Essay about Goffman's Thesis on the Stigmatized Body

Words: 1774
Pages: 8

Sociology of Health Illness and the Body

Goffman’s thesis on the ‘stigmatized body’

Word Count: 1,967

Using two contemporary examples, explore Goffman’s thesis on the ‘stigmatized body’.
The ancient Greeks used stigma to refer to a fault used to expose something unusual about a person’s moral status, a person bearing this stigma would often be described as a blemished person, ritually polluted, and to be avoided, especially in public places. Christians later divided the metaphor into two separate aspects; the bodily signs of holy grace and the medical allusion, which refers to the bodily sigs of physical disorder. Today the term is described using the original literal sense. (E., Stigma: Notes on the Management of
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For example a person identified as a girl may actually act like a boy. The person experiences significant discomfort with the biological sex they were born. (PubMed Health, 2010). The term gender identity disorder was not used until the 1970’s by Laub and Fisk. This definition represents a new threshold of discrimination. Transsexuals themselves argue that this condition is not a lifestyle choice.
A case study based on stigmatization towards sex workers is woman called Andrea from South East Asia. Andrea had always felt like a female and therefore always acted how her mind told her to. For this she was insulted by neighbours, teased by teachers and classmates in school, beaten up and raped by a group of young boys one night and eventually beaten and disowned by her own father. She was forced to leave home and move to the city where she lived with a transgender woman from her home town. With no qualifications or education she was forced into prostitution as she was unable to get a job in bars or restaurants due to her ‘gender issues’ and consequently was barred from most nightclubs. She quickly discovered that life on the streets was tough. There were too many Trans sex workers and not enough customers, this lead to physical and verbal abuse between competitors and customers. Customers sometimes refused to pay claiming they did not know she was a Trans and this