Oppression In Women

1036 Words 5 Pages
Any structure of oppression will negatively affect the mental health of those unable to advance within it and things like poverty, race, and gender can become significant risk factors for developing mental illnesses. Women in western patriarchal societies like British and that of the United States have always been seen as minorities and consequently deal with inequalities like having fewer rights compared to their male counterparts. The way environment impacts us is as crucial to the development of human brains and personalities as genetics are. Women are being more affected by the media and culture now than in earlier decades as shown by the prevalence of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in women (Dellava 2011) as well as the rising …show more content…
This statistic is phenomenally significant. Unlike AN in the days of 'miraculous maids ', current sufferers of AN have significant body dysphoria and obsess over their body fat (Keel, 2006). These women are under so much stress to feel skinny that they often commit suicide before allowing themselves to gain weight (Dellava 2011). The way women feel they are seen by others and the anxiety that stems from that is an immeasurably large part of why girls become anorexic or begin to refuse food. In Ahern 's study women rationalized their responses to the IAT, attempting to defend their explicit feelings on thin as a positive trait and fat as negative (2004). Adhering to the Western body binary where thin is good and large is bad allows women to conform cognitively to the cultural norm as well as find solidarity in wanting to lose weight, making unhealthy habits easier by normalizing them. They are able to connect with and relate to other women on these issues. To push against this binary rather than strictly agree with it would indicate finding something wrong with society and attempting to go against the norm can create anxiety within a group or individual. AN and GAD do not have definite causation or correlation but being a woman, especially in a Western society, is a significant risk factor for both disorders (Dellava 2011). It is important for physicians, families, researchers and especially women to break stereotypes and embrace the many natural shapes the human body comes in in order to reduce societal pressure and anxiety for all women which, theoretically, over time could assist in decreasing the number of unnecessary deaths related to

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