Saturday, March 7, 2015

Some people find the birds and the bees very confusing


Here's an imaginary group of 1000 people, all aged between 20 and 40:

30 have an intersex condition (let's assume none are fertile)
485 are male: 460 fertile, 20 infertile, 5 transsexual (let's assume post-op)
485 are female: 454 fertile, 30 infertile, 1 transsexual (let's assume post-op)

Apparently, all this variety - the fact that only 91% of the above people are capable of procreation - is very confusing to academic Sara Ahmed. We could go into the effects of perceived reproductive capacity on socialization, and the effects of socialization on both personality and opportunity, but guess what?

There's an easy way to simplify this for confused folk like Sara.

Every single one of those 1000 people above came into existence through heterosexual reproduction. The sperm from a male person successfully fertilized the ovum of a female person. A female person then grew a fetus inside her female body, and eventually birthed a baby, from her female body. THIS IS THE CASE FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE 1000 PEOPLE.

Let's say for this particular group of human offspring, all were single births not involving surrogacy, with no sibling overlap. Then let's talk about those moms and dads: 1000 (fertile) human females, and 1000 (fertile) human males.

Those human females were correctly identified as ova-producers at birth. Was it right for them to be socialized to view themselves as weak, irrational, submissive? Those human males were correctly identified as sperm-producers at birth. Was it right for them to be socialized to view themselves as entitled to dominate and exploit?

BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT WE CALL GENDER.

AND THAT IS WHAT FEMINISTS FIGHT AGAINST.

Not the simple, obvious, fucking *elementary* observation that most human beings are male or female. We fight against the idea that our reproductive capacity somehow determines our personality and thus should determine our social role and status. Being female is not shameful. Being female simply means we have the ability, should we so choose and should our health allow, to create human life. It is only through gendered socialization that women come to be viewed/view ourselves as dirty, dependent sub-humans. Being male is likewise not determinative: it is only through gendered socialization that men are excused for the violent, exploitative behavior that props up male supremacy.

Pointing out that socialization based on perceived reproductive capacity (for that is what gender is) should not apply to a certain percentage of people (let's say 10%) for whom perceived reproductive capacity does not match actual reproductive capacity - DOES NOTHING FOR THE 90% LEFTOVER.


One might hope someone with a PhD could grasp this. One might despair for higher education.


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