Advocating for comfortable boundaries at the doctor's office can be a tricky and uncomfortable process no matter what, and this feeling is multiplied if you're a woman getting a mammogram.
After encountering multiple uncomfortable experiences with a male doctor, Sarah Silverman posted on Instagram about why she's decided to switch to a new mammographer, this time, a woman.
She wrote about the ways his behavior fell outside the bounds of professionalism, and how seemingly small behaviors like not wearing gloves and brushing up against her with his fingers made the experience tense.
"I had a shitty time at my mammogram appt today.
I have to get an ultrasound after my mammograms because I have dense breasts (insert joke here) and this radiologist — the same man I had last year — I do not like him and here is why:
He opened my gown and put gel on my breasts and smeared it around with his bare hands. Then he started talking to me about my chest X-ray (I also got a chest X-Ray) and was pontificating with my boobs just out and covered in gel and cold and finally I said 'Hey-can we either talk about this when I’m dressed or WHILE your doing the ultrasound? I’m not comfortable with my breasts out just shooting the shit with you'"
"Okay so — he smears the gel on with his hands and NO GLOVES on and when he glides the ultrasound wand thing over my breasts he drags his fingers on them and it fucking bothers me. Again, AS I TOLD HIM LAST YEAR, I said “Hey! Do you need to be touching me with your fingers?” He said “No”. And he pulled them off of me. Then he added “I do that for balance.” I said “Well I believe in you and I think you can do with without your fingers on me”
"Look, I truly don’t think he was getting off on it, BUT it is his job to be aware that this is vulnerable for a woman. Wear fucking GLOVES - this isn’t a date. For him to be so arrogant that he didn’t even internalize the problem when I said something to him about it last year is obnoxious and probably a subconscious power thing if we’re getting deep."
"That was my last mammogram with this dude. Or any dude.
Look. I’m a grown woman and I’m fine. But this guy does this with everyone and I know that personally it took many years into adulthood before I spoke up for myself. It’s uncomfortable and too easy to think it’s all in your head. And arrogant fucks like this doctor take advantage of women’s socialized instinct to not speak up.
All this to say speak up. Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this shit ain’t right."
While Silverman wrote that she doesn't think the doctor was intentionally trying to creep her out, she also noted that he didn't change his behavior after she called out her own discomfort, and that it's crucial people - women in particular, listen to our instincts when it comes to what makes us feel off.
This need for boundaries applies across the board, but in situations as vulnerable as the doctor's office the stakes are even higher, so it's nice to see someone with a platform as huge as Silverman speak to this need.