My mom is so awesome. Today she turns 75! So first things first . . .
For the record: Judith Wible is a straight shooter. And she doesn’t take any BS. She scared the crap out of me as a child.
My mom is not the typical mom. I never saw her in the kitchen as a kid. She doesn’t bake cakes and cookies. She doesn’t even use her stove. When she sold her house, the stove was actually still new—never used!
We do not have the typical mother-daughter relationship. We hate shopping. We hate cooking. No, we have never gone for a mother-daughter manicure.
What do we do? We talk politics, psychology, and medicine.
As a child, I spent nights hanging out with suicidal schizophrenics at the state psychiatric hospital with my mom. She’d read me her psychiatry journals before bed. She’d pause on every pharmaceutical ad—the distressed patient reaching for a Valium—and she’d ask me, “What do you suspect is going on in that woman’s life?” Classic move for a psychiatrist. Yep. She had me telling my own bedtime stories while she psychoanalyzed me.
She’s hard core. She had to be to graduate medical school in the 1960s!
In 1965 my mother, Judith Wible, received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Of 160 graduates, eight were female. The dean and fellow students reminded the “girls” in the class that they were “taking a man’s seat” and they would never use their degrees. Even the anatomy professor refused to accept female anatomy and persisted in addressing women as men. Despite her protests, my mother remained “Mr. Wible.” Women were excluded from urology—from palpating male genitalia—while men dominated obstetrics and gynecology. Daily, the women were exposed to filthy jokes that demeaned female patients, and in the evenings they slept in cramped nursing quarters while the guys had fraternities complete with maids, cooks, parties, and last year’s exams.
The dean and other medical school instructors actually accused her of being in medical school just to get a man! With the kind of behavior she witnessed in medical “men,” she had no interest in marrying one! Believe me. Mom is lesbian.
Mom and I graduated from the same med school. We recently attended her 50th medical school reunion (my 22nd reunion). No, she never married any men in her class. Though I got to meet several of her classmates who married nurses during med school—and then divorced them just before graduation!
So here we are in 2015. Though women are now 50% of medical school enrollment, we’re still held hostage to a patriarchal medical model that values a male construct of the world. It’s not working guys. You men need us—and not just for doing laundry and cooking.
To support women in medicine, my mother has started the Judith Wible, M.D., Scholarship for Visionary Women in Medicine to help female medical students along their journey to become true healers.
If you’re a female medical student, a visionary who is overflowing with love and passion for health and healing, and if you have the Judith Wible invincible spirit, we encourage you to apply. Every year up to 3 medical students will receive $10,000 each toward their medical education so they can live their dreams.
To heal health care, we must first celebrate the women who have contributed so much to medicine. To learn about the history of women in medicine, read my chapter in Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change.
Meanwhile, to celebrate her 75th birthday, I’m treating Mom to her first manicure today. I’m sure she’ll consider it a total waste of money. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
P.S. She wouldn’t agree to the manicure, but she did let me take her out for margaritas 🙂