Essay on Cross Culture
Traditionally, health was extremely important to humans but, as a rule, it was perceived as something that constitutes a natural part of human existence. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the view on health and sickness is not a rigid, unchangeable view, but instead, it is rather a constantly evolving concept which may vary considerably in different socio-cultural environment. Moreover, human views on health and sickness may be, to a significant extent, influenced by the dominating cultural environment so that it is possible to speak that it is actually the dominant culture that defines an individual’s view of health and sickness than his objective perception of these concepts.
First of all, it should be said that the definition of such a concept as health may vary depending on the socio-cultural environment. Nevertheless, nowadays it is possible to define health as the absence of disease and infirmity and the ability to respond effectively to one’s environment. In such a way, basically, health may be defined as a state when an individual does not suffer from any disease or some discomfort.
At the same time, it is worth reminding that the views on health and sickness may vary considerably. In this respect, it should be said that the views on health basically differs depending on the culture. For instance, it is not a secret that different cultures have a different attitude to health. To put it more precisely, Western cultures traditionally tend to create a cult of physical health, while in Oriental cultures spiritual aspect is much more important.
Also, it is possible to speak about the gender and sex differences in the views on health. In fact, people often distinguish some diseases which are basically typical to representative of one or another sex. The same may be said about the race and ethnicity which also may be viewed as socio-cultural factors that influence the perception of the concept of health. For instance, it is worthy of mention that in American society different ethnic groups may have not only different attitude to health but they are also characterized by different condition of health, such as Native Americans who have are characterized by the poor condition of health compared to other ethnic groups. Age may be another factor influencing views on health. For instance, some diseases are viewed as children diseases. Finally, socio-economic conditions may also affect the perception of health since representatives of lower classes have a poorer health condition and lower health standards compared to the upper classes.
However, regardless the existing difference, it is necessary to underline that various cultures often have similar trends on their views on health. In this respect, it should be said that often there is certain stigmatization of some diseases that lead to the exclusion of individuals suffering from such diseases from society. For instance, nowadays, such a disease is AIDS which often leads to the marginalization of people suffering from this disease.
At the same time, it is necessary to underline that regardless the cultural environment an individual’s views on health depend on the dominating ideology. In this respect, it should be said that the dominating ideology of health and fitness in Western society often leads to serious health problems such as Anorexia Nevrosa, which is basically provoked by the unlimited desire of people, mainly females, to be slim and meet the existing ‘standards’.
Thus, it is possible to estimate that views on health vary depending on socio-cultural environment but they are always formed by the dominant culture or ideology which shapes individual’s perception of health.