fatigue after a busy week in the office. A friend once told me in confidence that she thought her co-worker who took time off work for ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) had fabricated her condition. A teacher I know joked over dinner that he suspected that his student who misses school because of the illness was likely having a jolly time at home watching television. Even a recent Sunday Times column referred to ME as “yuppie flu”, an outdated term that implies the illness is the preserve of an indulged youth. It is comments like these that I have become more attuned to since my friend Chloe became unwell. Yet what is little acknowledged is that ME disproportionately affects women – in fact, four times more women than men suffer from it. So we need to ask ourselves, is our dismissal of ME sexist?
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