Good Critical Thinking On Mental Illness
Mental illness, or mental disorder, is a term that originated from the Western culture. If physical illnesses pertain to bodily malfunctions, mental illnesses are problems with behavior, way of thinking and other disorders concerning the brain and its cells. However, mental illnesses cannot be easily detected through biological tests like blood tests per se. Many scientists and researchers believe that mental illnesses are caused by the present environment, microenvironment, or even combined influence of both the macro and the microenvironment. (Thomson)
According to Nancy Andreasen as stated by Thomson, when people assume that having mental disorders and mental illnesses is bad, discrimination takes place. Discrimination includes mistreatment and stigma in the society which worsens the situation of a person with such disorder. Usually, people associate mental illness as a negative thing because some believes that mind cannot be ill. People think that mind cannot be ill because it is responsible for making the body work and function properly and that it is our main difference from the other organisms.
Stigma worsens the situation of a mentally ill person that it affects all aspects of his or her life. According to Dubin and Fink, stigma brings multitude of problems and that hinders the patients from receiving the best treatment or there are times that they can no longer get the treatments at all. In some cases, people with mental illnesses considered themselves physically ill because of being unable to get proper treatments.
The cultural view of mental illness is shifting towards widening discrimination or mistreatment. As mentioned earlier, it is in the history that people do not believe and accept that a mind can be ill. However, the societal view has also been shifting away from helping these mentally ill patients because of the society’s perception that it can possibly increase the number of crimes which puts the society in critical environment.
Homosexuality as a Deviant Act (Or Not)
Homosexuality has been regarded a deviant act to some countries because of their norms and traditions, religion and even culture as a whole. However, in the contemporary society, people started to depart homosexuality from being a deviant act, which gives way to same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, and the total acceptance of the society to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
In Minton’s Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Rights and Emancipatory Science in America, it was discussed that homosexuality has been supported by homosexual rights even before the start of the contemporary period. It was considered part of the sexual pathology, and even recognized to play a vital role in “organizing and carrying out the committee-sponsored research” pertaining the committee to the Committee for the Study of Sex Variants (Minton). Thus, legalizing and the total acceptance of homosexuals in most areas around the world most especially in Western countries, does not mean that prostitution would also be considered a legal act. Like the normal guys and gals, homosexuals should also be treated with all due respect.
However, opposing to the advocates of gender equality, are the religious groups and advocates who are sticking with the preservation of human conservatives and morality. Boswell tried to explain why it should be taken into consideration the explanations behind the opposition of the religious groups through his book Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. Though he is still holding his principle towards rejecting the idea of homosexuality, he still explained through verses why they have this kind of perspectives.
Therefore, some concludes that homosexuality should be accepted because it pertains to gender equality; while the rest are lying under the perspectives of the religious groups that homosexuality is not recognized in the bible. The society—being divided into different cultures, traditions and religion, therefore, cannot establish a single stand over homosexuality. That results to homosexuality being a deviant act to some, and being a norm to others.
The word ‘deviance’ has a lot of definitions and these depend on the environment of the author. In biological theories of Deviance, as written by Herman in his book Deviance: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach, it was stated that “certain biological structures or processes caused individuals to commit norm violations.” (Herman). On the other hand, in a psychologist and human ecologists’ perspective, deviance has something to do with the set of norms that a society has, as well as its environment, and anyone who will not be doing the same as how they are used to do it will be considered a deviant. Sociological Theories on Deviance also means the same thing—deviance being a violation of a norm and an institutionalized expectation which dictates what is considered deviant or what is not.
The numerous definition of deviance is reflective to the number of types of deviance according to the environment and the geographical area. There are political deviance, social deviance, corporate deviance and a lot more. One of the most frequent types of deviant is the political deviance. Elites and bourgeoisie, in some areas, are considered deviants. Primarily, they are considered to be of this form because given all the resources, they can do what they want. It has come to the extent that some people can buy justice thus further widens the gap between the rich and the poor. For example, in Plato’s time, the highest class (the Philosopher Kings) are considered elite and deviant as well, because they are able of making their own set of laws and they can manipulate almost everything. However, in the eyes of the westerners, elites are not considered deviants because they have been used to it and that the presence of these people has been evident to them. Therefore, the bottom line is that it is still on the eyes of the people which act is deviant and which act is not.
Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western
Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 2009.
Fink, Paul Jay and Tasman, Allan. Stigma and Mental Illness. American Psychiatric Press,
Inc. United States of America. 1992.
Herman, Nancy. Deviance: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach. General Hall: A Division of Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Boston. 1995.
Minton, Henry L. Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Rights and
Emancipatory Science in America. University Chicago Press. Chicago. 2002.
Thomson, Marie L. Mental Illness. Greenwood Publishing Group. United States. 2007.
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