Pope: In intro to soc, I was introduced to the growing size of the ideal male body. What I find interesting is that as men are being encouraged to take up more space, women are being encouraged to take up less space. While Barbie has gotten thinner over the years, action toys geared towards boys have become bigger and more muscular.
Men are catching up with women in terms of being dissatisfied with their appearance; it’s not just a women’s problem. However, men are less likely to talk about it, because of the taboo of talking about your feelings, whereas women frequently talk to each other about body image.
I found it interesting when Pope discussed how recently a lot of men have been getting cosmetic surgery. For some reason, when I think about cosmetic surgery I think of women, and I think that the media encourages this association.
Pope suggests that men’s increasingly negative body image may stem from a growing equality between men and women. Firstly, men’s bodies are beginning to be treated in a more similar to women’s in the marketplace. There are now male strippers (aimed towards women, not other men), and there are more undressed men in commercial advertising. I agree with this more than Pope’s other point, that there is this association between “feminist milestones” and the increasing importance and objectification of the male body. I was bothered by how feminism is portrayed as “setbacks for the male ego.” I think that if anything, men’s obsession with their bodies is a result of patriarchy. Patriarchy hurts everyone, not just women. Feminism is not about bashing men; it’s about equality and freedom from traditional gender roles. This should enable both women and men to embrace a variety of body types.
Chrisler: I’ve always thought of PMS as a normal part of life. Some women get it worse than other, and we experience different symptoms. I usually have one day soon before getting my period during which I am extremely irritable and generally angry with every human for no particular reason. However, according to Chrisler, PMS is a culture-bound syndrome. Culture-bound syndromes are typically associated with the exotic other and non-western cultures. It is certainly entertaining to think of PMS being the equivalent of a witch’s curse.
In recent years, PMS very quickly became a cultural icon. It is very well known, a part of many jokes, and considered to consist of numerous symptoms that can occur weeks (?!) before your period. (I’ve always thought of PMS being a few days before your period. I’ve never heard of symptoms occurring two weeks before. If this is the general belief, it seems impossible to differentiate between PMS symptoms and other causes). The problem with getting scientific evidence on PMS is that it is very personal and varies greatly depending on the woman. Additionally, symptoms associated with PMS are not specific to PMS; anyone could be experiencing them at any time. One thing I found interesting was that women who live with men are more likely to suffer from PMS than women who live alone. I guess that proves women shouldn’t have to use PMS as an excuse for being upset about something; maybe someone was just being annoying.
Popular culture has created a violent and monstrous image of women who are PMSing. It was even used as an excuse for murder in 1981. PMS is not just an excuse for women to act differently. It can also be used against women. If a woman is genuinely angry for a good reason, people can just write them off as PMSing. What I took away from this article is that hormones don’t create emotions; they just intensify them. Bottom line, PMS is not a reason to claim that women are overemotional, inferior, and mentally unstable.