I respond to a couple of recent posts at Ms. Magazine and Gender Across Borders that look at breast cancer and Saudi Arabian women for Muslimah Media Watch. It was also cross-posted at Gender Across Borders.
The articles failed to consider Muslim women’s experience with reproductive health providers and illness:
From my own anecdotal evidence, Muslim and non-Muslim women I have spoken with—both hijab-wearing and non-hijab wearing alike—discussed their oftentimes horrendous, awkward experience with reproductive healthcare providers—both male and female—who come across as distant and oblivious to different cultural understandings of health and preventative measures.
What kind of impact might bad experiences with providers have on women who are already disenfranchised from partaking in preventative health measures? How do cultural understandings of health and illness influence whether one seeks preventative health measures at all? These nuanced questions are lost in the reduction of women’s wellbeing to how their burqa-wearing prevents them from seeking preventative care.