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Part 3- L4.docx

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Gareth Treharne

Part 3 –L4 Gender and Medicalization Defining sex/gender - Sex o The sum of those difference in the structure and function of the REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS on the ground of which beings are distinguished as male and females o Physiological differences o Chromosomal dichotomy  XX= F  XY = M o Shades of grey (physical intersex condition  Androgen insensitivity syndrome × XY (M) appearing F × Their body is insensitive to testosterone. × No testicles and has an internal uterus.  Androgenital syndrome × XX (F) appearing M × Pseudo penis - Gender o A euphemism for the sex of a human being o Often intended to emphasis the SOCIAL AND CULTURAL distinctions between sex o Not biological distinctions between sex o How the think and feel about their gender o Best defined as role differences o Constantly presenting and performing our gender o Clothing that is typical of our sex o Normal roles = socially constructed and evolving o Gender role stereotypes Masculine Feminine Culture Nature (health) War Nurturing Agency (focus on self) Communion (focus on others)  Typically operationalized as a unidimentional continuum  Extreme ends of the gender role continuum  Abnormality × Not sticking to the correct end of the gender roles continuum for one’s physiological sex Unmitigated agency Unmitigated communion Gender role deviations - Transgenderism o When an individual’s identity does not conform unambiguously to CONVENTIONAL notions of male or female gender o Combines or moves between male and female gender - Transvestism o The condition of having an abnormal desire to dress in clothes of the opposite sex o Men dress as women but accept their male identity - Transsexualism o An OVERWHELMING desire to belong to the opposite sex o Gender dysphoria  Criteria × Incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender  At least 6 months × Clinically significant distress or impairment in:  Social life  Work  Other important areas of functioning × Can now include people with physical intersex conditions  Prevalence × 1 in 5’000 for those wanting sex affirmation surgery × More often M > F  Girls with gender dysphoria × Have intense negative reactions to parental expectations or attempts to have them wear dresses or other feminine attire × Contact sports, rough and tumble play, traditional boyhood games and boys as playmates are most often preferred × Show little interest in stereotypically feminine toys  E.g. dolls  Boys with gender dysphoria × Have a preference for dressing in girls or women’s clothes  May also improvise clothing from available materials × Avoids rough and tumble play and competitive sports × Little interest in stereotypically masculine toys  Cars and trucks × Stereotypically female type dolls are often favourite toys  Barbie Sex affirmation surgery - Can only be obtained from legitimate surgeons after o Living as the sex they wish to become for a 12 month period o Taking relevant sex hormone supplements for 6 months - Surgeries mainly consist of o Bone shaving or augmentation o Breast implants or removal o Genital inversion Problems of medicalizing gender - Sex reassignment is medicalized because o The medical establishment sets up two choices for gender sec and gender presentation o If you are indeed transsexual (individual will only know for sure) then you must proceed from point A to point B as quickly and successfully as possible o No dallying in between o No will for remaining in between o From Marcus, a female > male transsexual who had a bilateral mastectomy (breath removal) but stopped taking testosterone to conceive; from Finn & Dell, 1999, p. 469, my emphases) Medicalization - To give medicine character to - To involve medicine or medical workers in - To view or interpret in unnecessarily medical terms - Is it helpful? Depends on o The condition o The individual case and context - Pros of medicalizing distress o Legitimises distress as real o Justifies seeking professional help o Facilitates withdrawal from life stress (the sick role - Cons of medicalizing distress o Focuses on the individual  Separate from cultural context o Pathologies life experiences o Distress is still seen as less real than physical health conditions o Set up medication as the easy route  Implying quick recovery Research - Qualitative exploration o No predictive hypothesis - Aimed to explore how a biomedical understanding is drawn on and mobilized in women’s accounts of their depressive experiences - Focused on o Action orientation of their descriptions of their depression  I.e. How the talk about responsibility o How discourses construct depression within political, social and personal contexts o I.e. how the frame it - Sample o 8 Canadian women o 35-61 years o Shared experience of depression o Come variation (to get a range of experiences - In the past o All prescribed anti-depressants o 5 had received counselling/psychotherapy o 3 had been psychiatrist inpatients o One was given electroconvulsive therapy - Method o One on one semi-structured interviews  2-3 hours o Asked about:  Personal understanding and experiences of depression  What they did to cope when they were depresses  How they subsequently became well o Participants allowed to introduce relevant novel issues o Probed about their use of specific words or expressions - Analysis o Transcribed verbatim  Word for word o Coded transcripts for references to depression (biomedical condition) o Traced the use of various features of discourse  Grammar × The sentence structure of their spe
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