After looking at the life course of women, through pregnancy, body image, disease, and menopause; it is clear that medicalisation plays a vital role throughout a woman’s life. During the stages of pregnancy, a lot of medical focus has been placed on getting pregnant, such as through fertility research, and also at the stage of giving birth. This is something highly criticised by feminists as this shows the medical emphasis on the male involvement in pregnancy, whilst the carrying of the child, which is done by women, lacks in medical research; in this way, pregnancy may only be partially medicalised. Once a women moves on from her more fertile years, this blog has taken a look at menopause. Menopause is medicalised as women are given treatment and advice on how to handle this stage in their life, yet women are also left feeling they are no longer pregnancy ‘worthy’. Once a women ages, this often brings along disease with this; this stage of a women’s life is highly medicalised, as the older generation tend to be given a lot of monitoring and medical care. Whilst these subjects all discuss the medical processes a women goes through, throughout each stage of her life, women are often pressured consistently by body image. Due to the demand and availability of cosmetic surgery, women are plagued by the ‘ideal’ women and therefore this has led to increases in cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery itself is fully medicalised, as this needs to be both consulted and carried out by a medical practitioner; which scarily, any doctor can carry out.
Evaluate Illich’s (1976) notion of ‘medical imperialism’ – is this claim accurate today?
Looking at the life course of women, the evidence suggests ‘medical imperialism’ is highly prevalent today, if not more than when Illich created this notion. Women are pressured, surveyed, and told what they should and should not do. Bodies are normalised then compared and contrasted to make abnormal or sick bodies.
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