HLTHAGE 2G03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Transsexual, Heterosexuality, Orgasm

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Health Age 2G03 Lecture 5 Gender, Sexuality and Mental Health
4th July 4, 2016
NEW OFFICE LOCATION KTH 230
Keep these in mind throughout this lecture:
Distress, poor self-esteem, anger cognitive indicators of MH are they expressed the same by men and
women
Do women and men express distress in the same way?
What does it matter whether men and women explain them the same?
Do men and women experience same rates of mental pathology? What about distress? What’s at stake
here? How could we explain it?
Is MI intrinsic to individuals or is is brought about by broader social structures we may need to look to
the way society structures gender to find certain answers
What is the impact of marginalized gender and sexual identities on MH?
Gender
Definitions of gender are weighed in on by various disciplines key structures emerge from this dialectic
- Gender is thought of as performance and not what we have like sex
- Gender has to do with the way that we behave in society
- Gender roles are things that we enact and play out
- Gender is something one does, sex is something one has
Hegemonic masculinity aggression, competitiveness, independence, rationality, avoiding vulnerability
- Hegemony means dominant over something else
- Some emotions like anger and prioritized over other like sadness.
- It facilitates subjugation of women
- Anger and aggression or outward expressing emotions are valorised and inward expressions are associated
with women
- It works to advance the interests of men
- As a consequence of promoting men’s interests, women are subjugated
Emphasised femininity fragility, emotionality, expressiveness. Compliance with subordination to men,
accommodating needs/desires of men
- These things act upon us but we continue them as well
- This also supports men’s interests
There are many other forms of masculinity and femininity but these are the more dominate women both
these forms work to subjugate other forms of masculinity and femininity
Individuals who enact gender without enacting heterosexuality are deemed inferior in this system
Multiple masculinities and femininities dominant forms subordinate other expressions of masculinity and
femininity e.g. Heterosexuality are held as superior to “inferior sexualities” such as homosexuality
Sources of Difference
4 broad sources
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1. Real differences in well-being and psychopathology, based on physiological differences
- Men and women’s differences stems from differences in our bodies
- PMS and post-partum depression to anti-social personality disorder
- People try to do research on animals and work out whether certain characteristics are linked to hormonal
differences as opposed to socialization
- Assumptions linked to hormones: empathy, cooperation, nurturing as products…See slide
2. Men and women experience different amounts or ways of stress but this is created by social conditions
historically the pay gap between men and women for instance
3. Differences are real but are based on socialization men and women are taught to behave or experience the
world differently. MH differences are primarily about how things are expressed
a. Alienation and isolation for instance is a feature of modern life, but men and women are taught
to experience these things differently men drink, women stay home and get sad
4. Differences are not real professionals use flawed research or have diagnostic bias
a. A lot of research is based on the bodies of mind of young men that has been extrapolated to
include all people
History
Post-industrial revolution - there was a belief that women were inherently more MI than men in western Europe
and North America this notion became hegemonic
- Female bodies were understood by laypeople and scientists as being flawed or weak the female body is
delicately balanced and sectioned off like puberty, pregnancy, menopause etc. women were seen as more
prone to illness
Hysteria mostly common in women and later claimed to be experienced by some men. Catch-all
diagnosis.
- The symptoms were non-specific sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, pain, sensory change, etc.
psychosomatic in origin
- Anything that men found mysterious or unmanageable in the opposite sex
- Micale: “dramatic medical metaphor for everything that men found mysterious or unmanageable in the opposite
sex”
- Was considered a MI
- The idea that unmanageable women get diagnosed with hysteria bear some truth
- Because it doesn’t reflect specific symptoms it was considered true because of the various things going on in
the human body
- Many women had hysterical fits or seizures trembling and numbness to surroundings hysterical fits were
called “spasms of hyperfemininity” – childbirth, masturbation etc see slide for more points
Uses of Hysteria
It allowed male physicians to pathologize behaviour that they did not like and protect the women at the same
time women behave bad but it is because of MI so we shouldn’t blame them for it
Freud talked about hysteria a lot. Persons with uncomfortable thoughts or memories that become physically
expressed by the body
- He saw that women were given a particular place and some of the MIs were a result of the positions they were
given in society
People theorised that hysteria allowed women to bypass their oppression an act of resistance. It was socially
appropriate release of anxiety and tension
- Women pushing for the vote, divorce, education etc. have an overrepresented rate of diagnosis of hysteria it
is a defensive response to female assertiveness
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Document Summary

Health age 2g03 lecture 5 gender, sexuality and mental health. Distress, poor self-esteem, anger cognitive indicators of mh are they expressed the same by men and women. Is mi intrinsic to individuals or is is brought about by broader social structures we may need to look to the way society structures gender to find certain answers. Definitions of gender are weighed in on by various disciplines key structures emerge from this dialectic. Gender is thought of as performance and not what we have like sex. Gender has to do with the way that we behave in society. Gender roles are things that we enact and play out. Gender is something one does, sex is something one has. Hegemonic masculinity aggression, competitiveness, independence, rationality, avoiding vulnerability. Some emotions like anger and prioritized over other like sadness. Anger and aggression or outward expressing emotions are valorised and inward expressions are associated with women. It works to advance the interests of men.

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