Sex and Gender Notes - How do we come to see a...

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How do we come to see a characteristic as a priori? Is sex and gender as fundamental or naturally determined as we (Westerners) think it is? Fajans argues that we reduce these concepts to fit our moral codes Sex (Anthro definition): the physical properties of maleness and femaleness, biological classification Gender: the cultural associations that go along with biological differentiation based on sex Sex as dualistic – boy or girl, pink or blue Chromosome model of this dualism Non-contradictory – can’t be both Life-long – you don’t change sexes during different phases of life Sex stability – a girl becomes a woman, a boy a man Biology isn’t perfectly dual: Turner Syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome – genetic variations (These are not manifest in the genitalia at birth, despite being real biological differences, so initially people with these are classified as boy or girl) – it’s called androgen insensivity (end organs don’t receive the hormones that develop them ) and can result in sterility Usually a person with one of these ‘anomalies’ gets surgery – generally the procedure to become a woman. That’s changing, though. Delayed androgen receptivity – male genitals do not appear until puberty —“Guevedoche” (the DR) – slang for eggs at ten, or Quevote (penis at twelve) – inbreeding – called Turnaman in Papua New Guinea (pidgin for ‘turn into a man’) – Foucault’s ‘Hermae Barbare’, Middlesex Anomalies can be scary or dirty (hermaphrodites in our society), or more powerful (hermaphrodites considered shamans in Sulawesi society, in Indonesia) Trans-gendered categories: Term used for third sexes, neither male nor female, but often seen as more behavioral than biological (The Berdache – Native American word for people who dress as females but undertake male and female tasks, and special social status) Some societies have more than one Berdache category (Muxe – Zapatecos from
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Sex and Gender Notes - How do we come to see a...

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