W1 Activity: Menstruation

Defining health is quite hard for me. I am never sure if I should be defining how it is understood or how it ought to be understood. Usually the product is a mixture of both, however. I define health as a state of psychological, social, and physical well-being as informed by cultural context. Ilness I understand as the subjective, variable, and culturally specific experience of ill-health. My definitions are informed by my own cultural knowledge and experience, my understanding of various conceptions of health, and my intellectual preferences in defining things.

I will start with thinking about menstruation as an illness. It is tough primarily because it is accompanied by symptoma, for most women, that are perceived as unpleasant and even painful orverwhelming. However, unless a woman is willing to label those symptoms abnormal or problematic, It shouldn’t be considered an illness. Even if a woman were to percieve menstruation (its symptoms) as a sign of ill-health, and thus illness, I hesitate to label it an illness. It would be one based on the definition I’ve given, but I would not label it one as a practicing doctor firstly for practical reasons. I would rather try to shift the patients subjective thoughts towards not considering it an Illness as this is is probably better for the persons health in the long run. Perhaps, I ought to edit the definition a tad, because I think illness should exclude as a possibility those things which arise from a regular functioning of bodily processes, even if that is quite subjective. Thus i don’t consider menstruation an illness.

Anxiety is perhaps a little harder to say. I would consider anxety an illness under two conditions: 1) the symptoms are distressing to the person and 2) it is not a proportionate reaction to circumstance. For instance, i wouldn’t say my anxiety is an illness if I experience it becore public speaking or if it was at a low enough level that It caused me no significant distress.



2 thoughts on “W1 Activity: Menstruation

  1. I think your discussion on menstruation is really interesting and I totally agree with you that a normal bodily function should in no way be considered an illness, unless there are abnormal symptoms that accompany that function. I found an article by NPR that debunks some old myths on menstruation and explains a little bit about how it is viewed in other cultures. The end of the article talked about how the Beng people see menstruation as a positive natural thing. They give the analogy of a plant flowering before it bears fruit as a women menstruates. I like this association much more than our culture’s connotation of menstruation as a dirty inconvenience.

    Susan Brink. “Some Cultures Treat Menstruation With Respect” NPR Health

  2. You picked menstruation as one of the illness you talked about in your post. In America women are looked down because of this, not only because it is an inconvenience every month. But as in the past it is viewed as a part of why women are viewed as weaker than men. Also identified by Donald Trump attacking Megyn Kelly after asking him tough questions during a debate. Saying she had “blood coming out of her whatever” which just shows how she was looked down upon by a man because she is a women and women menstruate. But this is not true in all cultures, the Yurok tribe from the northwest coast of the US respect women’s menstruation. They see it as a time for purifying themselves every month. Most of the women have their cycles in sync so they do this at the same time and see it as their most spiritual time of the month. So with this culture they show a much different mind set towards menstruation than most of the world do. Especially us here in America. This is because one thing I didn’t realize was that PMS is not something that is universal around the world. It is something that is common in the US but the behavior of PMS is not common in other countries or in other cultures.

    Brink, Susan. “Some Cultures Treat Menstruation With Respect.” NPR. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/08/11/431605131/attention-trump-some-cultures-treat-menstruation-with-respect.

Leave a Reply