She referred to Kate as a “silly girl” and told her she needed to calm down.
- She referred to Kate as a “silly girl” and told her she needed to calm down.
- He asked if this was “the silly girl” he’d heard about, and then told her to control herself.
- Nevertheless, everyday sexism, particularly in the form of paternalistic and patronising language, remains common throughout UK obstetric care, according to our research.
- In our study exploring birth experiences, many participants told stories of interventions during childbirth, including surgery, that were performed without consent, or adequate pain relief.
- Participants also discussed experiences of their own views or knowledge about what was happening to their bodies, being ignored.
- The language used about and to pregnant women matters because it sets the context for the way in which they are treated and the extent to which they are valued as experts in what is happening to their own bodies.
- This may be because paternalistic language can be difficult to call out.
- For these contributors to the discussion, the language used by health care professionals wasn’t as important as the quality of the healthcare they were providing.
“Good girls” don’t complain
- This concern prevented many of them from putting in a complaint.
- Our findings suggest that the extent of experiences of sexist language, and more overt discriminatory or poor practice, may be significantly under reported.
Nadia von Benzon does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.