Welcome to my second post of the semester!
Over the last fortnight I’ve been searching for answers in regards to my previous post- Who Chooses? I spent some time reading though journals by Anne Fausto-Sterling , in particular Sexing The Body; gender politics and the construction of sexuality and the article ‘That Sexe Which Prevaileth’. It discusses the history of intersexuality in Europe and America, providing case studies of people who were born with ambiguous genitals during the Premodern era. I very much enjoyed reading about the mythological concept of hermaphrodite. It refers back to the ancient Greek story of Hermes and Aphrodite, who produced a child so thoroughly endowed with the attributes of each parent that unable to decide its sex – so hence called it hermaphrodite. For something that is a myth I think its a really nice representation of meaning for Intersex. We lack a meaning for intersex in today society because we can solve the problem of intersex with medical technology.
My question is: who’s problem are we solving?
After watching the documentary Intersextion (link to the YouTube video and I strongly advise everyone to watch it) I was upset and angry by the experiences that were told. Mani Mitchell, who we would call the narrator of this film talks of her experience growing up and how she felt that she was the only one who was “different”. The truth is, being intersex is common and it occurs in one in every two thousand births. This statistic really startled me when I read it as it puts into perspective the commonality of intersex births and also the amount of procedures that must be done day in and out to make sure that no one ever hears about it.
In regards to the surgical procedure, not one of the interviewees were happy with the procedures that they undertook as children. They had no choice and rather waiting until they were older and able to make a decision doctors advised their parents the best thing is to make their abnormality “invisible”. They resented the doctors for conforming them to the gender category rather then allowing nature to take its course. For the people who didn’t undergo surgery in the film were more confident with their sexuality and remain intersex because they feel that there is nothing wrong with it.
What I took from this film as well as the readings is an understanding of our social structure. Western Society works on the idea of categorising society into groups, whether that be of age, race, status and sex. To be either man or a woman sets you up in society and provides privileges, duties and limitations that you must instill in favor of not being rejected. To be a woman already sets you back and to be homosexual is to be completely out of the mold but to be intersex would set enforce a uproar in the fabrication of society. Our gender duties would fall apart.
blahhh im rambling on again….
until next Time