Experts only go so far

In our lecture on Thursday, we reevaluated Katz and Foucault’s stance on experts, especially in relation to “Our Bodies, Ourselves”.  “Our Bodies, Ourselves” says “once we had learned what the ‘experts’ had to tell us, we found that we still had a lot to teach and to learn from one another,” implying that experts are not the only source of information, and are not always a reputable source of information.  As Katz and Foucault argue, experts themselves are members of society and as such are swayed by society.

Last year I was in a Davidson doctor’s office.  After waiting 2 hours past my appointment time, I was finally called back.  The first publicized rapes on campus were coming out, and the media was having a field day.  So of course my nurse wanted to ask me all about it.  I have to say, I have heard stories and seen arguments about how awful rape culture is, but it never really stuck to me.  This is the first day I became truly angry about how rape is handled.  The nurse used all the arguments I have heard before, they were probably drunk, they were probably dressed provocatively, etc., but for the first time these arguments felt like attacks on me personally.

The nurse admitted that she had a 17 year old son in high school in the Davidson area.  She argued that 13 year old girls were walking down the street wearing barely anything.  She said “how am I supposed to stop my son from viewing them sexually and raping them if they are dressed in that kind of way.”  I was dumbfounded.  Had someone in the medical community really just said that?  In our last class, I got to thinking.  How would this nurse had viewed things differently if her 17 year old had been a daughter and not a son?  Would she have expressed concern the other way?  Would she have fought this victim-shaming rape culture which she was a part of?  And my goodness, what type of parenting is being taught nowadays?!?

Experts are effected.  Experts are not only effected by the changes and waves of society’s thinking, but also by their own bubble.  Their own friends, their own family structures.  This nurse was in no way right, and in no way was it acceptable to say all of this to me, a person she had just met.  However, this example shows us (an extreme way) of how society and family culture effects views.  Experts cannot be trusted for everything.