We investigated the social relations shaping the reproductive health care experiences of women with female genital cutting (FGC) in Toronto, Canada. Using Institutional Ethnography, we interviewed eight women with FGC and seven obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYN). We found a disjuncture between women’s needs during appointments that extended beyond the reproductive body and range of care that doctors were able to provide. Women engaged in emotional healthwork during appointments by explaining FGC to doctors, reading doctors’ body language, and getting through vulvar/vaginal examinations. Women reported that if they had emotional reactions during appointments, they were often referred to a mental health specialist, a referral on which they did not act. OB/GYNs described their specialty as “surgical”-training centered around treating reproductive abnormalities and not mental health issues. Therefore, the disjuncture between women’s needs and OB/GYNs’ institutional training highlights the difficulties inherent when bodies of “difference” encounter the reproductive health care system.
Copyright: © 2023 Jacobson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.