Project #86884 - women studies

1)   1)  Response

                This article started out with a history of the vibrator. It was initially used by physician because it was "less cumbersome, labor-intensive and costly" while also maintaining social appropriateness. It was used to treat hysteria. It eventually reach the home all while the medical community used it has a treatment for several conditions. Additionally, physicians were interested in the use of it because of the electrical factor and a machine like it helped to "restore clinical dignity". The vibrator grew in popularity, eventually appearing in a variety of magazines in the form of advertising. Despite the press, it still came in unmarked packages and did not expressly state what it did. It has maintained a social camouflage even today, marketing to people who desire something that in this case is culturally unacceptable.

I believe this change goes hand in hand with the changes in sex education and the gradual shift to a more conservative attitude. A quick google search reveals that in the 1960's, there was a change that lead to people teaching that sex is bad and abstinence. Even in the other article for this unit, students mentioned that they all had been taught that sex was not good and to avoid that kind of pleasure. This attitude is the one that would keep anything "tempting" out of the public eye. It is this idea that sex is there but we never talk about it. To place a vibrator in a magazine is very directly referencing something Americans do not often talk about in public. A medical "therapeutic massed" is deemed as acceptable as it is a medical procedure, as is the case with many medical practices, even if the information is bad. The best way to ensure good discourse would be to be more open to discussion from different perspectives. We have entered an age where anyone disagree can be misconstrued and spun as "attacking a belief". And in some cases, people use their personal belief to restrict the actions of others, binding them to a system they do no necessary agree with. Finally, misinformation and indoctrination, forcing ideas and judging rather than let people explore and chose themselves, always betters discourse. While these are general ideas on how to open discourse, these can be very helpful in making people comfortable enough to open up and truly provide useful commentary.

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2)response

In this article, students enrolled in a women's health and medicine college course were recorded discussing their responses to four cultural artifacts shows to them by their professor, the author of this article.  The first topic they discussed was that of women stereotypes in medical marketing such as how women are often viewed as always wanting marriage and "complex" to please sexually when compared to men, as well as how doctors often encourage their patients to try drugs that might not even work.  The next topic touched on was what is considered to be "normal" sexuality and how society has an unrealistic expectation of what sex is supposed to be like.  The final topic discussed was sex education that marginalizes pleasure, specifically how sex education in schools uses scare tactics to prevent the youth from having sex and encourage students to keep their sexual desires under wraps rather than teach them how to safely have good sex.

 

The students discuss how the media and sex education discourage discussing the pleasures of sex, and portray it as almost a shameful act, especially for women.  The medical marketing discussed portrays women as only wanting marriage out of sex and not pleasure, as well as portray women as much more complicated than men.  They claim that what is defined as "normal" sexuality is completely unrealistic because many women do not fall under the spectrum of what is considered "normal".  The author added in the classroom that "Almost half of the women in this room would quality for a dysfunctional label according to the 43 percent statistic."  The media really emphasizes that sex for women is a shameful act, as seen in the interview with the Duke porn star.  In my opinion, a college student paying for their tuition by making porn videos would not be nearly as taboo if that student was a male, because it is "normal" for a man to want sex.

 

The Lowe article really emphasizes how sexuality is shaped by many factors by claiming that every female is different when it comes to their sexual pleasure.  It suggests that schools should begin to focus more on sexual pleasure in sexuality and how to have healthy, safe sex rather than shame the act entirely.  This relates to the short clip because the clip demonstrates how schools in the Netherlands view sex as nothing to be ashamed of and begin teaching children at a young age in order to enforce the idea that sex is a normal thing, which is what the author of the article and her students also suggest as a solution to the problem of "normal" sexuality.

 

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