The “culture of biomedicine”, commonly practiced in Western societies, explains the biological side of health. When looking at biomedicine, you focus on the anatomy and physiology of the patient. From lecture we have learned that biomedicine is a good way of looking at health, but it is not always the correct answer. It is socially and culturally influenced and is being changed over time. In lecture we saw how much it has even changed since medicalization in 1985. At first medicalization looked at the control over the bodies. The scientists were viewed as the creators and there was a use of mass media to show everyone the new drugs and medical advances that there were. When it switched over to biomedicalization they focused more on the enhancement of the body. This new trend lets the patients have more knowledge about the disorder/illness they have and focuses more on a “customizable body”. Health is a lot more commercialized now and it is an even stronger focus on improving social life.

Having dichotomies in biomedicine is useful because they allow us to make things into simpler differences. It gives a better understanding of what you are focusing on. The example that I chose was male vs. female. The way that our society categorizes this is mostly be the physical appearances and the social status. However, nowadays the physical appearances are combining and the social tasks of males and females are the same. The reason why this dichotomy may fade over time is because of the changing statuses of people. Nowadays you can become anything you want, guys are turning into girls and vice versa. I do think dichotomies are good in the sense that they make things simpler, but I believe we are going to have to change male vs. female to accommodate to the changing society we live in.

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  1. shivani says:

    I do not think the male/female dichotomy is all that useful – though I do believe that it does provide a level of easiness when it comes to treating and diagnosing patients. Having this gender binary is too reductive. Anne Fausto-Sterling came out with a paper in 1993 where she states there are five sexes in total, not two. Additionally, there are trans individuals who don’t fit the gender that they were assigned with at birth. Although they may be female anatomically but identify with as male – or vice versa – it’s important for doctors to be able to understand that and respect that. I think it’s important for clinicians to begin to understand and work with their patients. If clinicians aren’t able to relate to their patients and respect their wishes, I think it will cause a further divide and mistrust between patients and their clinicians. I think hospitals, etc. need to become more open environments for those who don’t fit the typical gender binary. Hospitals are places that one should be able to feel safe and if there isn’t even a box for someone of doesn’t identify as male or female to fill in, it’s only undermining that. Ultimately, I don’t think that dichotomy is useful as it alienates entire populations who do not fit the binary.

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