I'm still too young (and, theoretically, not genetically cancer-prone enough) to require regular mammograms, but I've certainly been faced with the choice of seeing a male gynecologist right now or waiting a few days for a lady doctor. This is not a difficult decision. As long as the dude's a non-creepy professional, it's a no-brainer to uncouple gender dynamics from one's desire to stop having this fucking yeast infection as soon as possible. So I can't imagine personally having a problem getting a mammogram from a man. But what about women in cultures where gender dynamics are slightly more fraught than ours?
In Abu Dhabi, for instance, women have been having a difficult time getting appointments with female mammogram technologists, and report feeling traumatized by their experiences with male ones:
"I visited a private hospital in the capital recently, and was shocked to find that my mammogram was scheduled to take place with a male technician," Gulf News quoted a Lebanese resident as saying.
"The whole procedure was disturbing and I only went through with it because my physician had recommended an immediate mammogram," she said.
"I had asked for an appointment with a female technologist at a private hospital, but was told there would be a delay of a few months. Since I was worried and wanted to check that there was no risk from a cyst that had been diagnosed, I agreed to a male technician doing the screening. It was very, very difficult," H.H. said.
A representative from the Health Authority Abu Dhabi explains that "cultural sensitivities in the UAE made the whole process extremely distressing for women, especially since mammograms require intensive assessments for over ten minutes." On the one hand, it seems counterproductive to ban male technologists from performing mammograms on willing female patients; on the other, women shouldn't have to choose between their physical health and their emotional well-being.
So. Should men be allowed to perform mammograms? I mean, in general, of course they should. As long as female patients have the opportunity to opt out and there are a sufficient number of female mammographers to care for them, then who cares if there are willing women out there getting their boobs scanned by dudes? I'm not an expert on the demographics of Abu Dhabi (abu-dhobviously), but I wonder whether the region's gender politics make female medical professionals a rarer breed than males ones. If you can't find a woman to perform your mammogram, then where do you go with your boob problems?