In Joan C. Chrisler’s article, PMS as a Culture-Bound Syndrome, she discusses the realities of PMS. Just as Chrisler states, PMS is a very hard illness to diagnose. We lack tangible evidence that PMS is in fact a real syndrome. Whether or not PMS is diagnosable, culturally, PMS has a strong presence in our culture. Chrisler mentions how women must follow a certain status quo to maintain their role in society. Women must never raise their voice or act out of line. However, PMS gives women an excuse to act out of character. Being able to say “she’s just PMSing” completely writes off the legitimacy of her actions and emotions. The stigmas attached to PMS completely invalidate a woman’s emotions and actions. It also creates the notion that women are unstable. If two weeks out of every month a woman acts irrationally due to her menstrual cycle, then this portrays women as lacking control and stability. This is the reason as to why some women do not like the idea of PMS because it inherently implies that women lack control.
Not only has PMS created this stereotype for women, but it has also become a source of humor for society. Just as Chrisler mentioned, there are greeting cards, t-shirts, etc that poke fun at PMS. Sayings such as, “It’s not PMS, I’m psychotic” or “Some special advice for the birthday girl-never cut the cake during PMS”. Sayings such as these contribute to the illegitimacy of PMS. An interesting point that Chrisler makes is that she feels that PMS is a culture bound syndrome. She suggests that PMS can only exist in an industrialized society where there are strong negative attitudes towards menstruation. Industrialization creates order and routine. The negative attitudes towards menstruation contribute to the negative effects that is supposedly has on women’s personality.
The article, The rise of the Adonis Complex: Roots of Male Body Obsession, discusses how the pressures for men to live up to a certain body ideal has greatly increased in recent decades. Now, boys and men are trying harder and harder to maintain a specific body complex, known as the Adonis complex. The need for this “perfect” physique has led to desperate measures among men. In order to achieve this body type, many men turn to eating disorders, steroids, and strict diets. Rather than just lifting to build muscle, men have begun working out just as a means of weight control. While weight loss programs and advertisements have mostly targeted women over the years, there is a fairly recent industry targeting men. The ideal body for men has changed overtime to being leaner and more muscular. While reading this article, it reminded me of the movie we watched in class where is showed the progression of superheroes’ bodies in film. Overtime, the actors playing superheroes have become bigger, stronger, and leaner in order to match up with the cultural ideals of the male body.