Most women can think of many occasions on which they were told that what was hurting them was not. I remember a gynecologist with thick and senseless hands, who expanded the speculum angrily and shot a meteor of pain to the base of my spine; the fontanelles in my skull seemed to separate and pain poured in like ice. “Stop making faces,” he told me. “This doesn’t hurt.” Or the electrologist a woman told me about who asked, “Have you ever had electrolysis before?” “Yes,” said the woman. “What do you know about it?” “It hurts like hell.” “It does not,” she contradicted. Or the voices one hears over a rape crisis hot line: “They said they didn’t know why I was so upset. There weren’t any bruises. It wasn’t like he’d hurt me.” Or the career woman who described to me her nose surgery: “It was after a bad love affair that I literally cut off my nose to spite my face. They said if I was a good patient there would be no real pain and only a little blood. I couldn’t bear it. I said it hurt. They said I was overreacting. There was so much blood my sister fainted when she saw me. They said, ‘Now look what you’ve done.’

The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf (via femsolid)