Emotion and Body

Sports in general have emotional and physical ties to a person whether they are participating in the sport or the bystander watching their favorite sports team play. As I look more into the emotional and physical ties that a person may have toward an activity such as running, I begin to wonder what constitutes an able and disabled body to participate in the sport of running. Today in society one is inclined to using technology for just about everything including the use of machines and medication to be the best athlete to even the mundane athlete who participated for the pure love, motivation, joy, and other emotions that one may obtain when running or participating in their sport. In this paper I want to demonstrate that we,as athletes and people in society, are cyborg, supercrip/out of this world based upon our emotions, intake of technology, and intake of both prescription and illegal drugs.
In Drugs For Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health, Joseph Dumit discusses how society as a whole consumes pills and medication not because one is ill, but to prevent the illness from occurring. Dumit analyzes how one’s health is defined based upon the so called “norms” that the pharmaceutical world has defined as normal or good health for a human being. Dumit states “To be normal. therefore, is to be insecure…Health is America today is defined by this double insecurity: never being sure enough about the future-always being at risk- and never knowing enough about what you could and should be doing.” (pg 1) This statement touches on the ideology that a person always has to conform to what society at large believes is a healthy and fit body. This is a problem because as a society one does not really know what constitutes a healthy body. One can not define a healthy body due to the fact there are so many body types. This relates to my research because many athletes who do not fit this ideal body are often ostracized and targeted for gender testing and drug testing. Often times when a person is covered in negative press one may begin to take drugs such as estrogen or even hard drugs. There are not only hard drugs, but also drugs that help a person participate in the act of running. Dumit explains we take medication for preventative purposes such as preventing further injury when running like using a knee brace or taking ones inhaler before participating in physical activity. I feel that many people overlook these drugs and machines because they are not visible or not thought as threatening.
Moreover, ‘I Can’t Cry and Run at the Same Time”: Women’s Use of Distance Running,”, Gail Leedy discusses how running can be used as an emotional as well as physical outlet. Leedy discusses running through the lenses of five women that she interviewed. These women are very different, but running all gave these women some type of motivation, clarity, and/or joy. This article goes on to explain that running can be for every person and satisfies the each person in different psychological aspects. Leedy explains that each one of these women were satisfied in some manner whether it may be in terms of releasing stress or finding a new motivation. Leedy states, “My interest in the relationship between participating in regular self-motivated physical activity and coping with social and emotional stress came from my own experiences of using distance running to deal with a stressful transition in my life.” This article demonstrates that there is a wide range of emotions when running. I find that a persons emotions and drive a person to take some type of measure to get back to their top game. These measures may be prescription medication, illegal enhancers, physical therapy, and much more.
Furthermore, “Body Like a Rocket: Performing Technologies of Naturalization” Sarah Rebolloso McCullough discusses how sports equipment such as the Speedo’s LZR Racer Swimsuit is a technology that allows these able bodied athletes to become cyborgs. McCullough goes into depth that advanced technology in sports equipment such as in the LZR Racer suit makes an able bodied athlete a cyborg. McCullough states, “Joel Dinerstein argues is centered in the “self-control, self-mastery, and perfectibility” of the body aided by technological intervention (20).” It is through technology that a ‘normal’ person/ athlete continues to become better and stronger. McCullough makes this argument by discussing the ideology of a normal athletic body through various fields such as feminist theory, critical sport theory and more. It is through these fields that McCullough is able to examine how an able bodied athlete is in fact a cyborg or supercrip depending upon the athletes merit and status.
Hence, technology plays a large role within one’s life. Athletes depend on technologies that allow them to excel beyond what the normal body may be able to do. Emotions such as drive may cause a person to use technology as well as medication to try to reach one’s athletic peak. It is through innovations and technology that one is able to see what may cause a person run or even go to extremes such as doping.

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One Response to Emotion and Body

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    Nice job synthesizing three articles dealing with different aspects of the questions you are asking. Another question to ask in following up, to what extent do the emotions and motivations matter when considering body-technology relations? Are there some motivations of which we should be more sympathetic? How can we analyze emotional states? How can we recognize and deal with the fact that the very emotions we feel are influenced by technologies? And are all technologies equal? How do we determine the ethics or appropriateness of technological uses in our own lives and in athletics? How is this tied to emotion?

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