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Female Bodies in Science and Biomedicine Essay

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Updated: Jul 4th, 2021

The assigned readings focus on the ways the female body is regarded in the context of biomedicine. The authors share their views on such areas as the reproductive system, cancer, and disability. It is stressed that females still face different types of discrimination as gender is socially constructed, which is manifested in various spheres. The readings shed light on numerous details that often remain unnoticed and taken for granted. This paper includes a brief summary of these works and some reflections on the points mentioned.

It is necessary to start the discussion with the work by Wendell (2015). In her brief writing, the author stresses that disability, as well as gender, are socially constructed. This social construction defines the development of disability and the way people with special needs are treated. I totally agree with the author’s perspective on the matter as modern society contributes to the development and spread of discriminatory views and practices. The attitude towards people changes when their disability becomes known. For instance, people’s attitudes will change once they understand that the person they want to address has some hearing disabilities.

The social construct is also present in the way healthcare professionals and researchers treat females and issues related to female health. For instance, Martin (1999) emphasizes that even aspects that could or had to be seen as neutral have certain negative connotations. Thus, the female reproductive system is regarded as degrading and rather less efficient as compared to the male reproductive processes. After reading this article, I felt that there are some instances of this kind of discrimination. It is quite obvious that the scientific world is gender-biased, which has a significant impact on health care.

Fausto-Sterling (1999) provides a clear case for the link between biased attitudes in research and health care. The author describes the ways people have seen and treated menopause. When reading this article, I was constantly thinking about the way women’s health is regarded. The concept of degradation persistent in research and practice led to the development of drugs and treatment that could address only a limited number of symptoms. Women turn out to be rather vulnerable as their condition is still regarded as unavoidable degradation rather than a natural physiological process.

Finally, two other readings focused on the way women with cancer deal with their health condition. Lorde (1999) notes that the feminist perspective on cancer, as well as females’ issues related to this illness, is still under development. I agree with this statement only partially as this topic has acquired considerable attention in western society recently. However, there are still certain gaps associated with specific theoretical paradigms. The article by Kosofsky Sedgwick (1999) adds to this discussion as the author claims that gender shapes the way healthcare professionals treat females. However, females’ needs are often ignored. Thus, the healthcare professional focuses on symptoms and previous health history without trying to really talk to a person. The major aspect that resonated with me was the physician’s unwillingness to see the patient as someone who can be equal rather than inferior to healthcare professionals. Practitioners are often ignorant of and reluctant to hear their patients’ remarks concerning their health. Professionals tend to focus on their expertise believing that their patients’ opinion has little relevance.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that gender is one of the constructs shaping the way people are treated and healthcare services are provided. It is essential to continue voicing all these issues and make people (both men and women) discuss them and acknowledge their influence. It is important to make sure that all people receive equal treatment that addresses their needs.

References

Fausto-Sterling, A. (1999). Menopause: The storm before the calm. In J. Price & M. Shildrick (Eds.), Feminist theory and the body: A reader (pp. 169-178). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kosofsky Sedgwick, E. (1999). Breast cancer: An adventure in applied deconstruction. In J. Price & M. Shildrick (Eds.), Feminist theory and the body: A reader (pp. 153-156). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lorde, A. (1999). A burst of light: Living with cancer. In J. Price & M. Shildrick (Eds.), Feminist theory and the body: A reader (pp. 149-152). New York, NY: Routledge.

Martin, E. (1999). The egg and the sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles. In J. Price & M. Shildrick (Eds.), Feminist theory and the body: A reader (pp. 179-189). New York, NY: Routledge.

Wendell, S. (2015). The social construction of disability. In S. Shaw & J. Lee (Eds.), Women’s voices, feminist visions: Classic and contemporary readings (pp. 101-107). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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IvyPanda. (2021, July 4). Female Bodies in Science and Biomedicine. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/female-bodies-in-science-and-biomedicine/

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Female Bodies in Science and Biomedicine." July 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/female-bodies-in-science-and-biomedicine/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Female Bodies in Science and Biomedicine'. 4 July.

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