Masters of Sex: Kyrie Eleison
July 21, 2014 5:48 PM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Masters begins a new job at Memorial Hospital. Johnson, meanwhile, still alienated at Maternity, is torn between pressing Masters to rehire her and staying by DePaul's side. Libby hires a nanny.
posted by oh yeah! (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I guess that was better than last week, though I still have no real sense of where the show is going this season. It feels more soap-opera-y somehow, without a goal like the study presentation in sight.

And I guess some of Bill's pettiness has finally rubbed off on Libby, with the way she belittled Cora.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2014


Betty owns
posted by edeezy at 1:42 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Rose subplot was fascinating. I had some conflicting reactions to it. I totally get why Masters didn't perform the procedure she requested, and I'm glad he didn't I can also see how some modern women might be bothered by it in the other direction. As I understand it, it's nearly impossible for a young woman to convince a doctor to perform a hysterectomy or even a tubal ligation, because the doctors always think they know better. So, hurrah to William Masters for not giving into the horrible demands of that girl's awful misguided parents. Boo that it still ended up being an old white dude that decided what was best for that girl's body...
posted by wabbittwax at 8:47 AM on July 22, 2014


It's especially ironic for someone as non-parental as Bill to be all "you need your uterus for future babies!", but it's my understanding that it's only in more recent decades that doctors learned that they could remove the uterus without removing the ovaries, and that a 1950s hysterectomy would have more drastic side effects than just sterility? Though if that had been one of his reasons for objecting, it would have been better for the show to be explicit about it.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:00 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was so nice to see a hackneyed plot device used to make Dr. Masters look vaguely human and another to make his wife look less so.

Where is the series going this season?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2014


I really like Coral. I hope she sticks around. Also the actress is familiar? I'm not recognizing anything from her wikipedia page, but it looks like she has her own talk show starting soon? Good for her; she seems great.

Also I love Lizzy Caplan but Virginia is starting to really annoy me. Not sure why, exactly. (That being said, the subplot with her and Lillian was, again, lovely.)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2014


"The Rose subplot was fascinating. I had some conflicting reactions to it. I totally get why Masters didn't perform the procedure she requested, and I'm glad he didn't I can also see how some modern women might be bothered by it in the other direction."

What wasn't made clear in the episode is that the parents didn't want Rose to have a hysterectomy for the purposes of avoiding pregnancy, but because there was a period in the first through the middle part of the twentieth century where involuntary total hysterectomies were considered an appropriate treatment for promiscuity, both for minors and for women by court order. It is an extreme and shocking example of patriarchal control of women's sexuality.

As Rose made clear, she didn't want the hysterectomy primarily because of the sterilization, she wanted it because she believed, as did her mother, that it would "cure" her of her promiscuity.

I agree that the issues involved are complicated by the fact that medicine to this day is patriarchal with regard to strongly dissuading women from anything that might reduce their ability to conceive in the future and that Bill Masters's concerns, as he stated them, strongly featured that "but you may want to have children someday" theme that is still so damn common from patriarchal doctors today. However, I think that it was clear that his primary motivation for refusing to perform the surgery was that it wasn't, in fact, an appropriate treatment for her condition and that it would do more damage than good, and that Rose was strongly influenced by the viewpoints and demands of her parents.

A good comparison would be a contemporary young woman, still living with her parents in an extremely culturally conservative household affiliated with those cultures that practice female genital mutilation, and where the family doesn't practice it as a matter of course but does believe that a) promiscuity is wrong; b) FGM reduces promiscuity; and c) that insisting that the daughter undergo FGM is the only way out of shame for the daughter and the whole family. We can easily imagine a young woman of such a family agreeing with this; and we can easily imagine other members of the community going along with it.

As a rule, I very strongly support a woman's, and any individual's, bodily autonomy and all things being equal, I may strongly dislike the choice of an adult woman to undergo FGM, but I believe that is her decision. All things being equal, I feel the same way about all sorts of other body modifications people do or want to do and encounter resistance from doctors, including even things like people who want amputation because they're alienated from a limb. But, again, that's "all things being equal". In all cases, I would first require that I could feel sure that someone is making this decision for themselves (and is not being coerced in one way or another by someone else) and that they are fully mentally competent. (Note that I won't accept a desire for something culturally stigmatized as being prima facie proof of incompetency; I think the burden of proof lies with demonstrating an identifiable and unambiguous cognitive deficiency.)

So what I'm saying is that were Rose a 28-year-old woman who wasn't living with her parents and who decided that she wanted a hysterectomy, I'd feel differently about this situation. But that's not what was happening in this episode. And it certainly wasn't the case that this hysterectomy was all about anyone's chief concerns about Rose not becoming pregnant in the future. Maybe both Rose and her parents felt that was an additional benefit; but the primary rationale was that there was an absurd prevailing belief that all sorts of mental ilnesses that women suffered from, or rather things that were labeled as mental illnesses, originated in the uterus and would be alleviated by a hysterectomy. And more to the point, this was specifically so with regard to promiscuity, which was highly stigmatized and thought to be self-evidently a mental illness. A mental illness that could best be cured by involuntarily sterilizing women.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:35 AM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


but because there was a period in the first through the middle part of the twentieth century where involuntary total hysterectomies were considered an appropriate treatment for promiscuity, both for minors and for women by court order. It is an extreme and shocking example of patriarchal control of women's sexuality.

It wasn't until I was watching the movie Hysteria that I'd ever actually thought about why the procedure was given the name hysterectomy, and how utterly fucked up that is.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:30 PM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Agreed on the implications of the Rose sideplot, but the doctor covering up long enough to get Virginia to get him off ....

I, too, feel like pizza.
posted by tilde at 11:30 AM on August 9, 2017


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