Feminist Approaches to Health

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Feminists Feminism is a view that examines the world from the point of view from women, coupled with the belief that women are disadvantaged and undervalued in society. Feminists believe that the majority of societies and institutions are patriarchal and male dominated. Feminists believe society is characterised by gender conflict as men seek to protect their dominance and women strive for equal rights and opportunities. Feminist approaches to health The medicalization of child birth Ann Oakley examined the experiences of women during childbirth in her research and book ‘from here to maternity’. Oakley found that up until the 1980s pregnancy and childbirth were seen as natural processes and consequently there was less intervention from doctors. However Oakley notes that since then doctors have increasingly medicalised childbirth and pregnancy and taken control from midwives. Doctors now treat pregnant women as ‘patients’ in need of medical treatment. The body as a social construct Feminists have long argued that in modern societies the patriarchal media has pressured women to possess a certain identity and to be thin which can endanger their health by causing diseases such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. Mental health Chesler says labelling is done by a male dominated profession who are more susceptible to mental illnesses. If men are emotional they are advised to rest as they obviously have been working too hard and are mentally exhausted. However if is emotional she is likely to be accused of being hysteric and on the verge of a mental breakdown and advised to take treatment such as taking drugs such as Prozac and fluoxatine or go to a mental hospital for therapy. Gender inequalities in health Feminists believe that patriarchy in institutions can affect the health of females. The feminist Bernard found that married women were
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