We are writing to voice concerns over a segment in the March edition entitled “Gold Digger or Lucky? Being Married to an EP.” (EMN 2017;39:5; http://bit.ly/2nZv5VB.)
We are disheartened that EMN would feature a piece like this prominently in the issue. The piece bears little if any resemblance to other high-value segments in the issue. It is not news but rather a gossip-style column that reinforces as many stereotypes about female spouses of physicians as it attempts to break down. This includes things you'd commonly hear in the 1950s like the wife as secretary for the husband, the focus on gossip among women, and multiple allusions to using alcohol as a compensatory mechanism. The simple use of the phrase “married to medicine” in and of itself is troublesome because it implies subjugation of the spouse's life and aspirations to those of the physician partner.
In addition, the editorial decision to title the article, “Married to Medicine: Gold Digger or Lucky? Being Married to an EP” doesn't just invalidate any reasonable point in the article, it undermines the credibility of any article written by this author in the future. Can you imagine an article with that title ever being written by a man? You can't because it wouldn't happen.
We are living in an era where female physicians continue to struggle for equality of pay, opportunity, and promotions. Within the larger society, women continue to see and hear messages that marginalize their role as being one of support for their husband's careers. We struggle to provide an environment of support for all our colleagues to be active members of their home and work lives, regardless of gender. Feminism is about choice, but it is not about continuing to perpetuate the stereotypes of the past. It is about moving both genders forward to equal ground. We understand that this is just an article and its impact on the hearts and minds of society will be minimal, but our question isn't simply about the content but where that content was placed. What role does this column play in moving the specialty forward? In moving medicine forward?
The simple answer is that it does not do these things, and has no place in EMN. In an issue featuring incredible articles on TAPSE, sudden death, reflection, TBI care, and reducing gender bias, we have an article featured before all of these that offers little to any reader. Would we see an article like this in the Annals of Emergency Medicine? In the New England Journal of Medicine? Our concerns regarding this column are focused on the value of the content, the biases, the editorial decisions, and stereotypes it echoes from prior eras as well as the utter lack of substance.
As loyal readers, we are gravely disappointed that EMN would frame a conversation in this manner and urge you to more carefully consider what belongs in this publication.
Anand Swaminathan & Beth Watson
Dara & Michael Kass
Natalie & Oli May
Dan & Katie Runde
Evie & Paul Marcolini