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July 11, 2019


Go on-line and search one of the following topics: Menstruation, Human Childbirth or Menopause. What comes up? As you search these topics, look for images and messages that are communicated to women about the functionality/dysfunctionality of these reproductive processes. How is your topic socially constructed and culturally elaborated? To what degree is it medicalized or pathologized versus constructed as a normal physiologic process? Share 1-2 images that help illustrate your points. These can be shared as screen shots or photographed and uploaded

Second: comment on TWO of your classmates’ posts

Post 1:

“I looked up menopause.  The second webpage was from the Mayo Clinic that indicated that the average age of menopause diagnosis (12 months without a period) is age 51 in the United States.  Furthermore, it states “Menopause is a natural biological process.”  This site, along with others, mentions that hormone fluctuations during menopause can cause unpleasant symptoms for some women, but that these can be treated with lifestyle changes or hormone replacement therapy as a line of last resort.  It seems to be treated almost entirely as a natural process.  The cessation of menstruation cannot be reversed, but some of the  unpleasant side effects, such as insomnia, hot flashes, and anxiety can be controlled or mitigated by lifestyle changes like getting more exercise, altering diet and sleep patterns, and relaxation techniques can help control these symptoms without clinical intervention.  In severe cases, there are medications that can be used to either lessen the symptoms of menopause or some women choose to use hormone replacement therapy.  This last option has become less common in recent years when it was indicated that there are few benefits to putting off the age of menopause and that hormone therapy itself was associated with a much higher rate of breast cancer and cardiovascular events.  I found one particular graphic that I thought did an excellent job of capturing tone and facts about menopause.  The graphic came from Loyola University Medical Center, a teaching hospital serving the greater Chicago area.”

Post 2:

“I decided to look into human childbirth. The most common thing I saw during my initial web search was ‘why human childbirth is so painful’. I feel as though this portrays an image of both the dysfunctionality of reproduction the world has made women believe as well as the medicalization of a natural phenomenon. This search shows the concern  people, not just women, have with the idea of childbirth. The fact that the major focus was on the pain endured in childbirth indicates women are highly concerned about the pain and that this is a topic that required a lot attention. I feel as though women have been made to believe they need to be in the hospital to receive the care to ‘safely’ have a baby. With all of the fear of pain, women are more likely to have birth in a hospital to receive an epidural and be surrounded by professional care for when something goes horribly wrong in this state of emergency. I feel as though society has forgotten that pregnancy and childbirth is a natural phenomena that women have been enduring long before the application of pain medications. Women are made to believe that they cannot complete this naturally like their ancestors. Our social and cultural interpretation is less about the mother and more about the baby. The preparation for childbirth does not glorify the amazing feat the mother is completing, and she does not receive the same satisfaction after having a hospital birth. Childbirth has become so medicalized that is observed as a procedure rather than a feat of the mother. It is more like the doctors brought the baby into the world, not the mother. It is so medicalized that one of the first images that popped up in my search was a removal of a child using forceps, an additional technical advancement to make childbirth easier. Additionally, one of the videos that popped up when I searched human childbirth was called, ‘vaginal birth of an actual live human fetus baby’. This video takes place in the hospital (what we see to be the norm) and it sounds like people are so astonished that a baby could ‘actually’ be born vaginally. If women were more empowered through their pregnancies and made to believe that they were built to carry these babies and they were built to handle the stress of child birth then maybe fewer women would be scared or in a state of emergency when they begin childbirth. “


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