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october 7 Davis gender ritual.docx

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Health, Aging and Society
Geraldine Voros

Davis- Floyd/ Gender Ritual and Birth Dr. Raz Moda/Strategies and Solutions Gender and Ritual – Davis-Floyd  The way society treats pregnancy and childbirth reveals a great deal about the way society treats women  Major life transitions are ritualized – childbirth is a major life transition  This occurs in a social cultural context  Societies deepest beliefs centre on science, technology, patriarchy and the institutions that control and disseminate them  Sexist gender lens as Western women told in visible and invisible ways their bodies are defective machines  Told they are incapable of of giving birth without the assistance of these other male created other machines  The ritual is a patterned, repetitive and symbolic enactment of a cultural belief or value – the intension is to align the belief system of the individual with that of society  Rituals transform societies perception of individuals and individuals perceptions of themselves  Ritual Stages =1. Separation from previous social state, 2. Transition, they are neither one thing or another, 3. Integration, absorbed into new social state (know each stage and what it means)  Cognitive restructuring of ritual = process of childbirth is transformed to a cultural rite of passage and that transforms to cement the Patriarchal status quo  The symbolic message is felt through the body  Routine Obstetric Procedures Are Highly Symbolic  Hospital, alien territory, brick, cement, cold, no personal authority here, wheel chair a symbolic message you are disabled or not well, bed a symbol you are sick, intravenous drip is symbolic of biomedical model = umbilical cord to hospital  Now the hospital, the institution, the patriarchal edifice is the life giving force and not the mother  Cogntive Matrix  Ritual not arbitrary, they transmit a belief system into emotions, minds and bodies, lead to a profound understanding of a belief system  The hospital sets a technocratic model of reality which forms the philosophical bases for biomedicine and Western society  Technocratic Paradigm = the model of reality forms the philosophical basis of both Western bio-medicine and Western society  Technology is a hierarchical bureaucratic society driven by an ideology technological progress  It is believed that nature is being improved upon by controlling it through technology  Philosophically, it is assumed that 1) the universe is mechanistic, 2) follows predictable laws, 3) one can discover this through science and manipulate it through technology  The model sees the body as a machine with a body mind and soul separation – the body is left to scientific investigation  dominant religious belief in early times was that women were inferior , their bodies defective  woman were fragile, professional sector tried to help "defective mothers"  davis says doctors know what's best  quality of mothers experience is not important, the equipment is more important  cognitive reduction: the mother is not to critically think, she has no human agency in this process, the professionals will do that  one does not want this mother to articulate any thoughts or suggestions, doctors want to be in charge  Males the prototype of normal and led to their rise as obstetricians, they mechanized obstetrics with tools and technology to manipulate and improve the inherently defective mothers  Mechanization of obstetrics = assembly line, production of goods (baby), mother’s body a birthing machine, doctors to meet production and quality control, hospital a technocratic factory, mother secondary, For doctors and nurses convenience
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