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Inscribing gender on the body

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Presentation on theme: "Inscribing gender on the body"— Presentation transcript:

1 Inscribing gender on the body

2 Double standard Women’s worth is more tied to bodily appearance than men’s worth Physical appearance is more important in terms of the way women are perceived and treated This is particularly true in terms of the aging body Our understanding of the body cannot exist outside of the society that gives it meaning

3 Gendering of bodies Objectification: the body as an object separate from its context Does control over one’s body equal personal freedom? Does the preoccupation with our bodies distract us from larger issues (social and political change)? Biological determinism: assumption that a person’s biology or genetic makeup determines that person’s destiny

4 The Beauty ideal Contemporary images of female beauty are changeable and contextual The ideal reflects various relations of power in society Beauty practices are enforced in complex ways The ideal is directly tied to corporate capitalism and U.S. consumerism

5 Women and body image The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. Three minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70% of women to feel depressed, guilty, and ashamed. It is estimated that 40-50% of American women are trying to lose weight at any point in time.

6 Women and body image One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder. Almost half of all women smokers smoke because they see it as the best way to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking. At age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.  Sources: National Institute On Media And Family, About Face, American Academy Of Pediatrics

7 Plastic surgery From , there was a 9% increase in the total number of cosmetic surgical procedures: 1.6 million total procedures. Since 1997, there has been a 155% increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures. The top five cosmetic surgical procedures in 2010 were: breast augmentation (318,123); liposuction (289,016); eyelid surgery (152,123); abdominoplasty (144,929); breast reduction (138,152).

8 Plastic surgery The top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in 2010 were: botulinum toxin type a (2,437,165); hyaluronic acid (1,315,121); laser hair removal (936,270); laser skin resurfacing (562,706); chemical peel (493,896). Women had almost 8.6 million cosmetic procedures, 92% of the total. the number of cosmetic procedures for women increased over 164% from 1997.

9 Plastic surgery The top five surgical procedures for women were: breast augmentation, liposuction, breast reduction, abdominoplasty, and eyelid surgery. Men had over 750,000 cosmetic procedures, 8% of the total. The number of cosmetic procedures for men increased over 88% from 1997. The top five surgical procedures for men were: liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction to treat enlarged male breast, and cosmetic ear surgery. Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

10 Plastic surgery Americans spent nearly $10.7 billion on cosmetic procedures in Of that total almost $6.6 billion was spent on surgical procedures; $1.9 billion was spent on injectable procedures; $1.8 billion was spent on skin rejuvenation procedures; and almost $500 million was spent on other nonsurgical procedures including laser hair removal and laser treatment of leg veins.

11 Eating Disorders Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment. Only 35% of people who receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders. Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

12 Eating disorders among students
91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.” Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females years old. Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% who dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.

13 Eating disorders among men
An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male. Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “woman’s diseases.” Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic.

14 Women of color and eating disorders
Due to the historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, there is relatively little data that separates women by race or ethnicity. However, there is increasing evidence of disordered eating occurring among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. Process of acculturation? “The process of shifting values to the host/dominant culture.” The most acculturated women are more likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies.

15 Media, perception, and dieting
95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years. 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991). 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991). Source: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.

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