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The Doctors of Hoyland

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story, first published in 1894, about a country doctor named Ripley who found that a second doctor had set up shop in the village of Hoyland. He goes to the new office, wanting to meet and greet his competition. Dr. Ripley is shocked to find that Dr. Smith is a woman, so shocked that he dropped his hat. She questions his attitude toward her choice of profession.

"Ladies are in danger of losing their privileges when they usurp the place of the other sex. They cannot claim both."

''Why should a woman not earn her bread by her brains?''

Dr. Ripley felt irritated by the quiet manner in which the lady crossquestioned him.

''I should much prefer not to be led into a discussion, Miss Smith."

''Dr. Smith," she interrupted.

"Well, Dr. Smith! But if you insist upon an answer, I must say that I do not think medicine a suitable profession for women and that I have a personal objection to masculine ladies."

It was an exceedingly rude speech, and he was ashamed of it the instant after he had made it. The lady, however, simply raised her eyebrows and smiled.

"It seems to me that you are begging the question," said she. "Of course, if it makes women masculine that would be a considerable deterioration. "

Ripley grew to greatly resent Dr. Smith and her work. The story echoes attitudes that are still around 123 years later, although half of the students who entered medical school in 2016 are women. You can read the entire story of Dr. Ripley and Dr. Smith at Stanford University. -via Metafilter


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