WGS – Lecture 2
How to do the readings:
Questions to consider when reading:
How does the article relate to the name of the course, and how is it related to biology? & what
type of construction is going on?
What assertions/claims are being made about sex, gender, and fertility?
On what evidence are these claims based?
Are there multiple interpretations of this reading? Especially compared to other readings.
Look at various claims, look at evidence for them, look at alternative interpretation of these
claims, examine the debates going on
How did the central biological, methodological moves influence the reading?
Look at it critically
Last class discussed certain language we should listen to in respect to biology things like natural, or
animal nature, instinct, etc. This signals we are dealing with biology
I. Pg. 47 of reader 1) Video last week showed that if not born as either sex, they will be
constructed as such. 2), 3) Focuses on the genital at birth not only ascribes gender but also
boyness and girlness. 4) Matching of male sex/male gender/boy identification as part of
normal package, so if had male sex/female gender/transgender then it is not normal. 5) Is
singular so you can’t be male and female, or be male but act female, etc. There from birth
and lifelong. Gender follows sex, identification follows. Constant throughout one’s life, that
is the naturalist paradigm. 6) “ad enforce sex/sexuality/ gender hetero-dimorphism” (video
last week, born hermaphrodite constructed into either male or female”
- This paradigm is very strong constraining idea, assumed this is what occurs in nature
II. Biology -result in psychological makeup as genderand then impact social, cultural,
economic, political dynamics & institutions.
A: If you start with argument that it starts with biology, determines everything else.
Deterministic says things do happen.
B: Naturalistic: Things should happen. What is given in biology should not be interfered
with but it could be. Sometimes intervention does happen but happen in error that
occurred in biology so restoring better naturalist to actor.
This occurs in nature but so what? For example, if you have had orthodontist
naturalist would say your crooked teeth it is natural, not very good argument. Or getting
Lasik surgery on eyes with poor sight. Interfering with nature this way is not seen as bad
or good. What about “correcting” sexual variability controversy about runner, Caster
Semenya, a few years back about a female runner should not have won award because
she was not really a girl. Research done on gender identity, including endocrinologist, gyno, inter-medicine specialist, and psychologist in determining if she is a girl or not?
After year still not determined if girl or not, Caster said she is a girl identifies as such,
grown as one but these medical practitioners undecided. However, argument made that
most athletes are physically different for example Michael Phelps double jointed ankles,
and big feet help him swim but no one stops him from competing.
-While this debate going on she appeared on “you” magazine, gets a makeover for cover
of You magazine.
III. Not tested on this.
IV. 1) Beatrix Potter, known as one of the most skilful drawers/illustrators/experimenters with
mushrooms, worked side by side with uncle who was chemist at that time. Was female scientist who
studied fungi Asked to present findings at royal society, turned down because she was female. Decided
to express vivid observations she made as scientist through children literature. In 1997 after 100 years
she tried to present her findings, apologized for excluding her findings. Beatrix Potter’s exclusion from
science was because at that time they did not want any women in science at all, not just Beatrix.
2) Right from start, it was assumed b/c that women by and large were more emotional, more
subject to emotional flux and passion then men. Right from start secretary of royal society, expres