Week 2 Lecture- n8624089

With the Olympics on the Tv screen 24/7, it is hard not to be caught up in the debate ‘One is not born a woman, but one becomes one’ (Simone de Beauvoir’s)... It is interesting to contrast the femininity of women within various sports of the Olympic Games. The typical Female gymnasts have a petite body shape and wear a full face of makeup, hair glitter and sparkly leotards, all such traits display a stereotypical girly girl. Similarly, the female hockey players in short skirts, tanned with high pony tails. On the contrary, the females representing Australia in Basketball, are dressed in baggy shorts and singlets, much like their male counterparts. For weightlifters, not only is their attire typically “butch”, their physical appearance and mannerisms are masculine in nature. This begs the question.. Does their involvement in the sport socially construct them or are they predisposed to certain sports? Also of interest is the female swimmers who are caught in between. Whilst their body shape- broad shoulders, flat chests, muscular biceps tell one story. Their painted fingernails and earrings tell another.

Lecture 3- Womens bodies in social spaces
Pregnancy would have to be viewed as one of the most uniquely female states. The topic of unrealistic portrayals of pregnancy in the media was of particular interest to me. I’m sure we have all seen the Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore posing nude whilst 7 months pregnant with her third child. With her influence we have seen other celebrities follow her lead more recently. So, what motivates the media to use such a display of naked females in this natural state? There was a positive response to Demi’s image, the cover claimed No. 2 spot in a list of the 40 best covers of the past 40 years in 2005. With the target audience being predominately female, the media have cleverly played on the pro-feminist attitude in supporting these women to pose naked pregnant. The sheer volume of buyers positively reinforces an attitude of ‘good on you”. When most pregnant women would be feeling that the last thing they would want is to be seen naked.
Lecture 4- Fashion Industry and Body Image

As our lecture for the week informed us, the fashion industry portrays super- skinny models as normal, which “exerts extensive pressure” on the general population to emulate such figures . Just recently, I noticed the latest Tv advertisement for Target which is promoting women’s lingerie. The models used would be considered to be “plus size” models. According to the average size of an Australian women in 2008 was a size 16, with a Body Weight of 71kg. It was refreshing to see that the target models used were of sizes that depicted average Australian women. I wonder if this is a sign that businesses are realizing that to sell their products they have to reach and relate to the target market.

Lecture 5- Right time to have a child
Over the 10 year period between 1998 and 2008 the number of people who had children when they were aged between 25 and 29 dramatically dropped and the number between 30-34 increased. One can assume that in this stage of life people will have become more financially stable, and can provide a better environment to bring a baby into. Women have strayed from the traditional role of a housewife and many have become successful business women themselves and therefore do not rely on their male spouses as the main source of income. As a result many women are reaching a workforce peak between the age of 25-29 which therefore makes it more difficult to leave their job and prioritise motherhood.

Lecture 6- Gender and Work
I was particularly intrigued by the comment in this weeks lecture about the correlation between mothers who work part-time and the reduced risk of having overweight children. After carrying out further research on the topic a newspaper article stated that the children of part time working mothers watched less tv, ate less junk food and were more physically active. The conclusion I initially drew was that with the spare time the mother had from work she was able to spend on promoting the health of her child. Therefore assuming that non working mothers would similarly be around to engage in Physical Activity with their children, and be aware of the food they are eating. 'It is possible that work, when it allows mothers to balance the demands of home and family, may lead to mothers spending more time with their children on activities that have benefits for their children's healthy lifestyles” Surprisingly, Non working mothers who worked full time were equally as likely to have fatter children as full time working mothers. In these cases i the mother really to blame for her child being overweight? Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1263898/Mothers-work-likely-overweight-children.html#ixzz25UnIooZO

Lecture 8- Mental health and substance abuse
In researching for another subject, I came across some information which outlined a link between physical activity and mental health. Research indicates that Physical Inactivity may increase the likelihood of common mental disorders. There are no current Physical Activity guidelines for mental health benefits. A study conducted by Lee and Russell reported that persons who had become physically active over a 3 yr period had positive changes in their emotional health. For women, Alzheimer’s is the third highest Burden of Disease for females. With the ageing population this statistic is likely to increase, which brings about the need for women to participate in Physical activity regularly to prevent both physical and mental disorders.

Lecture 9- Homosexuality
Anecdotal evidence suggest many Queensland lesbians experience difficulty in finding lesbian friendly general practitioner. (source) . Vic survey indicated less than 60 % had a check up in the last 12 months. Reasons for this include
  • Difficulty finding a skilled gp they can communicate with
  • Concerns of disclosure of sexual orientation
  • Negative past experiences with Gps when sexual orientation has been disclosed.
The lesbian health action group also identify that myths about the health care needs of lesbians are prevalent in some lesbian communities such as advice from GP’s that lesbians do not need pap smears because they’ve never been sexually active with a man. This infers that lesbians are not at risk of HIV, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Bacterial Vaginosis
Whether a lesbian discloses her sexual orientation to a GP is dependent on characteristics such as perceived gay- positivity, gay friendly environments and GP enquiry about sexual orientation. Lesbians therefore tend to rely on personal recommendations ‘interviewing” of the GP before disclosure and “educating” GP’s who are not experts in lesbian health issues. Surprisingly BiSexual women are less likely to disclose their sexuality then lesbian women.

Lecture week 11

Although I was already aware that women had a higher life expectancy than men in Australia, I had never thought about the topic in more detail. So I took it upon myself to research the reasons behind the average 10 year gap in life expectancy between sexes. Research indicated that For both men and women the leading cause of mortality is Cardiovascular disease, however the onset is much later in women then in men. Typically its affects women in their 70’s and 80’s and affects males 10 years beyond this time. This accounts for one of the main reasons why Women typically live a longer life. Less significantly other factors which may contribute to the earlier onset of cardiovascular disease in men include, increased prevalence of men who smoke as opposed to females, in general eat more food therefore have higher cholesterol levels, and potentially don’t deal with stress aswell. In addition, recent studies have revealed that mutations located within the mitochondria are more common in males. These genes cause the body to age faster and therefore live shorter lives then females.