Paper Example. Social Construction and Medicalisation

Published: 2023-08-16
Paper Example. Social Construction and Medicalisation
Essay type:  Definition essays
Categories:  Women Gender Sexes Stereotypes Essays by wordcount
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1710 words
15 min read

A feminist is any person who stands up for equality for all genders. Gender stereotyping can be defined as biased thoughts whereby females and males are subjectively relegated to characteristics and duties decided and restricted by their sexual orientation. Prejudiced attitude towards women all arises from the stereotypes that have been placed on women by society. These stereotypes cause ingrained beliefs, values, prejudice, and norms that are against women. They get utilized to legitimize and keep up the chronicled relations of control of men over women and also sexist demeanors that hold back the advancement of women. Generally, medicalization refers to how non-medical human conditions and behaviors come to be defined in medical terms and end up needing medical attention such as medical study, treatment, and diagnosis, or even prevention. This paper is going to discuss the reasons why feminists argue that gender stereotyping and medicalization have historically impacted women's health negatively.

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History Of How Women Are Socially Constructed – Madder, Sickly, Weaker Sex

There are so many cases in the history of women that have built them socially as madder, sickly, and weaker sex. The social construction of gender is a theory in the field of sociology and feminism, which talks about the cultural origin of expressions and perceptions related to gender in terms of interpersonal and group social construction. Social construction supports the issue of gender roles with the opinion that it brings out and encourages the required social behaviour of an individual within a specific social environment. The gender roles in society have been historically defined, and in most cases, these definitions only mean placing a woman in an abusive and negative position in society. The social rules or duties of men and women in society are based on their biological distinctions. Abuse in relation to gender happens every day in the community, especially towards women with the claim of bringing up the girls and women in the right way. Women getting defined as a weaker sex, sickly, or madder is not something that started recently. The lawful injustice on this weaker sex is broad and is not something to be ignored. Society puts men in a situation where they seem superior towards women even when, in most cases, they still need women to help them out.

Generally, the woman's life has always been seen a different compared to that of the men hence making them the weaker sex through inferiority. Their inferiority has been historically based on their biological differences like reproductive processes, endocrine systems and also sexuality. Women's opinions or expressions did not play a role in any part. The society raised women to be homemakers and nothing else. The social construction of women was in such a way that they were only supposed to be voiceless, submissive to the male gender, especially their husbands, and focused on their families. Women that tried to bend those rules were seen as sick and mentally ill. The women that were lawbreakers were given special forms of treatment to cure their illnesses, such as bed rests and herbal medicines. The views and opinions of women have ever since faced regulations and medicalization up to date. Historically, a woman who could not bend to the wishes of a man was discriminated in society, with some being taken to a psychiatrist to get treated (Leora Auslander, 2014). The women being treated as inferior is what brought up the stereotype of women being the weaker sex.

Medicalisation Of Women's Health/Bodies, e.g., Puberty, Menstruation, Pregnancy, and Menopause- Prone to Mental Illness

Medicalization of women's health/bodies, for instance, puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, has been historically done and is still being done today. The female body has gotten changed to a site for treatment and control. The medicalization of women's health and bodies is higher than that of men. The rate at which this gender is being used as a site for both control and women is wanting compared to that of men. For instance, healthy human behaviors like crying, unhappiness, and disinterest in sex get associated with mental illness such as depression when a woman expresses them. Instead, they are reasonable when shown by men. The societal construction stand concerning this matter is that women are emotionally unstable and that their reproductive hormones their uniqueness of emotions. Therefore, for society, only men can handle what they feel and not women. This is simply a misconception because there is no way the female hormones can cause depression, and they only affect the relational and social behaviours of women (Liebert, 2010). Women end up being given various treatment medications that are even necessary, like Selective Serotin Reuptake Inhibitors, which is prescribed as an anti-depressant medicine.

Pregnant women undergo a lot of processes concerned with medicalization. Issues such as the growth of the foetus arise from nowhere, and now women are supposed to receive certain forms of medications to boost the health of their children. Historically tests were even done to these women when they are unconscious. The pregnancy phase of a woman has changed from being a phase experienced at home to a period experienced in a medicalisation environment. There is a lot of medicines being given to women at this stage to treat non-medical conditions that are not that necessary. Women are getting used as lab rats where the medical study is done on them, for instance, when no emergency medications get used on them in the name of helping with the childbirth. The natural life experiences of pregnancy and childbirth have now shifted to get controlled in the medical environment (Prosen, 2019).

How Has This History Affected Women's Health and The Way Women Get Treated

This history has affected women's health and the way women get treated. Gender is an element that must get considered when looking at medicalization, and it has been affected by the history of social construction. The stereotypes based on gender roles in the social construction process has made the medicalization on women negative in various ways. For instance, this history of social construction has made medicalization act as a tool for social control (Van Dijk, 2016). Social control comes in when natural variations that exist in daily life and human experiences, for instance, the biological distinction between women and men, or contrasts in slants and self-expression are made societal or when they get medicalized. Women are prone to encountering surgical interventions, and to be endorsed psychotropic medicine for transparent therapeutic issues.

The history of social construction has also allowed medicalization to have the power of denying females human and agency rights. All this is denied when medicalization provides both social and legal pathways that can get used to control the lives and bodies of women in society. Women get used as human specimens, even without their consent. Women being given medications without reasons is also an example where medicalization abuses female rights as human beings. The gender role stereotypes have been seen dominating in many of the formal medication practices and professions by males being the dominating genders. This inequality brought about by social construction gets illustrated in this same field when most of the men get to do the diagnosis and treatment processes and not women.

Medicalization together with social construction has affected the female way feels view their bodies. Society has constructed a particular physical body that a female body should be like hence reducing the self-esteem of most people in the community. The fact that the human body comes in many shapes and sizes is a fact that many societal norms tend to ignore while focusing on this issue. Medication, on the other side, has come up with various treatments such as plastic surgery to make females feel better, which is not good (Abate, 2010)`. The males do not get a chance to doubt anything concerning their bodies. Society has control over the female bodies when it comes up with a specific physical figure that the female body should get formed in. These are all adverse effects on women. The society and medicalisation trying to control the female body and mind is harmful because they make women doubt themselves, which give rise to body insecurities and lack of self-esteem. Making one gender feel inferior compared to the other gender is what social construction stands for (Wray, 2008).


Even though in most cases in society, women have severally outlived men, the stereotypes in society stand as a barrier for them to accomplish many things in life. Treatment today is based on the individuals' gender. That is what makes the doctor know the kind of rapport to create between the patient and the doctor. The history of social construction and medicalization have a lot of negative impacts on women in society. They both have illustrated how they favour men over women. Both social control and medicalization have control over the bodies and minds of women, which is not good because that's an abuse of human rights. Judging women based on various prejudices prevents women from achieving a lot of things in society. Men, on the other hand, tend to take advantage of all that by dominating in various domains in the community. Therefore medicalization is not that good to society basing on the fact that gender-biased. Social construction only helps shape the social behaviour of individuals by restricting them from doing certain things and behaving in specific ways. Generally, most of the societal gender roles are just present to remind women of how inferior they are in society.


Abate, M. A., 2010. Plastic makes perfect: My beautiful mommy, cosmetic surgery, and the medicalisation of motherhood. Wome's Studies 39(7), pp. 715-746.

Leora Auslander, R. R. a. M. Z.-F., 2014. Making Gender with Things. Clio, Women, Gender, History.

Liebert, R., 2010. Feminist psychology, hormones, and the raging politics of medicalisation. Feminism and Psychology 20(2), pp. 278-283.

Prosen, M. a. K. M., 2019. Medicalisation and the Female Body. Women and birth 32(2), pp. e-173-e181.

Van Dijk, W. F. M. T. M. J. P. a. W. G., 2016. Medicalisation and overdiagnosis: What society does to medicine. International journal of health policy and management 5(11), p. 619.

Wray, S. a. D. R., 2008. The medicalisation of body size and women's healthcare. Health Care for Women International 29(3), pp. 227-243.

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