Friday, April 24, 2009

Culture and Stereotypes.

Improving your sexual health requires that you increase your awareness of your cultural values. We each belong to multiple cultures and everything we know is taught to us through these cultures. it is important for you to understand all of the cultures you belong to and how they impact your thoughts, beliefs, and expectations. Consider the following types of cultures.

Racial Culture is often referred to as skin color. Many researches in the field of cultural studies understand how limiting this term can be, but for a general discussion on sexual health, it is important to see how your thoughts are shaped by racial assumptions.

Ethnic Culture also has multiple meanings, but for the sake of simplicity, I use it to highlight national origin. Are you from Poland, Indonesia, or Senegal? It should be noted that some ethnic cultures cross over national boundaries. And, many countries have multiple ethnic groups.

Religious Culture refers to the shared beliefs regarding god and spirituality. In the United States this is typically Christian, but even within the Christian Tradition there are multiple cultures that shape your sexual values.
Age is another culture to assess. Older persons grew up in a time that taught different values versus younger people. This results in different values that shape your sexuality.

Sexual Identity is discussed in the next topic. For now, it includes gender (male/female), and sexual orientation (gay/straight/bi). Each of these topics shapes our understanding of sexuality. Men and women, for example, have different perceptions of touch. The “gay culture” is different from straight culture.

Socio-economic status highlights how your standard of living shapes your view of sexuality. Sharing a bed with a parent takes on a new meaning if you have a one-room house.

The various cultures we belong to help us understand and make sense of the world. Shorthand ways of understanding the world are labeled as stereotypes. This topic is also designed to help you identify some of the stereotypes you believe. These beliefs shape your sexual behaviors, values and identity. A typical Latino stereotype of a male is machismo that is loosely understood as hyper masculinity. It is “wrong” from this point of view to show any weakness or feminine characteristics. The struggle in coping with this topic is that sometimes the various cultures we belong to may be in conflict. What happens when I belong to the Latino and Catholic cultures where I identify as male and acknowledge that I am attracted to the same gender (gay). The key to increasing your personal sexual health is to resolve these conflicts on a personal level. Some people do this by rejecting parts of the heritage; others work toward changing the culture from which they came from. They key is for you to integrate your overall identity.

Identify the various cultures you belong to below. Identify two sexual beliefs you learned from each culture

Now, identify two stereotypes about any culture different from the one you belong. Thus, if you identify as white, what is one stereotype you believe (or heard) about the black community. Do this for each type of culture.

What did you learn about yourself or others based on this assignment. How have these beliefs shaped your sexual behavior? Share with your support team.

No comments:

Post a Comment