Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quote of the day the second, 6/7/07

from the comments in this thread:

The meaning of the words "man" & "woman" is a matter of lexicography, convention, & it changes. Intersex was unknown until recently. "Woman" had nothing to do with chromosomes until little over 100 years ago; the notion that the concept is self-evidently a matter of genetics is just unhistorical. In the not too distant past, there have been serious arguments - serious in the sense of having been taken seriously by authoritative people - whether homosexual men & women really are "men" & "women" in the sense we now accept. Likewise, transsexuality was unthought of until recently, after the words "man" & "woman" received their currently conventional meaning. Transsexuality, like the emergence of genetics (& biology generally) & changing ideas about homosexuality, will inevitably change usage of the words, notwithstanding the political resistance of a reactionary remnant. The real political & moral arguments over the exclusion of sexual minorities can't be settled by appeal to this or that dictionary, or by stipulation.


and by the way, a petite factoid from the Institute for Intersex Children and the Law

An estimated one in 2,000 babies is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit typical definitions of male or female.

One in two thousand. So, rare, yes, rarer than the oft-cited "one in ten" (yes yes we know some of y'all don't believe in that either, for various reasons), but so rare it's not hardly worth mentioning?

There are, what, about six billion people in the world, give or take. So that's, what...about three million people?

That's not the real question, though. The real question is, why do people who supposedly want to do away with...well, enough with the sophistry, most people understood "doing away with gender" in a feminist sense as, y'know,

be whoever or whatever you want to be, biology is not destiny, let us free ourselves from these rigid definitions for once and for all

...why in the world, suddenly, people who supposedly are FOR all that are twisting themselves into knots trying to explain how intersex barely matters, playing around with gender -or- altering the body with the wonders of modern technology is Wrong, -men are men, and women are women, that's how it is and that's how it will always be!-

Since when is this -feminist?- Since when is this -radical?- Since when is this -revolutionary?-

What exactly are you protecting?


Mandos said...

By the way, delphyne leaves us with:

If you recall high school biology then why are you asking what female cells are KH?

belledame222 said...

oh kh entered the fray did she? *lights candle and incense and awaits her return*

um, i don't recall high school biology real well, but I'm fairly certain we didn't talk know, I just can't even type that.

Is it performance art? Is that possible?

Mandos said...

We *did* talk about karyotypy, and XXY and Kleinfelter's Syndrome and all that stuff in high school, by the way. But as anomalies and disorders.

Alon Levy said...

There are XX males. They're not fertile because certain genes necessary for sperm production are located on the Y chromosome, but as embryos they develop male rather than female genitalia despite the lack of SRY.

Holly said...

It's so nice to see biological imperatives and restrictions taking center stage in feminism again. Maybe soon we'll be back in the 18th century!

Mandos said...

There is a growing strain of thought that because of the prevalence of porn, women were better off when only one man might have been expected to own them...

Alon Levy said...

In related news, there's a growing strain of thought that says the growing prevalence of conflicting expectations of black Americans means that they were better off under segregation, when there was a clear course of action they could take to make everyone happy.

belledame222 said...

growing strain of thought

yeah, i hear staph is back, too.

Alon Levy said...

I only have a common cold virus strain.

prosphoros said...

What exactly are you protecting?

Privilege, at the expense of a presumptively easy target or targets.