Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Be honest, when you hear "the doctor will see you now" do you expect to see a male or female appear?
Danielle Ofri, MD describes this conundrum in a post for Tara Parker-Pope's WellBlog for The New York Times, "Assuming the Doctor's a 'He'". Ofri, a professor, practicing physician and a woman, describes the pervasive societal perception that MD means MALE. Ofri offers a personal example including a letter she received from an English professor whose class read one of her papers and came to the following conclusion:
“More than half the students,” the professor wrote, “assumed that you were a man — despite your name. When asked why, many said that your writerly voice was unmistakably masculine: logical, confident, secure, sometimes sarcastic…and, above all, that you are an M.D.”
Men playing the role of doctor might have been the status quo 40 years ago, but now, more than a decade into the 21st century, is this really still the default? To "test" the veracity of these student's comments, Ofri uploaded the same paper onto the site Gender Genie to determine how masculine her "writerly" voice actually was. The results were surprising-- according to the algorithm, the first two pages of the paper came back as "male" in tone while the complete document was deemed "female." (Visit the Gender Genie site to see how various words are ranked and calibrated-- fascinating). Ofri concludes her article asking readers if it actually matters how people perceive the gender of a doctor. What do you think?
Does it really matter if you hear doctor and think male?