Our Perceptions of Media and Women
The most surprising between these two articles was the focus on the struggle of the doctors, who were men, rather than the women being operated on. As we address the feelings of the men, the directors of the show purposely discard the feelings and lives of the women as there will always be other women patients. In OB-GYN, which is a field whose patients are predominantly women, it is shocking to see that in a field like medicine where lives matter that the lives of these women were just thrown away each episode. Instead in the show The Knick, we focus on Dr.Christiansen’s and Dr.Thackery’s struggles as they fail to save countless women and babies. Breathless is similar in ignoring the struggles of women as the man, Dr.Powell, was seen to have saved women and have a power over them. Even a powerful woman in Breathless, Margaret, a fairly successful business owner with no husband had her decision for a caretaking nurse removed by Dr.Powell in order to please an estranged couple and “fix” their relationship. For these shows, as it was obvious it was patriarchal society at the time, you would’ve expected women to have more of a role when their life was endangered or prior to an operation. But their decisions were decided before already by the male doctors.
It wasn’t surprising that the medical doctors were all men and all innovations were created by men. It is understandably that a show focused in the 1900s would want to be historically accurate. As sexist as it seems, it is the truth that men dominated the medical field and other science based careers in the past. It’s also important that in the show The Knick, it presented the medical field’s failures. The doctor doesn’t always save the patients. It was through, unfortunately, multiple failures in saving the women and their fetus that doctors were able to deduce a method to save women. It is sad that we never really get to know these women who died as the show only briefly gave them a role in the show and used them as a plot device to keep the plot going.
To further research examinations of pop culture and views of the patriarchal beginnings of medicine, I think one should ask “Did the view of only men in medicine influence girls in the past that it was a norm that only men had the intelligence and the strength to be doctors?, “Did the lack of female characters change people’s perception of the capabilities of women?”, and “At what point did women start having more prominent roles in these shows and what influence them?”. A question I would ask the author of Lady Science would be “Did these show influence the people that women were minor in the medical field as both doctors and patients or did these were these society’s views of women at the time?”.