ADD and/or ADHD (Attention Deficit [& Hyperactivity] Disorder) rates have skyrocketed in the contemporary USA, but they vary across cultural/ethnic lines. This suggests that ADHD is, in many ways, a ‘Culture Bound Syndrome.’ For this DB post, I want you to undertake a thought experiment:

1) Please define the term ‘Culture Bound Syndrome’ and then, using your intellect (i.e., not Google!):
2) Propose at least two features of contemporary Western culture (which includes the institution of K-12 education) that foster high rates of ADD/ADHD in US children/youth.
3) Explain how they do so.
4) Explain why things might not be this way in a contrasting cultural context.

Note that success in this activity does NOT hinge on adopting the perspective of cultural determinism. Consider behaviors/practices that affect biology and/or the epigenome.

In many (but not all) cultures apply a sex-based division of labor and certain rituals to cultivate and reinforce binary gender roles — although only a few gendered distinctions are, it turns out, concretely linked to biological sex per se, and most cultures allow for (and often hold in high esteem) certain non-binary roles also.

In this DB post, please identify an everyday practice common in your culture that reinforces the gender binary, narrowing people’s options. The more habitual and mundane the practice the better.

  1. Describe the practice.
  2. List the ramifications this practice has for how people express or embody their gender identity.
  3. Explain the practice’s biological impact (i.e., the way that it becomes embodied as a ‘biological fact’ and/or heightens any prior biological potentials) [To qualify for full credit your answer to this part of the question has to go beyond ‘stress’ or mental health issues. It has to speak to classically (anatomical, physiological) biological dimensions of life.]

Answer preview

‌Gender binary in society establishes the systems that only identify males and females as the only genders who are expected to act according to their sexes. This notion does not recognize gays, bisexuals, and lesbians because they violate the gender norms of society. A common practice of gender binary in society is the view that women are soft, caring, and nurturing and thus cannot take part in management roles.

The ramifications of this practice are most common in communities that view women as nurturing and taking care of the houses, which has limited women from exploring their full potential and achieving goals in their lives. Women have limited themselves to taking care of children and their homes. Women cannot participate in activities in society that call for leadership and managerial skills since their potential is limited to being homemakers. The practice restricts women from taking up roles outside their homes.

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