What is Discrimination?

In this unit, we have seen the extensive medicalization of gender. The Sexual Politics of Sickness explains that physicians thought the natural state of a woman is being sick. “Diagnosing Differences” showed that being transgendered is stated by the DMS as a mental disorder. These medicalizations discriminate against transgendered individuals and women by implying that being who they are isn’t normal.

What’s more frustrating is that this discrimination is hidden under the disguise of scientific facts. Physicians used Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to argue that only males varied, and women’s inability to vary caused her natural state of sickness. The DMS is used to diagnose all transgendered individuals as having a disorder. It seems that medical professionals use scientific findings to propagate their own personal view through manipulation of data. Or they just blindly trusts scientific finding that fit their personal bias without questioning its validity and/or understand that further research needs to be done. Manipulating scientific research to discriminate against others is extremely dangerous because they are more accepted by the public where the general view is that all conclusions based on scientific findings are true. There is a quote in “Diagnosing Differences” that summarize the situation very well: “A little knowledge is very dangerous.”

Ophelian, Annalise, and Anne Prewitt. Diagnosing Difference. San Francisco: Floating Ophelia Productions, 2009. Internet resource.

Ehrenreich, Barbara, and Deirdre English. Complaints and Disorders; the Sexual Politics of Sickness. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist, 1973. 111-54. Print.

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One Response to What is Discrimination?

  1. irism999 says:

    I too am very frustrated that the medical profession has and continues to manipulate scientific knowledge to discriminate against individuals such as women and transsexuals. I am actually writing my final essay on how gender roles have been prescribed through medicalization. In my essay, I stated how appalled I was to discover the degree to which healthcare providers could influence society’s views on what are normal and abnormal gender behaviors. You are right, people seem to respect the diagnoses that physicians make, despite how stereotypical these descriptions may be in regards to binary gender roles. Thus I think it is very important for us as a society to educate ourselves and expose ourselves to different sources of information. The DMS is written by psychologists and physicians for the benefit of psychologists and physicians, to facilitate their interactions and opportunities for employment with the transsexual community. Thus we cannot take their descriptions of normal and abnormal gender behaviors as entirely reliable. Rather, we must broader our perspective by looking at the issues the transsexual community and women face from other lens, such as from research on the effects of culture on these communities. Reading these other forms of research and talking about them will help challenge and combat what the medical field has to say in regards to what they consider to be normal and abnormal gender roles.

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