Male/Female

The “culture of biomedicine” is very prominent in American culture. It describes the big influence that western medicine, also called biomedicine (because it is based off of biological factors) has in our society. It includes the authority we give to doctors and health care professionals, as well as how this authority effects our decisions about our health, and how it would/could be different had we lived in a different culture that does not put a lot of emphasis on biomedicine. Biomedicine has a complex relationship with our culture, and because it is so prominent, the difference between biomedicine and culture in our society can be hard to distinguish.

Throughout my life, I never thought about dichotomy as a problem, or even a potential one. However, when I came to college, I learned much more about what is really going on when we apply gender roles to the sexes, and how much they are actually manifested in our society. Much of my views on the issue came from taking several classes that focused on dichotomy in our culture and the potential problems it causes. The dichotomy of the male/female sexes is perhaps one of the most perpetuated. From the moment a mother finds out which sex her baby is, gender roles of what applies to that certain sex are imposed onto the baby. For example, having everything blue for boys, and pink for girls. When these babies become children, almost always they are either given video games or toy cars/guns etc. if it is a boy, and dolls,makeup, play kitchen things if it is a girl. I believe this dichotomy is accepted because it is based of a very basic difference in our genetical makeup. However, this dichotomy refuses to acknowledge the many people who are born neither completely male nor completely female, or people who are born into a certain sex, yet they identify with a different gender. As stated in the lecture, american society only recognizes two genders so far, male and female. While some other cultures may have more, they are not as prominent or accepted as traditional, “normal” genders.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Naomi Fleischmann says:

    The dichotomy of male versus female has become one of the most controversial subjects in today’s society. People are more afraid of offending others, and at this point the ice is so thin when trying to describe someone’s sex or gender that we may as well stop speaking. To clarify, I am not saying that people should go around saying awful things because people are going to get offended no matter what, what I am saying is that a broader spectrum of descriptions for one’s gender has arisen and the majority of people are no longer aware of proper descriptors. In terms of clinicians understanding this dichotomy, I would definitely say that it is of great importance. If a patient comes in and identifies himself with one gender, but his organs say otherwise, clinicians must be able to respect the patient’s identity but also treat the patient for what he truly has. If the clinician is too afraid of insulting his patient then no productive treatments can ever be done which would also mean that no patient could be cured. Nowadays with people having genetic mutations such as XXX or XYX chromosomes clinicians need to be even more upfront with their diagnosis’ instead of beating around the bush and not explaining to the patient that his illness may have been caused by a simple genetic mutation. There is no need to be rude to the patient, but there is a definite need to be truthful with him because it does not do anyone any good to keep the patient in the dark regarding his medical history.

  2. Vanessa Salmo says:

    In this post something very interesting stuck out to me. It was the colors that boys and girls are assigned when they are born. Pink for girls and blue for boys but this wasn’t how it always was. Historically it was opposite or non-existent which makes me wonder what made it all change. I actually wrote a paper about this a few years ago and it seems that it was gradual and that it was more of a money making technique that society imposed these colors upon the Baby Boomer generation in the 1940’s.
    Now a day in society we have started to come away from the dichotomy slightly since men’s clothing has started to be made in pink and of course women have always been able to wear blue. I think that it is very silly to start children off thinking that they are different than their counterpart. I mean yes, they are different biologically but concerning the colors they wear and the toys they are allowed to play with they are definitely not different.
    When I become a mother I am not going to tell my child what they can and cannot play with and if my daughter wants a truck or if my son wants a doll I am going to get it for them because who’s to say that this makes them less of the gender they are.

  3. Vanessa Salmo says:

    I did not mean to post my post yet:

    In this post something very interesting stuck out to me. It was the colors that boys and girls are assigned when they are born. Pink for girls and blue for boys but this wasn’t how it always was. Historically it was opposite or non-existent which makes me wonder what made it all change. I actually wrote a paper about this a few years ago and it seems that it was gradual and that it was more of a money making technique that society imposed these colors upon the Baby Boomer generation in the 1940’s.
    Now a day in society we have started to come away from the dichotomy slightly since men’s clothing has started to be made in pink and of course women have always been able to wear blue. I think that it is very silly to start children off thinking that they are different than their counterpart. I mean yes, they are different biologically but concerning the colors they wear and the toys they are allowed to play with they are definitely not different.
    When I become a mother I am not going to tell my child what they can and cannot play with and if my daughter wants a truck or if my son wants a doll I am going to get it for them because who’s to say that this makes them less of the gender they are.

    I think that it is important for medical practitioners to recognize this as well to say objective in the way we treat someone. I work in the ER and I have already come across people who are on gender reassignment therapy and we have to think about this and consider this in order to treat them because they hormone levels are different. Same with male and females they may be affected by a drug differently due to their body mass and age.

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