Sociology - Chapter 12 - pages 299-304.docx
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Chapter 12: Sociology of the Body - Disability, Aging, and Death: Pages 299-304
“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself?” points to our insecurities not just about our body
but ourselves; it implies our bodies are direct representations of ourselves.
“normal” standards of disabilities, aging and death differ in cultures
disabled people gained more acceptance, dignity and normality recently.
Society and The Human Body
The Body and Social Status
Study findings: physical stature reflects social status; students correlated social status with height
higher status means taller
o Majority of humans are approx. the same genetically
o Social factors determine average height in populations
o Height leads to social consequences
o Quality of person’s diet – protein consumption better quality = taller
o Eg. Japanese were taller in the end of the 20th century
o Eg. North American-born children of immigrants are taller on average than their parents
o Smaller gap, but upper class are on average taller than middle class who are on average
taller than lower class
o BUT Eg. Sweden - no difference because class inequality is less pronounced
Consequences of stature
o Tall people live longer
o Tall people earn more and reach the top of their profession more quickly
o Tom Perks – found additional cm. of height is associated with additional 222$ in annual
income for men and additional 57$ for women. In Canada, height has a big effect on income
whether one is an immigrant or a minority.
o Short people less successful because they face subtle discrimination.
Men taller than women
o We tend to believe men should be taller than women because height indicates status and
men should enjoy higher status than women.
o Leaders taller than followers
Body weight influences status because of cultural expectations associated with it.
Overweight: less education, less likely to be married, less income, more poverty BUT it’s less
serious in men.
Poverty can cause obesity less healthy foods, inability to safely exercise
Reciprocal relationship between obesity and social class
Pre-industrial societies society favored well-rounded physiques because they dignified wealth and
prestige. Today, being overweight is undesirable and leads to stereotypes and discrimination
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