Early puberty, medicalisation and the ideology of normality

Hayes, Peter (2016) Early puberty, medicalisation and the ideology of normality. Women's Studies International Forum, 56. pp. 9-18. ISSN 0277 5395

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Healthy girls with early puberty are sometimes given gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHas) to delay their pubertal development until they reach an average age of onset. Feminist research has called this treatment into question, arguing that age at puberty should be seen in terms of diversity rather than normality and abnormality. In support of this feminist position, it is argued that treatment has been justified by an ideology that medicalises healthy girls to make them “normal.” This core objective has been linked to increasing final height, reducing psychosocial difficulties, delaying sexual activity and reducing the risk of abuse. All of these auxiliary treatment objectives have been justified by being fitted to evidence rather than tested against it, and all are problematic. Side effects of GnRHas, including reduced IQ, have not been properly addressed, the alternative of providing girls with support has been little considered, and the rights of the girls are not recognised.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Culture > History and Politics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Peter Hayes
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 13:58
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:16
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/6123
ORCID for Peter Hayes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4609-8755

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