Friday, May 7, 2010
Gendered Based Violence (GBV) is the biggest battle we have to conquer because this what is victimizing millions of women every day. According to the World Health Organization, GBV has caused more deaths and disabilities among women 15-44 years of age than any type of disease and war combined. This shows the intensity of GBV's consequences and how women are being effected whether it be through death or a long-term disability. There are many types of GBV that takes place across the world, but all have the same goal of targeting women. An example from the readings is infanticides. This is when a female infant is killed in order to eliminate its existence within a patriarchal society. The practice of infanticides is most prevalent in Asia and North Africa where an uncountable number of infants have been killed due to the their gender. This technique of gender elimination and domination is inhumane and incredibly accepted by male-dominated societies. Just think of how many baby girls have not been given the chance to see the light of day due to the unfortunate fate of their gender.
Another example of GBV is domestic violence, where the abundance of female victims reinforces the struggles of this battle. The effects of race and class leave domestic violence victims to face an intense amount of stigmas. These generalizations only give excuses for not fixing the situation and avoiding getting involved. For example, in one of the readings, a Korean woman who is abused by her husband does not want to ask for help because she believes it will create a stigma against her and other Korean women. Although the physical abuse was evident through her bruises, she denied any such abuse in order to keep herself away from racial stigmas. She did not want to be associated with whatever type of stereotypes that are given to Korean females who are being domestically abused. This example shows the difficulties in battling the war of GBV. How can we progress if the victims will not or cannot come forward? The pressure of the patriarchy and social stigmas are silencing the ones that need to be heard the most.
Is there any way that this issue can be solved? The first step I believe that should be taken is giving victims a voice. This does not mean representatives within the government sign a piece of paper that gives minimal funding to women's shelters and health clinics, but realizing the extent of the aftermath of GBV. Women need more than a place to go, but a place where they can feel guaranteed to be heard. If we ignore the root of the problem, being the lack of reporting incidents, then the cycle of violence will only continue. Yes, we do need shelters, clinics, and funding for other resources. But the focus should be on preventing women from becoming victims, not helping them after they have been attacked. In order to push forward in the war of GBV, we must start from where it begins. Thus, the prevention of victimization is vital for the elimination of gender based violence.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Body Modification can be a complex process both physically and psychologically. People who decide to modify there body through medical procedures must pay large amounts of money for specific procedures. The process of getting body modification is turned into complete consumerism of buying “pieces” of the body. A human’s body is not only turned into an object, but individual body parts are being also being changed and altered like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. American society has turned body modification into a materialistic process by treating the overall body like an object.
A person who chooses to modify their body through medical procedures must deal with gender and social stigmas, but still as the individual choice of going through the process.
Another example of body parts being itemized is through personal stories of transgender. People who choose to physically modify their body in order to appear a specific gender. Going through a transformation of the body through extensive surgeries, medication, and other techniques of a transgender can be a psychological battle. By making the body an object makes decisions and procedures even more difficult. The personal stories discussed in class did not specifically mention body parts as objects. But the way the stories focused around altered body parts as defining a person’s gender reinforced the notion of itemizing body parts. If a person has the time and money to get reconstructive surgery on specific areas of the body, then they can be what ever gender they want to be. This is how easy the change in body parts makes a transformation for a transgender to achieve.
American society has stripped down and turned the body into a tangible puzzle that can be reassembled through medical procedures. In order to identify a person’s gender, one must identify the body parts. Many resources for body modification information cannot help but categorize physical procedures as if they are individual objects to be added, removed, or adjusted on a person’s body. Even though the choice of modification lies in the hands of the patient, society is pressuring people to feel the desire for itemizing their bodies. Transgender people are a perfect example of a social group that is being pressured to itemize their bodies through gender-alterations. The medical procedures may be expensive, but the way in which it is advertised sounds so simple. A cut here, a stitch-up here, and you are a new person with a new gender! But it is not this simple and body parts are not pieces to a puzzle. Instead, body parts are features that may enhance a person’s gendered appearance, but does not solely define a person’s gender identification.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Who has the power and authority to say what is right and what is wrong within a culture? Technically, no country should have power over any other country’s cultural and social existence. The issue of body imagery causes debate on whether
Individualism, in relation to body image, means that each citizen is mostly concerned with them selves, and therefore spends the extra time, money, and energy to maintain or change the body they have. This may be done in the ways previously stated, but also in many other techniques that come in a variety of forms and styles. Although many of these body-imagery practices are technically unhealthy on many levels, our culture accepts it and therefore normalizes the physical and mental obstructions of our bodies.
In contrast, American views towards indigenous countries’ body-imagery practices will most likely be negative and ignorant. So is
In comparison, women in
Body imagery is a complicated topic to justify, explain, and even comprehend. But this does not mean that there is any one country that has control over all other countries of what type of body imagery is appropriate. But I think there are many contradictions towards the safety and humanity of the people who are personally experiencing techniques for their body image. This does not mean American citizens have the right to degrade and undermine others’ practices, because that would be contradicting themselves into thinking their practices do not affect one’s health. A country’s history of culture always needs to be taken into consideration, not just the action itself of someone’s body image. We have to ask ourselves if body image is being expressed and practiced through the individual, or through a whole community.
Friday, April 9, 2010
An example of female body control is anorexia. Anorexia serves as a pathway to achieving a cultured self-identity through the physical control over the female body. Again, both the individual and culture is controlling the body because society is controlling the stereotype and norm, and women are then controlling their bodies in order to gain their self-identity within the stereotype. Women are typically associated with their bodies more than men, and therefore anorexia fits perfectly into the trend of women being associated with the thinness of their bodies. Anorexia is a way to help them achieve, in an unhealthy manner, their goal of self-identity by cutting of food intake through self-control over the mind and body. The control over not eating or having an unhealthy and irregular diet are the main skills needed to be an anorexic. In order to have control of establishing self-identity, a woman must have control over her body image through the physical control through something like anorexia.
Both women and men want an identity, but the pressure and force of American society and culture defines identity as self-control over the body. Therefore, men and women must learn how to either silence their pain or starve themselves to gain their self-identity through their bodies. The imagery of the body has taken priority over the male and female health because the physical control of the body is being attained through unnatural and unhealthy techniques such as injury-endurance and eating habits. Physical alterations and unnatural control are being naturalized, which creates the body image that establishes a person's identity. Men and women must then unnaturalize themselves in order to become the redefined version of what is physically natural for one's body image. Body image within American society is distorted and inaccurate, yet it has become the norm that pressures citizens to uphold the stereotypes in order to gain self-identity through their body.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The media reinforces the side effects of menstruation as "bitchiness", mood swings, and having emotional out-breaks when a female has her period. The media does this through advertising medications that will help control the emotional "problems" that women may encounter once a month. The problem is that why try to control things that are happening naturally to a female body? And why is there such a negative condensation of the experiences women go through due to their reproductive organs? American society has caused the naturalness of females to be unnatural and bad; something to watch out for and avoid. Not only are women expected to take medications or alter the levels of their side-effects during menstruation, but other people should be aware and cautious too, according to class discussion.
Also, the media reinforces these stereotypes through television, such as the Golden Girls clip viewed in class. In this clip, the female characters discuss the burdens and struggles women endure during menopause. They mention the side-effects of hot flashes, mood swings, and losing some of their femininity after the menopausal process is completed. Through this discussion, it was obvious that they were trying to mock and make fun of the fact women go through menopause, turning a natural process into a joke. This is another way in which media causes American society to perceive reproduction systems of females as a negative occurrence.
On the flip-side, men have been catered way to enhance their reproduction bodily functions such as products that can increase sperm count, sexual arousal, and anything that indicates the increase of a man's masculinity. Men are expected to increase their natural reproductive organs that produce sperm and cause erections, which would enhance and sustain their reproductive ability. As discussed in the past week's readings, there are legal drugs that may be prescribed by a doctor to help a man sustain his sperm count and his ability to have an erection. These medications are given a positive label through the media's advertisements and other sources of marketing such products.
Male reproductive systems have been given positives labels because men create the patriarchy that rules American society. Men must sustain their masculinity through the performance of their reproductive organs in orders to uphold the patriarchy. Women and their reproductive systems are looked down upon because the natural process of their cycles are a burden to both the female experiencing menstruation or menopause and the person not experiencing. As for men who are given priority of attention towards upholding and sustaining their reproductive systems as a positive process. Importance and positive labels is given to the males; the patriarchy.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I will state the obvious and say that sex sells in Western society. But why is it selling and what are the negative and positive views towards the reproduction organs that are actively being utilized? First off, men dominate once again within a patriarchal society and are put on a pedestal when it comes to importance of tending and pleasing them. Their sperm count is virtually endless as they reproduce millions of their little “mini-me’s” inside them every day. The man is granted leadership roles when discussing sex and given priority for sexual pleasure. So what happens when their sexual needs are not being met due to age or becoming “rusty?” Men go to the doctor and are diagnosed with a condition called andropause, which means that they lack testosterone levels and simultaneously have a low sex drive. But wait, men can’t be seen as weak or non-horny! They must be cured to stay on top (pun intended).
Male reproductive systems are given first priority within the gendered world of sex because science is allowing the patriarch to continue dominating. Doctors have created products for increasing and replacing lost amount of testosterone within men that is being sold on the market. Their sexual lives and manliness cannot be lost with age, and must be maintained through keeping up their libido and sustaining their testosterone levels which define their masculinity. Losing control is negative, but upholding a good sex life and manliness is positive, therefore making their sperm count and amounts of testosterone a health concern with positive reinforcements of treatment.
Women, on the other hand, have everything but priority when it comes to medical attention to enhance their reproductive systems. Their monthly cycle of menstruation is not their forte or sign of womanhood, but instead a sign of weakness. Medicine and other products relating to women’s monthly cycle of menstruation are perceived as negative and embarrassing; a time to take medication to cover up women’s symptoms of womanhood. This particular time of the month they will not only become a sensitive and emotional female, but also a bleeder. There “mini-me’s” are not congratulated or recognized, but silenced and degraded as women are pressured to take medications that will control their emotions and prevent them from become a complete bitch (excuse my language, but this is an honest label put on females who are menstruating).
Both menstruation and menopause are considered painful, discomforting, and emotional points in time that hinder a woman physically and mentally as her feelings are metaphorically bleeding out her mouth and eyes, if she cries, and her egg is literally bleeding out of her body, or the process of menstruating is coming to a stop all together. A woman’s libido and her pleasure are rarely, almost never, taken into consideration, when reviewing the types of medications offered to women and their monthly cycle. Sex is not something that raises importance when discussing menopause, unlike a male going through his aging process of testosterone levels.
Both male and female reproduction organs are natural ways of living and one’s health. Why then is there a bias towards male reproduction organs as priority and concern when levels drop, compared to a woman who is losing her eggs every year and eventually will not be able to reproduce after a certain age? The patriarch reinforces the notion of male reproduction systems as critical aspects of a man’s masculinity. But a woman is degraded by her outburst of emotions and a sense of internal and external ugliness she must experience throughout her lifetime of menstruation and menopause.
Friday, March 5, 2010
We cannot ask ourselves this question enough, but who is spreading HIV/AIDS? It cannot possibly be you or me. It must be someone else that I do not know or lives half way across the world. Unfortunately, this is not true and Americans cannot expect to have complete confidence in doctors to explain the spread of this epidemic because the public is equally just as important in the search for these answers.
Traveling and migrating to new places can play a surprising role in the spread of HIV/AIDS because if the people who are travelling come in contact with the infected, they contract the disease typically without knowing. For example, the reading about
Also, by the public admitting to how they contracted or spread the disease challenges the stereotypes and assumptions in the world of science of how HIV/AIDS is spread. Some of these confessions include sexual contact with a spouse or intimate partner in which, the disease was transmitted, or an over-all lack of using condoms properly and consistently. Every victim or carrier of this disease have different backgrounds and reasoning as to why or to whom they passed the disease onto, but these people are included in all types of categories ranging from prostitutes to workers to married couples, showing the diversity of who is involved and infected by the disease. This challenges generalization that only the poor and underdeveloped countries are suffering.
According to the South African traditions and views discussed in the reading, women have the highest rate of becoming victimized by HIV/AIDS, but have the lowest rate of attention and medical care provided for them. Also, the sexual intercourse the females have with a particular male is not always voluntary. The women are frequently forced in a variety of social and economical ways, and also the overriding desire of bearing a child.
I find it extremely important for the world outside of science and medicine to take part and feel just as important as conquering the battle of HIV/AIDS, because the public is who it is effecting and the doctors who are only there for limited support due to access, funds, and resources. Although doctors are the ones who help treat and research the disease, they can only do so much for spreading the word on the streets. Therefore, I believe everyone should take advantage of their right as a human to demand to be informed, aware, and surmount this extreme and devastating epidemic of HIV and AIDS.
I have never met a person with HIV or AIDS, but know that they are somewhere near me. The readings helped me grasp the reality of how close this disease may be to you or me and are not something that solely exists in underdeveloped countries. I also believe that when fear becomes a reality or when someone you know personally becomes a victim of HIV/AIDS, the whole spectrum of having a shield against this disease is torn down. The rawness and bona fide reality of this disease is present and may affect anyone at anytime. So don’t think that the sorrowful television ads of African people suffering from HIV/AIDS are not also making a family or friend in
Monday, March 1, 2010
When feeling slightly under the weather, middle-class Americans can easily go to the pharmacy and choose from an assortment of medicines and legal drugs. The process sounds extremely easy and accessible. But this does not hold true for the rest of the world, and even among the poor within
Governments have made and are making laws that will seclude the poor to unfortunate health and the wealthy to excellent health care. Not only are the poor already typically in bad situations, but are being stigmatized for their social placement and cut off from the abundance of medical resources that should be available to everyone. Being poor is not solely defined by one’s financial state, but poor may mean a person living in unhealthy conditions through their household, their culture, or even incarceration that is limiting health access and rights for medical attention.
For example, the reading that discusses the Russian prisoners who are being untreated for tuberculosis due to the cost-efficiency debates shows the importance of money over a human body. Living in the underprivileged condition of an over-populated prison with no precautions or treatments towards the health of the prisoners is showing the lack of equality towards medical treatment. Due to the concerns towards cost-efficiency for treating the Russian prisoners have put their rights on hold for inhumane reasons. The prisoners are being pushed aside by the over-ruling social class of the privileged and treated poorly for the state they are currently in; being jail-junkies.
Governments and the groups that are making patents on medication and health care laws are overly concerned about money. This raises the question of health being a business instead of a right, so in fact a person’s life will be determined on the amount of money they have to spend on treatment. Again, social class is placing the unfortunate into an even more devastating position of unfair treatment due to companies’ greed and obsession over their profits. With educated and well-researched groups that can fight these monopolies, rules can be changed to make health care accessible to all areas of societies within international cultures and increase efforts towards prevention of bad health and curing the ill-fated victims of disease. An example of fighting back towards inequalities of health care is shown through the AIDS activists who fought the South African government’s AIDS treatment policies.
AIDS is one of the leading causes of death as seen in the movie we watched in class. Every day, thousands of people contract or die from the disease and most cannot be properly treated for it due to lack of funds and conditions of clinics. Yet, companies continue to be greedy with their money and cost-efficient investments with their products. The real concern should be towards the well-being of every individual has a human right. In some of the most extreme cases of painstaking lack of health care, the government should think to themselves, “What if that was my family member and wouldn’t I demand the best health care available?” Everyone that is dieing or infected with disease is someone’s family member, relative, or close friend, so everyone should be given a fair chance to live. Instead, the focus is put towards where the most promising income may be stimulated and not towards the people who truly need immediate care. The scenes from the movie were breath-taking as I sat in my chair and could do nothing for these suffering AIDS victims.
I understand health care changes within the government cannot be done and put into action at a fast rate, but I feel like there is a lack of consideration towards such changes. It shouldn’t have to take an AIDS activist group to convince the South African government to make changes in their treatment access, but should be common sense that infected need treatment, and the dieing prevented. If I worked in an American clinic or hospital where I would witness numerous health-related problems, I know I would want to give those patients equal rights to treatment and life. Also, I would expect as an American to be treated the same way. Therefore, international cultures and governments who are privileged should consider how they personally would want to be treated, and think of how they would feel if they were deprived of equal care. I know it is difficult to transfer these words into actions, but my main concern is for all the governments’ focus to be turned towards humans, not money.