Since the word has come out that the miracle reducing drug, fen phen, may be flawed and damage your lungs and heart valves, we thought we'd follow last week's article up with how some of the societal edicts for women, that we wrote about last time, may effect your health as well as your welfare.
Until quite recently, doctors treated women differently than real people, i.e. men. Research was confined to male subjects whether human or animal -- the reason given was that there could be no reliable results if they used females because of the menstrual cycle, but this excuse has now been proven false.
One of the most egregious examples of this difference in treatment was (and still is by some doctors) the lack of attention given a woman's heart. It was just as if she didn't have one. If she spoke of her pain or discomfort, most doctors would consider it female neurosis and send her home with valium. Now many doctors warehouse women on estrogen drugs, down playing the risk of increased incidence of breast cancer from estrogen. We all need to educate our doctors who still refer to men's "symptoms" and women's "complaints."
Some very harmful societal attitudes toward women are those that limit her from childhood on from practicing and enjoying full mental and physical health. There have been some changes in the past few years and now there are team sports and some activities deemed suitable for girls and women, however, the infant and preschool patriarchal attitudes have still imprinted many girls. You can see the results all around you. In childhood and adulthood the Barbie image contributes to overweight, underweight, shyness, fears and baby doll flirting learned to please daddy. Generally girls are not trained to take care of themselves although some are now taking advantage of defensive training that is being offered.
Later on in life, osteoporosis can cripple the bones already frail from lack of exercise throughout life; and muscles, long unused, atrophy. Women's bodies should wear out, not rot out, as so many of ours do now.
Some women bring physical problems on themselves such as the harm they inflict on their spine from wearing high-heeled shoes, carrying heavy shoulder bags or eschewing any kind of exercise by choice. Wearing skirts that cause a woman to cross her legs much of the time may impinge on the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic, causing a very painful condition known as sciatica. There is also a great deal of evidence showing the dangers in antiperspirants, face and eye makeup, tummy tucks, face lifts and other kinds of liposuction. In meeting the patriarchal commands to be continually young, small, attractive, hairless and helpless, a woman truly can do herself in. But she can, if she chooses, decide not to be taken in by this harmful propaganda. She can define her self and her life.
By far the most pervasive and invasive attacks on women are made on her mind. They brainwash her at an early age to have little or no self value at the same time they teach her that her existence is to reflect to men the image of woman that they desire. If she does not, the penalties may be severe ranging from loss of promotion in a job to physical violence. It is hard to grow up without the confirmation of selfhood that is given to males; it is even harder to help our daughters understand why we've put up with it.
A subscriber sent us the following feedback on GenderGappers 1997-025:
|To add to the list in the last essay: men and women who reduce women to their hair color by referring to women as "that redhead," or "the blond," or "that brunette"...... blond, brunette, etc. are ADJECTIVES, not nouns!!!!"|
Thank you. We agree! And the Rover on Mars is a small, well programmed, cute and obedient machine. Obviously an IT, not a SHE, as it is referred to at press conferences (but we GenderGappers get, and have been getting, the message, boys.)
Copyright 1997 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: TWANDA@ConnRiver.net.
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