A few weeks ago, I received an off-the-wall email from a friend. It was an invitation to see a speaker about fibromyalgia. Okay, so far, so good. My interest was peaked, but then I continued reading and was both amused and outraged-this speaker blames fibromyalgia on men's inability to properly care for womyn. Puh-lease! *sigh* I wish I had kept the invite, so I could have quoted it, but I was too disgusted to keep it.
Scientists do not really know the cause of fibromyalgia, which means that people can invent all kinds of wild reasons for the disease. Now I am not a doctor, but I know that my disease is not caused by man's inability to properly care for me. Why? Men simply are not that important! As Howard Thurman wrote in his book, Jesus and the Disinherited, "A man is a man, no more, no less. The awareness of this fact marks the supreme moment of human dignity" (73). I firmly believe we all have power, but no man has power over me and when that lecturer tries to give men that much influence, he is trying to take away some of my human dignity.
Now I do believe that there is some connection between fibromyalgia and stress. From listening to other people who have it, it seems that the disease usually comes at a time when the person is under a great deal of stress and this was true in my case too. It is proven that stress lowers a person's immune system, so this is not a stretch. Many people get illnesses of all kinds when they are full of stress.
It is also true that there are more women than men who have fibromyalgia and I do not know what to make of that, but that one fact does not automatically mean that it is men's fault that some women have it. That assertion is simply ridiculous!
I remember the invite said that the speaker thinks women have fibromyalgia, because of the stress of men not providing enough for women. This statement offends me to the core and it is just another example of patriarchial bullshit. It is not that I do not think we need each other, we do. People need people in order to survive, but I do not believe that there is one group of people who needs to care for womyn more than another. There are all kinds of communities of people who care for each other. What I take the most offense is it is the language of domination. It is not men who need to take care of womyn, but rather it is people that need to take care of people. I am not interested in someone solely taking care of me, but in being in a relationship where people take care of each other. I am interested in reciprocity.