When we examine the “culture of biomedicine”, we examine all the factors that play a role in the development of biomedicine. For instance, in lecture we learn that the culture examined in biomedicine is outlined using the institutionalization of biomedicine, the language of biomedicine, and the rituals of biomedicine. It’s important to consider culture when examining biomedicine because despite biomedicine being focused on biology and scientific-based fact and experiments, culture outlines why we base our medical system on biomedicine, how social ideals influence treatment of patients and prevalence of biomedical symbols, such as the hospital, how ideologies in western culture outline the way we perceive medicine should be, who should be the key-holders of biomedicine (doctors, etc.), and proper ways to manage one’s body.
Dichotomies are one of the cultural concepts present in western biomedicine. Basically, dichotomy is the social separation of two groups because they are seen as opposite. It’s hard to explain why dichotomies exist, because in our culture they appear as just basic logic information. If you’re breathing, you’re alive, if you’re not, you’re dead. If you’re prescribing medication or examining someone, you’re the doctor, if you’re receiving the treatment, you’re a patient. I feel like the creation of dichotomies in our culture reflects on the reliance of scientific fact that biomedicine relies on. Basically, it’s saying if you’re not one, you have to be the other. One of the most culture-based dichotomies is the difference between male/female. The dichotomy of male/female has been separated in both a biological and cultural sense. For example, sex is based on biology; males have penises while women have vaginas. Culturally though, there are sets of values and social norms that are categorized with each. Men are masculine, women are feminine, and a combination of the two is socially unacceptable. I think biomedicine has to do with why the male/female dichotomy exists, and why we see it as true. As stated previously, our culture believes that biomedicine relies on scientific fact, and males and females are seen as having everything different from biological factors to social factors. Because of American’s reliance on biomedicine, since the male/female dichotomy was created in the realm of biomedicine, we expect that it is true and based on pure scientific fact. For example, if you look at vitamins, most brands have one set of vitamins for men, and one set of vitamins for women. This is implying that the nutritional needs of women and men are opposite. Another example is shampoo. Certain shampoos are directed at men, while some are at women. Hair removal lotion is promoted to women, hair growth remedies are promoted to men. The clear separation is endless in every aspect of our society.