Masking the Feminine Physique




In medical school, we learn to perform all different kinds of exam on standardized patients. We learn how to listen to breath sounds, check for pulses, and to palpate abdomens. We also learn how to perform GU exams, on both men and women. We learned what an ovary felt like on a bimanual exam, and how to check a testicle for masses. Standardized patients are trained to be professional during these exams and to help the young doctors learn how to perform different aspects of the exam.


My first male GU exam was performed on a standardized patient.

As I initiated by testicular exam, my standardized patient developed an erection.


Immediately following the exam, one of my female mentors debriefed my experience. I was upset, and obviously afraid I had done something wrong. As our debrief concluded, my mentor suggested I wear less flattering clothing to decrease the chance of this happening again. This was not to reprimand me, but to aid my future in medicine.


She had navigated this male dominated world.

She had her own similar experience.

She had learned to hide her body and was preparing me for a future in medicine