ME/CFS And Sexism

 

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From Jameson Writes.

 

For those who have watched Jen Brea’s Ted Talk, or read other accounts of life with MECFS, like Julie Rehmeyer’s new book, Through the Shadowlands and my essay in Quartz a few months ago, then you know that medical neglect is a big part of the disease’s narrative.

Also within this narrative is an underlying theme of sexism. There’s no doubt that sexism, both consciously and unconsciously, is real as it pertains to people with MECFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome) and the medical professionals who treat us. In fact it seems the topic has been coming up more and more lately so I thought I would chime in.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is an incredibly patronizing name, there’s no denying that. And some feel that one reason it was given that name is because when it first showed up on the radar of doctors, and society in general, it seemed as though the people afflicted by the disease were mostly middle-aged, middle-class women. Some feel that a bunch of pretentious, middle-aged men from a certain government organization, took a trip to Lake Tahoe (where one of the first big outbreaks happened); then they did some skiing and ultimately decided that a bunch of middle-aged women were faking their illness. Whether that was exactly what happened, I don’t know because, well, I wasn’t even born yet. But I think it’s fair to say some version of that went down.

 

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