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    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    More Critique of Katha Pollitt From the WMST-list

    If biological sexual dimorphism
    was just a social construction, we wouldn't be here. Reproduction
    counts for something. If some tiny percent of people are born
    biologically sexually anomalous, like the intersexed , why does that
    call biological sexual dimorphism into question? There are many
    genetic anomalies, like extra fingers and conjoined twins. But
    basically, people are born with ten fingers, and live in individual
    bodies. We don't go around saying, well, actually it's just the
    hegemonic discourse of digits that makes us think of people as having
    ten fingers. In fact, some have nine, some have eleven, some are born
    with no hands at all! Nor do we say, actually, physical individuality
    is another social construct-- look at siamese twins!
    What one does about genetic anomalies like intersex is a social
    decision, of course. But it's a different question than that of
    whether sexual dimorphism is a social construct in the first place.

    Katha Pollitt


    Yes, sperm+egg=baby, at least for the moment, though things just keep getting better. However, the fact that we are SO DEFINED by whether or not we most resemble those who carry eggs or those who carry sperm means that, socially, sex differences are constructed. What if we defined people into two groups based on another functional difference, say, ability to haul 150 lbs for a city block? We'd think that was bizarre. Well, why do we define people based on their assumed ability to play one particular procreative role? I mean, we carry groceries more often in our lives than we conceive children. [Well, there are probably some extremely rich ladies who lay around getting fertility treatments while their personal chefs buy groceries (or send their own assistants to buy groceries).]

    Also, those in disability studies might say that, in fact, the discourse about bodies is that everyone has ten fingers and toes and walks upright and has an individual, autonomous body. And that this is hegemonic.

    Get it?!!!

    3 Comments:

    Blogger Bitch | Lab said...

    dense. the whole point isn't that it's made up out of this air, but the fucking MEANING given it to it is what sucks.

    people have explained this directly, including me, but it's like talking to a brick wall. whatever.

    for the most part, i almost always agree with everything else, but there's this bizarre bug up her ass about this and it's really at that point i just say, just ignore. ignore. ignore. why give myself heartburn - b/c it's the refusal to *listen* to people that is most irritating.

    11:27 PM  
    Blogger Bitch | Lab said...

    as in sexual dimorphism seen as people with OPPOSITE characterististics for example. THAT has conseuqences. and learning about the fact that we may well exist on a biological fucking continuum has a lot of relevance for showing how the notion that men and women, male and female, are somehow opposites.

    oh my fucking god. i'm going back to watching some mindless dreck on the telly.

    11:29 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    You're SO right. About this:

    for the most part, i almost always agree with everything else, but there's this bizarre bug up her ass about this and it's really at that point i just say, just ignore. ignore. ignore. why give myself heartburn - b/c it's the refusal to *listen* to people that is most irritating.

    and this:

    as in sexual dimorphism seen as people with OPPOSITE characterististics for example.

    Well, all of it. But those especially.

    12:55 AM  

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