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Behavior in Private Places

The book “Behavior in Private Places: Sustaining Definitions of Reality in Gynecological Examinations” (1970) by Joan P. Emerson explains the societal making of realism within an experimental setting, where medics face a specific problem of taking control of the situation  and focusing on detecting venereal issues without having any sexual overtones. According to Emerson’s observation, medical practitioners employ physical arrangements, activities,, and verbal expertise to maintain a professional relationship that is both cheerful and scientific.

First, maintaining a professional situation necessitates that the medical checkup is arranged through an appointment at a particular time and at a particular place. The doctor’s office has to be clean, commodious, well lit, and equipped appropriately with all the essential medical apparatus and health-related equipment. The medical professionals have diplomas framed on the walls in a line. The medical professionals also dress in lab coats and tags indicating their designations accompanying their names. All these measures are meant to install confidence in patients and keep them relaxed, knowing that their caregivers are well-qualified.

In such circumstances, maintaining a cheerful situation is another major drive  considering that most women who get these checkups come in intensely anxious; while others come in pain from conditions like having a lump on their breast or a sore that appears to be a bad sign of an unusual growth or cancer. As Emerson observes, the medical professionals make an extra effort to gather relevant details pointing towards a jovial, nice, and positive view. thus, besides maintaining cleanliness at the place and lighting it well to uphold happiness, medical practitioners also make careful words selection to stress on healthiness. That is why they refer to the examination as a “health screening” or “wellness checkup.” It is also notable that the medics also keep fresh flowers and/or plants around for their scent and/or colors. Furnishings in such an environment that tends to have cheerful coloring with muted, earthy tones. Additionally, gentle, cheery music in the background encourages a felicitous situation even further.                                                      

Emerson emphasizes that another purpose for the medical professionals is to maintain the objective of the scientific examination. Since these medical examinations  call for touching and mentioning of body parts, the medical professionals are very careful to create a strictly neutral reality that is focused on determining any issues that may need medical treatment without sexual implications. Medical professional are required to strictly avoid any romantic caressing,. thus touching that is not done for the medical objective must be carefully avoided.

There should be no exaggerating language, such as the medic asking whether his/her touch is tender. Referring to the patient’s body parts must also be controlled and/or objective without the use of “romantic” terms that could indicate intimacy. Emerson notes that for objectivity, the medical professional speaks to the patient using proper medical names without making the referencing personal  Emerson resolves that analyzing a gynecological checkup in terms of its social reality production helps the medical professionals to understand the dynamics of whatever is happening. Such analysis also gives us a sort of miniature version of the manner in which social interaction moulds the reality throughout individuals’ lives. In this sense, everyone plays parts or personas based on our thoughts on what is necessary to make social interactions take place in a smooth and efficient way.