GYNOCIDE BY THE HOLY
GHOSTS OF MEDICINE AND THERAPY
(Excerpted from” Gyn/Ecology, The Metaethics Of Radical Feminism” by Mary Daly)
“I have shown in the earlier chapters of this passage how women in various cultures—which are merely multi-manifestations of the overall culture of androcracy—
Have often been lulled/lobotomized by the myths and habits of their particular social context. Drugged by the prevailing local dogmas and disabled physically, they have not always seen the intent behind the vicious circle of maiming and murder of mothers and daughters. In twentieth century America, women are lulled by the myths and rituals of gynecology and therapy, believing that “doctor knows best”. We have entered the Ice Age of Gynocidal Gynecology.
A BREIF CRONE-OLOGY
Many feminist have noted the significance of the fact that the massacre of the wise women/healers during the witchcraze was followed by the rise of the man-midwives who eventually became dignified by the name “gynecologist” Gynecology was slow to rise. Man midwives of the 16th 17th 18th and 19th centuries were under fire from women mid-wives, such as Elizabeth Nihell, who described their instruments as “weapons of death”2
Nevertheless, the 19th century witnessed the erection of gynecology over women’s dead bodies. By 1883 —The year of the death of J.Marion Sims, the “father of gynecology”(known as the “architect of the vagina”)—gynecologists could ”apply their knives at will to the whole range of women’s being reduced, as it were, to sex. “3
As G.J. Barker-Benfield shows, the more notorious mid19th century gynecologists were bent upon reducing women to their sex organs.4 Sexual surgery became The Man’s means of restraining women. J. Marion Sims, known for his hatred and abhorrence of female organs, remedied his problems (becoming very rich in the process) by ruthlessly cutting up women’s bodies. He began his life’s work “humbly”, performing dangerous sexual surgery on black female slaves housed in a small building in his yard. But rapidly moved up the professional ladder, becoming the “moving spirit” behind the founding of the Women’s Hospital in New York, which provided him with bodies for his brutal experimental operations. It also provided him with a theater, in which he performed his operations upon indigent women used as guinea pigs before an audience of men.
In his private practice, where he charged enormous fees to the rich, Sims used the “knowledge” gained through the pain and mutilation inflicted upon the poor patients at the Women’s Hospital. There were plenty of victims for Sims and his ilk, for there were women suffering from fistulae and general bad health who were desperate for any hope of help. The historical evidence suggests strongly that their “helper” Sims did not differ essentially from his gynecological colleagues in intent, attitude, and method. He simply was more monomaniacal and ambitious than most men. Internationally famous, honored by his peers, he was an object of adulation at Harvard Medical School, where the students recognized ‘divinity’ in Sims and counted him ‘one of the immortals. ‘5 As Peggy Holland has remarked, such men are” immortal “in the sense that they pass on death and fear their only true offspring.
*Mary Smith, an Irish indigent, suffered thirty of his operations between 1956 and 1959.
The black slave Anarcha had suffered the same number in his backyard stable a decade before.