Monday, November 14, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Social Conditioning

In University, I had a rat. My job, as part of a behavioral psychology course, was to 'condition' (train) the rat to press a bar for food, and avoid another similar bar that offered nothing.

Once the rat learned the pattern, the professor would change the experiment and a new series of actions would have to be learned in order for Rattie to get it's food pellet reward.

Rattie was being 'socially conditioned' to behave in a way that I saw fit. This was an experiment. The subject was a rat. We were in a lab. I was a student learning course content.

How does this experiment differ when the subjects are unaware people and the lab is society. And the folks in charge of the pellet machine are hired marketing professionals.

Last week, I asked myself the question, "does my estrogen dip stick say ADD A QUART or is this part of my conditioning as a peri-menopausal woman in a pharmaceutical driven society."

In yesterday's post, Kathleen succinctly nailed the issue. "If there's one thing we can count on as the march of science and medicine continue apace, it is the inevitable '‘pharmaceutical fix' to cure women from the illness of being women."

Ah yes, the illness of being a women. Let's see...yup, all those cranky cramps, and that bloody blood, relentlessly pouring, month in, month out. Better solve that.

Changing our minds? That's an affliction for sure. Why would anyone change their mind in such a dynamic and complex world where lies are layered one upon the other? Better take this pill.

Not interested in sexual intimacy with the lug who never speaks, remote glued in his hand? Your dysfunctional my dear.

Don't look like a fourteen year old girl anymore? Don't eat. Just use this powder in water, every other Wednesday and you'll be in Thinville in no time.

Breasts not big enough to rival the air brushed, altered women in the glossy mags? Fork over your savings and we'll cut and paste you into the perfect you.

But wait. What if the perfect you , is you?

Understand this. I am socially conditioned. You are socially conditioned. We are all socially conditioned.

The conditioners want you to do what they want. They want you to believe their story. They want you to want what they have.

Unless we all get this part clear, understand the hooks and bait that will be dangled in our faces by way of women's magazines, television and Hollywood movies, we will be swayed from our own truth and slaves to the whims of societies conditioning. It won't matter how untested period suppressinging drugs are. We'll just be rats in a cage, pressing a bar for our next dosage.

Sue Richards

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