“I’ve had a medical condition that’s required me to be taken care of for the last few years and now I’m ready to be taken seriously.”
Despite the quotation marks it’s not a direct quote, but it is the story of a person I was in conversation with recently. She was maybe in her 30s?
Immediately I was struck by how those two things—needing care with routine life and having your thoughts and feelings be taken seriously—don’t need to be linked at all and how we tend to make them so.
The most obvious example is Stephen Hawking, a brilliant scientist with ALS that slowly paralyzed him.
His brain worked quite fine, even when he couldn’t speak or walk or take care of any maintenance functions on his own.
He could be both cared for and taken seriously.
So can you, or the people around you.
We lump brain and body together all the time. We, on the whole, don’t take seriously children, elderly, people in wheelchairs, and others.
I suspect that the perspective of women needing to be cared for feeds the difficulty in women being taken seriously. (On a tangent—where did that even come from? it’s man flu, not woman flu… And who actually makes the house run?)
Since this weaving is culturally so integrated, we tend not to notice when we apply the “since they need physical and/or emotional care, they must be intellectually irrelevant” stamp.
The result is: you need to tuck it in your brain to notice when it happens instead of just thinking about it and believing what you can remember.
It’s possible to be unable to wipe your butt and still have valid thoughts and feelings.