“Respect Yourself. Protect Yourself”
As a gynecologist, mom, and author of “The Gyne’s Guide for College Women,” these are the goals that I’ve worked so hard to instill in the young women that I see daily. Now that it is 2017, these goals have not changed, but the ways to pursue them must be adjusted to the new adversities we may face this year. My feminist resolution is to empower more young women to take control of their lives and in turn, respect and protect themselves.
As I listen to my patients, I realize many of them are experiencing the same challenges I did while navigating through young adulthood. A main problem that college women face is gaining control of their lives after moving away from home and facing such drastic change. I have compiled every lesson and piece of advice I have to combat this problem in my book, covering a plethora of topics from staying safe on campus, understanding proper use of contraception, and avoiding STDs to eating a balanced diet, adding exercise to daily life, and using yoga to handle stress. While all of these specifics are important, they are merely various aspects of the larger message I want to communicate. The goal is for women to find their passion, work diligently to achieve it, and step confidently forward to tell the world their message.
In the upcoming year, maintaining control of their lives is something all women may find more challenging. Now more than ever, we need to stay vigilant and maintain the high standards we have set for ourselves. It may not be easy but it will be well worth the effort. I want to ensure that young women always feel they have full control of their own body, and to be strong enough to never let anyone else change that. It is important that every individual feels that they have a voice and have the confidence to let the world know it.
Knowing that women are facing these challenges, it is my goal to use my knowledge to give them the tools they need and positively affect them. In addition to writing my book, I host many workshops to demonstrate these tips face-to-face with high school and college women. I want to take it to the next level to reach and impact even more people than last year and expand the workshops to include young men. In addition to hosting more workshops to prepare students for college, I will start writing another book geared toward middle school and high school girls to help them grow and move through life with confidence. The more we instill this message with those at a younger age, the more it will benefit the individual and society as a whole. My hope with these actions is that women will realize how feasible and important it is to take the steps to live a healthy life full of respect. You can spread this message, too. By supporting each other, we can ensure a year of productivity and empowerment.
Not just as a gynecologist and mom, but also as a human being that believes in the power of women, it is my 2017 resolution to have more girls saying, “I respect myself, I can protect myself, and I will step confidently forward to tell the world my message.”
M. Susan Scanlon, MD
Midwest Ctr for Women's Healthcare