Essay on Women 's Health : A Woman 's Body

846 Words Sep 19th, 2016 4 Pages
Throughout history there have been many ideals about a woman’s body – what an “attractive” woman should look like, act like, smell like, be like. A woman’s body has been appreciated for its beauty as well as objectified based on what that body can do for society --whether or not it is truly fruitful and multiplying; whether or not it is visually pleasing; whether or not it makes money. Women’s health has been at the mercy of male physicians and women’s minds kept as unexercised and out of shape as possible. The “why” behind this phenomenon of oppression has been hotly debated. The reality, however, is that, from the act of childbirth to eating disorders, a woman’s body is a social celebrity. The oppression of women is nothing new to history, and a key player in keeping women out of sight and mind has been the friendly family physician. In “The Doctors’ Stake in Women’s Illness (1973),” Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English uncover the origins of the “myth of female frailty” (241). The idea that women are weak has been promoted throughout history by none other than the doctors meant, ideally, to keep women well. While working-class women were often healthy and strong, women with money were often sent to bed to “protect” their frail health. Ehrenreich and English point out that “as a businessman, the doctor had a direct interest in a social role for women that encouraged them to be sick; as a doctor he had an obligation to find the causes of female complaints. The…

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