Thursday, January 22, 2015

The ASA's New Sexist Home Page

ASA's new home page
With the start of a new calendar year, the American Society of Anesthesiologists has unveiled a brand new home page on their website. They are quite proud of it and hope you like it too. They even provide a convenient link to their web editor so you can express your amazement at the good use of your annual dues to keep their home page fresh and engaging. You know of course that dripping sarcasm is difficult to express on a written page.

So here is my problem with the new site. There is nothing wrong with the new design. It is less cluttered and more prominently offers links to pages that you are most likely to use, like the current news or log in page. But the contents on this particular page are beyond sexist. Their first feature of the year is a discussion on pain in women. I object to the society pandering to females when pain is a universal ailment. Everybody feels pain. Why is the ASA focusing on predominantly female problems like fibromyalgia? And now the ASA claims they have expertise in treating PMS?

What happened to the other half of the world's population that also experiences pain? When I get back from the gym after benching 250 pounds, I get a soreness in my chest and shoulders. What's the ASA's answer to that? After a long weekend trip in the Santa Monica mountains mountain biking, my knees and thighs are screaming for relief. Will the ASA also offer a rose oil rubdown as treatment? Men suffer pain too. We just don't bring as much attention to it as we probably should because, well, we're men. And we can take it.

The other part of the new home page that I find extremely objectionable is the lack of diversity being shown. The slide show that scrolls across the top of the page currently only features one kind of anesthesiologist. I'll give you a hint: none of them are men. All the anesthesiologists pictured are women, even though they make up a minority of the ASA membership. Is this the ASA's idea of membership diversification? Did I miss the memo that January is Women Anesthesiologists Month? The links associated with those pictures aren't even gender specific. They involve subjects like Practice Management and paying your membership dues, neither of which are gender related. Yet every single image is of a female anesthesiologist. Has the ASA been hijacked by the National Organization for Women?

Exclusion of men does not make the ASA more inclusive. The ASA should be embracing all anesthesiologists, not just the politically correct ones. I've never heard anyone complain that there are too many male anesthesiologists. Don't stir up a gender controversy when there is none to begin with.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your comments re ASA website. As a practicing pain specialist (or "physician anesthesiologist".. how ridiculous) nothing irks me more than our own professional organizations making our jobs more difficult. What do I mean? I'm all for public awareness about pain, but the idea that one person's pain is more deserving of our sympathy and professional attention than another's is nonsense. And one can see how making "cancer pain" a national priority has put patients with low back pain on the run. Think Andrew Kolodny. We should be looking at pain treatment in the same way we look at any other field of medicine; you know, symptoms, syndromes, treatments, complications, outcomes, hope.