WEEK 6: 02.13.14
CHAPTER 12: SOCIOLOGY OF THE BODY: DISABILITY, AGING, AND
“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself.”
At first these words seem unremarkable but once the words sink in, they shock us
about how widespread the incidence of body dissatisfaction is
~4 million North Americans underwent cosmetic surgery in 2008, which is up
nearly tenfold since 1992
This doesn’t include people who want cosmetic surgery but can’t afford it
Plastic surgeons’ words are shocking too because they point the dissatisfaction of
our bodies deeper than skin; they ask what they dislike about their selves
The assumption is that our bodies our faithfully our selves – that weight,
proportions, hairiness, etc. is fundamentally important about a person’s character
The human body isn’t just a wonder of biology but a sociological one as well
• Various aspects of the human body mean different things and have different
consequences for different cultures, historical periods, and categories of people.
• For example, the definition of what constitutes a disability has varied over time
and place, as have strategies for dealing with disabilities.
• Similarly, aging is not just a natural process of growth and decline, and age is one
basis of social inequality.
SOCIETY AND THE HUMAN BODY
The Body and Social Status
In an experiment, four people of the same height and roughly similar appearances
were introduced to a group of stu