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Women’s Health and Feminism Theory Essay


Introduction

Women have several health challenges that affect their normal lives in society. They often face problems that impede their role-playing. One of the health issues that women go through is associated with reproduction (Maruccio, Loving, Bennett & Hayes 2003, p. 29).

Studies show that a strong society would be created through supporting a healthy reproductive system. A woman can never be pregnant if her reproductive system is subjected to unfavorable conditions, such as violence.

Apart from affecting the population, challenges related to reproduction affect the general health of the woman (Dollemore 2005, p. 19). A woman would most probably go through emotional problems, which makes it difficult for her to enjoy sexual relationships.

This has always been the main cause of divorce since issues to do with reproduction is interpreted to mean non-compliance. With improved medical systems, reproductive health issues can be corrected (Lee, Colditz, Berkman & Kawachi 2003, p. 116).

This demands that a woman practices safe health tips, such as seeing the doctor and undergoing frequent screenings and checkups. Women are usually accused of neglecting their family duties, yet the major problem is dealing with reproductive issues.

On the other hand, men are always reluctant to listen to the pleas of women since they do not understand the real issues associated with reproduction in women. Feminism is a new theory in the global society, which looks at the ways in which equality between the two genders could be attained.

The theory argues that women should be given the power to make decisions touching on their health. This paper discusses the major concerns of women regarding reproductive health.

The article goes a notch high to talk about feminist theory, as well as how it relates to reproductive health in women (Orth-Gomer, Leineweber 2005, p. 67).

Women’s Health

Based on the issues that women face, it is advisable that each female should learn her reproductive system in order to understand how it works. This would most likely help in identifying what is normal and what is considered abnormal.

A woman would be in a position to tell whether medical attention is needed (Shuckit 2005, p. 10). Again, each woman is advisable to keep off from unnecessary utilization of substances and chemicals, which might be harmful to the reproductive system.

The use of these chemicals may impede the chances of becoming pregnant for women who would want to bear children in future.

As earlier noted in the introduction, a woman should develop a habit of seeing a doctor frequently to prevent the chances of developing a certain reproductive condition. Through frequent screening and checkups, a condition is easily identified.

This would further be addressed with an urgency that it deserves. Some conditions might become chronic, making medical intervention difficult (Rimmer, Nicola & Riley & Creviston 2002, p. 293). Frequent screening would perhaps reduce the chances of developing a chronic condition.

A woman is expected to protect herself from sexually transmitted infections, which are in the increase in the modern society. In fact, this is the main concern of many women in the contemporary society.

The rate at which sexually transmitted diseases are being transmitted is alarming since many women are forced into sex without protection.

The impacts of sexually transmitted infections are horrifying since they might easily damage the female reproductive system. Some infections interfere with the development of pregnancies meaning that a woman would never have a child simply because of a sexually transmitted infection.

During pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases cause a lot of pain to women. There are reported cases where women fail to deliver normally due to these infections.

In this regard, a woman should always ensure that she engages in protective sex to prevent all these problems (Achenbach 2006, p. 1920).

The use of contraceptives in preventing pregnancies should be the decision of women. A woman should make sure that the size of the family she intends to have is her decision. Women are highly advised to take care of their vulva since it is sensitive to infections.

For instance, the vulva should not be douched since it might make it prone to vaginal infections. For some women, douching makes it impossible for pregnancy to occur. In this regard, only cotton underpants should be used since they allow absorption of liquid materials that can cause infections.

When a woman decides to use lubricants in case the vagina is dry, only personal substances should be used. However, overuse of lubrication could result to irritation of the vulva, which might perhaps increase the chances of infections, including HIV infections.

From time to time, each woman should try as much as possible to check the vulva using the mirror. If unusual discharge or swelling is noticed, corrective measures should be taken, including seeing the doctor (Paul & Nabi 2004, p. 180).

For a woman to be in charge of her reproductive health, she has to know some of the stages and conditions in her life. For instance, every woman should be aware of her monthly periods.

In this case, a woman should note these changes and keep a clear record (Marrack, Kappler & Kotzin 2001, p. 899).

The day in which a period starts should be noted, as well as the ending date. It is noted that a menstrual cycle takes twenty-eight days, but it is not constant. During periods, women might experience unusual body changes, including the changes in mood.

Breast cancer is another reproductive issue that woman have to deal with in their lives. In fact, it is extremely important as far as sexual health, overall health, and breastfeeding are concerned. Breasts might grow bigger when a woman is pregnant.

Moreover, they might be lumpy or tender as a woman goes through a menstrual cycle (Gordon 2004, p. 365). These are normal processes in growth and development, but some changes raises concerns, including cancer concern.

Whenever any changes in the breasts area are noticed, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. In this regard, a woman is advised to check her breast before periods, during pregnancies, and after periods.

In case the changes are noticed, the doctor should be notified for proper screening. Cancer is often associated with certain symptoms, one of them being a hard lump near the breast or the underarm. The presence of dimples and ridges near the breast might also be the signs of cancer.

Finally, changes in the size of the breast might be the possible signs of cancer. A woman aged forty years is encouraged to undergo mammogram screening after two or even one year to ascertain the presence of breast cancer. This screening should go hand in hand with clinical screening.

Feminism

As earlier stated in the introduction section, feminism refers to a movement and a set of ideologies aiming at redefining, identifying, and defending the political, economic and social rights of women in society (Miracle 2006, p. 209).

In particular, the major role of feminists is to advocate for equal chances for women in education and employment.

The theory emerged from the imaginations of various women who sought to comprehend the nature of gender inequality through the understanding of social roles and various positions of individuals in society.

The theory has a different interpretation and definition of gender and sex. Even though there are varieties of feminists, the major aim is to fight for the rights of women in society.

These aims include the fight for the reproductive and bodily rights of women. In this regard, women should be given freedom to make decisions touching on their health (Sandmaier 2007, p. 17). Through feminism, there is a new interpretation of gender and sex.

Scholars upholding this view observe that women should be given some reproductive rights, such as using contraceptives and procuring an abortion at will. In the modern society, what entails reproductive health is well documented.

The world agency in charge of health (WHO) notes that couples should be given the freedom to decide on the number of children they should have. However, people should be responsible as they make their decisions owing to the sanctity of life.

Human life is special meaning that it should not be terminated at will (Oliver-McNeil & Artinian 2002, p. 221).

Apart from deciding on the number of children, couples should always determine the spacing of their children. In this regard, women should not be discriminated (Khalaf, Fathieh, Moghli & Sivarajan 2010, p. 333).

In the past, the making of major decisions touching on reproduction was always the role of men, even though they are minor shareholders as far as reproduction is concerned. Women have been subjected to violence and intimidation since they are perceived as weak and helpless.

Others view women as people who should depend on men for major decisions since they do not have the moral authority to participate in societal development (Ketting & Esin 2010, p. 276).

World Health Organization demands that women should be given specific rights, including the right to procure an abortion, the right to use family planning methods in order to control births, the right to access quality reproductive healthcare, and the right to access free reproductive education, which would inform their decisions.

Feminists insist that the government should offer free education on contraceptives in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (Knudson 2006, p. 128).

Any women should be protected from practices that would interfere with reproduction, such as gender-based violence, forced sterilization, and female genital mutilation. A number of states have already established stricter laws related to gender-based violence.

For instance, a man should be jailed for life in case he is found forcing a woman to have sex (Furlong 2009, p. 12). This is considered a violation of the woman’s reproductive right since she is expected to engage in sex with consent.

Traditional practices that interfered with female reproduction are on the decline. For instance, female inheritance in simple societies is no longer accepted. The government is opposed to the issue of forced marriage (Smith 2003, p. 89).

Relationship between Women’s Health and Feminism

The two concepts are closely related because one facilitates the other. Before the advent of feminism, the living conditions of women were very poor since they were perpetually pushed to the periphery, even on matters touching on their own health.

Women existed to be seen, but not to be heard since they were the properties of men. Just as men owned other properties, such as land, women were also owned in the same way (Schoen 2001, p. 136).

Traditional practices could not allow women to participate in some activities, such as policy formulation and wealth accumulation. Feminism shed light on the debate since it advocated for the rights of women, particularly reproductive health.

Before feminism, a woman would simply be used as a sex object since she did not have any right. Currently, sex is considered a love affair whereby two people can only do it through consent.

Feminism advocated for the provision of free abortion, provision of free family planning contraceptives and methods, abolition of female genital mutilation, and forced marriage. Through legal ratifications, a woman in the modern society has full control of her reproductive health.

She can decide when to have a child and when to terminate a pregnancy (Roth 2004, p. 393). This freedom is attributed to the works of feminists, who have achieved a lot regarding reproductive rights of women.

Conclusion

It is concluded that women encounter several challenges in their lives, one of them being reproduction. Each woman is supposed to exercise some preventive measures to ensure that she remains reproductive throughout her life. This includes seeing the doctor frequently.

Through feminism, women have been able to achieve their reproductive health rights, including free abortion, the use of family planning, and abolition of destructive traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation and wife inheritance.

List of References

Achenbach, S 2006, “Computed tomography coronary angiography,” Journal of American College of Cardiology, Vol. 48, no. 10, pp 1919-1928.

Dollemore, D 2005, Aging Hearts and Arteries: A Scientific Quest, National Institute on Aging, US Dept of Health and Human Services, Bethesda.

Furlong, A 2009, Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood, Routledge, London.

Gordon, C 2004, “Pregnancy and autoimmune diseases,” Best Practices Research Clinical Rheumatology, Vol. 8, no. 3, pp 359-379.

Ketting, E & Esin, A 2010, “Integrating Sexual and Reproductive Primary Health in Europe: Position Paper of the European Forum for Primary Care,” Quality in Primary Care, Vol. 18, no. 4, pp 269–282.

Khalaf, I, Fathieh, A, Moghli, E & Sivarajan, F 2010, “Youth Friendly Reproductive Services in Jordan from the Perspective of the Youth: A Descriptive Qualitative Study,” Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences,” Vol. 24, no. 2, pp 321–331.

Knudson, L 2006, Reproductive Rights in a Global Context: South Africa, Uganda, Peru, Denmark, United States, Vietnam, Jordan, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville.

Lee, S, Colditz, GA, Berkman, LF& Kawachi, I 2003, “Care giving and risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. women: a prospective study,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 24, no. 2, pp 113-119.

Marrack, P, Kappler, J & Kotzin, BL 2001, “Autoimmune disease: why and where it occurs,’ National Medicine, Vol. 7, no. 8, pp 899­-905.

Maruccio, E, Loving, N, Bennett, SK & Hayes, SN 2003, “A survey of attitudes and experiences of women with heart disease,” Women Health Issues, Vol. 13, no. 1, pp 23-31.

Miracle, VA 2006, Coronary artery disease in women: the myth still exists. Dimensional Critical Care Nursing, Vol. 25, no. 5, pp 209-215.

Oliver-McNeil, S & Artinian, NT 2002, “Women’s perceptions of personal cardiovascular risk and their risk- reducing behaviors,” American Journal of Critical Care, Vol. 11, no. 3, pp 221-228.

Orth-Gomer, K, Leineweber, C 2005, “Multiple stressors and coronary disease in women: Stockholm Female Coronary Risk Study,” Biological Psychology, Vol. 69, no. 1, pp 57-66.

Paul, AK & Nabi, HA 2004, “Gated myocardial perfusion SPECT: basic principles, technical aspects, and clinical applications”, Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology, Vol. 32, no. 4, pp 179-187.

Rimmer, JH, Nicola, T & Riley, B & Creviston, T 2002, “Exercise training for African Americans with disabilities residing in the cult social environments”, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 23, no. 4, pp 290-295

Roth, R 2004, “No New Babies-Gender Inequality and Reproductive Control in the Criminal Justice and Prison Systems,” American Journal of Gender and Society on Population, Vol. 12, no. 1, pp 391-412.

Sandmaier, M 2007, Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services, Bethesda.

Schoen, J 2001, “Between Choice and Coercion: Women and the Politics of Sterilization in North Carolina, 1929-1975,” Journal of Women’s History, Vol. 13, no. 1, pp 132–156.

Shuckit, MA 2005, Alcohol and alcoholism, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Smith, N 2003, “Carrier issues and giving birth,” Hém aware, Vol. 8, no. 3, pp 88-90.

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