Intersexuality Essay

Intersexuality Essay - Sarah Levy April 20, 2005 Essay...

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Sarah Levy April 20, 2005 Essay Question 1 A Rainbow of Understanding In Evolution’s Rainbow , author Joan Roughgarden deconstructs commonly-held characterizations of “natural” diversity, gender, and sexuality by reframing the discourse through the lens of biology. She introduces examples of organisms which change sexes over the course of their lifetimes, and other which express “masculine” and feminine” traits differently than humans interpret them. Her work produces a complex view of sexuality that contradicts beliefs that gender is dichotomous, and genitalia as dimorphic. According to Suzanne Kessler, author of Lessons from the Intersexed, these beliefs are generally considered “fact” by doctors in the medical establishment. When faced with an intersexed body, these doctors impose their beliefs on the helpless child and complicit families. Roughgarden and Kesslers’ analyses open a space for a critique of restrictive and socially constructed social norms, and promote a more tolerant understanding of gender diversity. Roughgarden’s biological definition of “sex” is narrower than the commonly accepted societal delineation of sex, while her explanation of “gender” is considerably broader than that which is commonly accepted. The combination of these re- characterizations results in a re-conception of human sexual actions as much more diversified than generally believed . Roughgarden defines sex as “two parents mixing genes to produce offspring” (Roughgarden16). 1 Most species, she says, reproduce sexually (Roughgarden 26). The key component of Roughgarden’s definition of sex is 1 Roughgarden, Joan. Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People.
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course BUAD 305 taught by Professor Davila during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Intersexuality Essay - Sarah Levy April 20, 2005 Essay...

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