W5 Reflection: Male/Female

When looking at the definition of “biomedicine” and the culture that is involved in said area, I find myself focusing on the role of mechanical and medical applications that involve the realm of pharmaceuticals and western-style medical practices that are commonly introduced into first-world countries. The culture is built upon the everyday integration and application, from yearly physicals, medicine that creates a ripple of side effects to also be treated by medication, and other applications that keep the focus and flow of medical institutions and healthcare going. In lecture, the concept of medical school perfectly exemplifies the biomedical approach. Students from a young age are told that becoming a doctor is the only way to help a person physically, that through medicine a person can be treated. So, students commit their entire lives and money to becoming a doctor to completely neglect the fact that health can be approach from several different ways rather than pushing drugs down someone’s throat to treat and cure an illness or disease. The world of biomedicine is fueled by the technology and drug industry.

For the second part of this reflection, I decided to choose the dichotomy of the terms male and female. It may seem that the last couple of years, there has been uproar about gender dysphoria and those who choose to become transgender or undergo a reassignment surgery. However, topics such as gender dysmorphia have been around for centuries; e.g. Gender dysmorphia was noted as early as early Greek mythology, but only became documented in the middle 1900s. But where does the dichotomy of female and male come from? Looking at this question from many sides, one can assume that society and its culture have its large influences on the look, sexual acts, activities, characteristics, and other aspects that are deemed female or male. For example, a male is supposed to be masculine and a female is supposed to be feminine. But, what binds this, creates this, and pushes this? Standards set by other people rather than the individual at hand. The biggest example that this can be seen in is in intersexuality.  Intersexual people struggle to balance what society expects and the acceptance of what they truly are. Intersexuals are humans who have intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish male from female; meaning that they can be born with or without both genital/reproductive organs or cognitively identify with the opposite sex. Unfortunately because of this, individual who were born with both reproductive organs are not given the choice at birth, but rather their parents. But how does one choose if they identify with being a female or male at birth? What if you, as a parent, make the wrong choice and force your child to grow up to be the opposite sex trapped in their own body. Society places the importance of identifying with a certain sex rather than identifying and becoming one with your body and mind; becoming an individual rather than a number. While individuals that struggle with their chosen sex, society has an even harder time with it. Sadly, even though an individual can 100% say that they identify with the opposite sex, the individual and society that they are placed in can be very disapproving. It is our job as a society to accept an individual and everything that makes that person them. Break down the gender stereotypes and accept that both sexes can do whatever they choose to do.

One thought on “W5 Reflection: Male/Female

  1. Hi Tess,
    I really enjoyed reading your post; you put a lot of thought into your ideas and had some very interested content. Have you studied Ancient Greek sexuality? If not, you should read into it; the culture is incredible and fascinating. While it was all intriguing, I was particularly interested in your thoughts on Intersexuality. Intersexual people are incredible fascinating to learn about and their struggle highlights the problems that we have within our society, some of which are only coming to light now. The two-tone way that we view gender has, thankfully, begun to change, and has historically (and contemporarily) been a struggle for us. I think there are a great number of factors that contribute to this struggle, some of which are the patriarchal society in which we live, the definitions of gender vs sex (i.e. what makes someone male or female or neither), and the stigmas that we have attached to people who deviate from the norm. Examining the differences in gender vs sex and whether or not it matters across various cultures demonstrates the truth that gender and sex are, like most things that we encounter in our daily life, are socially constructed and ingrained deep into society. Thank you for such an interesting post.

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