Emotions play a key role in one’s everyday life. lt is through emotions that one may act out anger and frustration, but also out of love and joy. It is through emotions that one may become motivated to interact in a sport such as running. Running is ultimately seen as an universal sport that basically if a person is an abled body one can take to the street and run. With today’s technology and innovations in medicine not only is the able body able to run, but also this allows a disable body such as a person with asthma as well as the cyborgs, and supercrips to participate in this sports. One develops emotional and physical ties to a sport whether they are participating in the sport or the bystander watching their favorite sports team play. As athletes and people in society, cyborgs, and supercrips act upon one’s emotions to consume technology, and consume both prescription and illegal drugs.
It is through the act of emotions that one often strives to be the best. This desire to be the best may induce the temptation of drug intake to uphold to societal norms . 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. Dummit discusses that the action of consuming prescription drugs is due to the fact that one continues to strive to be what is considered a “healthy” and abled body within society. Dummit 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) With the constant need to conform to societal needs and uphold the norm one may turn to some type of medication or drugs. One may consume drugs in order to fit this hegemonic ideology of what a body should look like. Caster Semenya was an olympic track runner for the country of South Africa and fell victim to hegemonic ideologies. Rather being acknowledged for her athleticism and her achievement in running, such as having a championship title for mid distance running; Semenya was ostracized for her body. Caster Semenya’s body was not the hegemonic ideology for a female body nor the balanced body due to her “manly” physique. Due to constant back lash on her physique Semenya felt the need to change her body by consuming the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone that is produced and is found abundant in a womans body. A woman may take these pills much like Semenya to chemically enhance one’s body to become the ideal “woman”. Ultimately, it was due to Semenyas insecurity to be normal and gain the balanced body lead to her downfall in talent and in the sport of running. Rather than being known for her sheer talent she was constantly being criticized by the male gaze and producing insecurity in her physical appearance rather than her athletic ability.
Not all drugs necessarily connote to something negative or hard such as cocaine, but can also be an aid for ones body to participate in a sport such as running. For instance, in order for a person who lives with the of disease asthma one must consume medication as well as technology to participate in any physical activity. An asthmatic may aesthetically be seen as an abled body due to the fact that there are no visible prosthetics or aids, but still are cyborgs who are trying to be seen as normal in societal terms. In order to participate in the physical aspects of running an asthmatic needs to take certain medications such as an inhaler to prevent an asthma attack from occurring. It is hard to say what a healthy and able body is based upon the fact that society still does not know what it means to be healthy due to industrialization and technology that humans are so heavily dependent on. This constant debate of what is an abled body or what is the correct body for a human will make a person such as an asthmatic feel as if one does not have a healthy or normal body. For instance, my friend and colleague Aisha Mckee expresses the emotional impact that running has had on her life due to her diagnosis with chronic asthma. Mckee states, “I have chronic asthma as well and have been battling with it all my life.I love running too, but could never do it as well as others around me because of my asthma.My chest felt tight and I would always be breathing hard like an elderly women. Right now I am participating in a fit challenge and I run every single day trying to prove that I am able and that I’m not disabled.” Mckee’s emotional drive and connection with running and her illness coincide due to this feeling of being disabled. As an asthmatic athlete myself I push myself to run since I do feel ostracized from society not physically, but physiologically. To be diagnosed to have a disability is a title that is plastered on one’s forehead and is made to make one feel weak and vulnerable. It is the drive and motivation to go against the norm of the disabled body to reclaim the term cyborg to make it a norm in society. It is through the feeling of hope that runners like myself feel that an athlete with a disability is a norm rather than an emotional battle. It is through the want to be considered as an equal to the balanced body that motivates one to turn to the use of medication to become an abled body.
In ‘I Can’t Cry and Run at the Same Time”: Women’s Use of Distance Running,”, Gail Leedy discusses the how women use running as physical and emotional outlet. It is through the testimony of five women who discuss how they used running to escape the negative emotions that were impacted in these women’s lives. Running is able to give a person clarity amongst a number of issues that may disable one from simple actions. Leedy explains that these women gained a sense of self and confidence when running. It was as if they were leaving these everyday ideologies such as the male gaze and were able to be empowered as women to be what they claim to be healthy rather than the societal conception of health which is insecurity. Leedy claims, “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 use to escape the everyday hegemony of the male gaze as well as the eurocentric view of what a person can and cannot do is now tearing down barriers. A sport such as running is able to give one a sense of emotional, physical and psychological clarity, which goes against what one is taught in society specifically for women. Much like in professional sports women are often eroticize and not seen for the strong and talented women that they are, but are seen solely for their female attributes.These female stigmas such as being a mother, a feminine physique, and beauty. These women have gained a sense of empowerment through this physical activity, but most importantly go against this ideology of femininity.
Moreover, technology also enables not only disabled bodies to become cyborgs, but as well as abled bodied humans. In “Body Like a Rocket: Performing Technologies of Naturalization” Sarah Rebolloso McCullough discusses how technology such as the Speedo’s LZR Racer Swimsuit allows able bodies such as olympians to become cyborgs. It is through these technologies that one is able to raise the abled body to a new level of superiority. McCullough states, “Joel Dinerstein argues is centred in the “self-control, self-mastery, and perfectibility” of the body aided by technological intervention (20).” McCullough discusses that there is a new strive to become a better and more efficient human being. It is through the emotion of drive and motivation that social darwinism lives in all sports. The need for the human race to push new extremes and go beyond what the human body is able to do without aid is nearly impossible without the use of technology. It is also through the need to create a new frontier through body that society pushes for a new excellence. Through innovation and technology, society as a whole is able to create a new imperialism towards excellence. This not only stimulates the emotional aspect of one’s drive, but also challenges the norm in society. Thus, ultimately playing a key role on one’s emotion to become the best.
Hence, it is through emotion of sport that one is able to express one’s self, but also a way to conform to the hegemonic view of humans within society. Running is able to invoke multiple emotions that can influence the way many view one’s self in both in a negative as well positive manner. One is able to see how an emotion will motivate one to go against the societal norms to become happy as well as try to be accepted and equal to ones abled body peers. Technology and innovation has allowed people to strive to new extremes and imperialise the human mind and body.
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