The documentaries “The Business of Being Born” and “Diagnosing Difference” show that medical professionals and the medical industry give patients such as pregnant women and transgender people an illusion of free choice. Yet both groups of people suffer from standardized medical practices which enforce a concept of medical and social “normality”.
The women in “The Business of Being Born” were often shown frustrated by the lack of control which they had over their own births. Medical professionals have determined that it is “normal” to give birth in a hospital and with the oversight of an OB/GYN (Ophelian). While pregnant women have their own expectations when going into labor, their free choice in how they experience is carried out is overwhelmed by the ideas of “normalcy” and standardization which are privileged by doctors. Transgendered people similarly see their free choice taken away as their attempts to claim gender identities outside the gender binary results in being diagnosed with a “disease” and subject to medical scrutiny. “Diagnosing Difference” shows that without accepting their gender identity as a “disease”, transgendered people are often denied healthcare they need, and thus they have no choice but to conform to the medical standards which label their gender identity as Gender Identity Disorder.
Pregnant women and transgendered people realize through their own unique experiences that free choice is often an illusion in the medical industry because doctors and medical professionals have authority which makes it difficult for the patient to assert their own will. Free choice is possible, as is the case for pregnant women who turn to midwives and transgendered people who refuse to believe they have a Gender Identity Disorder, but this assertion of free will requires that patients question medical standards and educate themselves on alternatives to the standardized medical industry.