Womens Studies Motherhood, Transgender & Feminist Theory.docx

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Women's Studies
Women's Studies 1020E
Miranda Green- Barteet

Women's Study Semester 2 Transgender and Intersexed Anne Fausto Sterling Fred. A Bernstein Anne Fausto Sterling The Five Sexes, Revisited -a professor of Biology and Women's Studies at Brown University -writes and researches on issues of gender identity a revision of an essay she wrote in 1993 Suggested need to expand current two-sex system to include at least five sexes interest individuals reflect the inadequacy of our two sex system system needs to reflect the full range of human sexual diversity intended the proposal to be provocative and to raise awareness, but didn't necessarily intend her naming of the five different sexes to be taken seriously addresses recent changes she has seen in the social climate regarding intersexuality Intersexes -people whose bodies, chromosomes or hormones contain characteristics of both sexes -independent of sexual orientation Transgender -state of one's gender identity or gender expression not matching one's assigned sex -independent of sexual identity Sexual ambiguity: the patient centred approach -critique of near universal practice of performing immediate, corrective surgery on thousands of infants born each year with ambiguous genitilia spokei n front of the same doctors she was accusing of reacting with surgery and shame doctors received her with respect many had already spoken of need to scrap current practices in favour of treatments centred more on psychological therapy F-S cites momentas a watershed in the evolving discussion about how to treat children with ambiguous gentitilia Five Sexes Male Female Herms Merms Ferms Who is an intersexual? Idealized, platonic, biological world = human beings are divided into two kinds Dimorphic species males- x and y chromosome, testes, a penis and clearly defined secondary sex characteristics like muscles and facial hair female -xx chromosomes, ovaries, a system to support pregnancy and feral development and definable secondary sex characteristics Who is an intersexual? Represents all chromosomal, anatomical and hormonal exception to dimorphic ideal Number who might be subject to surgery as past 100 years or so, physicians have been the ones to define children as intersexual And to offer "remedies" infants who are both with chromosomal differences but no physical differences are often no treated children whose external generals seem to be at odd wit their gonads have often been treated or doctors could assign a gender Genital surgery Intersexual conditions are not diseases and don't need to be treated as such If making gender assignments, doctors should minimise irreversible assignments Surgical intervention especially Strop treating a child with general ambiguity as a social or medical emergency Emphasize therapy, not surgery Genital Surgery Treatment must combine medical and ethical principles Must be less drastic Surgery should only be performed on infants to save their lives or to substantially mrpove their physical well being Physicians may assign a sex to an interest infant based on the probability that the child's particular condition will lead to a particular gender identity Need to recognise a child may reject an assignment Parents and doctors must listen to the child Parents must have access to all information and options available to them Gender as continuum Medical and scientific communities don't have language for such diversity Language must be revised to account for existing diversity Progress: NATFI: North american task force on intersexuality Formed in 1999 to review clinical responses to genital ambiguity in infants Involves surgeons, endocrinologists, psychologists, ethicists, psychiatrists, geneticists, and public health officials Seeks to establish new nomenclature (a system of names) that don't rely on preconceived gender categories Suzanne kessler, psychologist, argues we need to move away from our focus on genitilia More sexual identities than genitilia can account for Need legal protection for those whose cultural and physical gentials do not match Eliminate gender on identification Fred Bernstein, On Campus, Rethinking biology 101 Bernstein writes for various American publications and covers topics ranging from architecture, law, travel and art Essay was published in 2004 Transgender Remain in between Prefer to describe themselves as gender queer Signifies that they reject the either or male female system Gender indentity is distinct from sexual orientation. Gender identity pertains to how a person feels about being male or female; sexual orientation pertains to who you are attracted to sexually Wesleyan University Small university in middletown, connecticut offers a hall for students who do not want to designate their gender campus health services no longer requires students to select M or F Brown University Allows students to select a gender neutral option on housing questionnaires Gives them the option to live with other transgender students Gender experimentation Many parents argue that gender experimentation is a phase in college Why is that a value judgement? Issues for transgender students Cost of hormone treatment for those who want it Individuals wanting gender assignment surgery are required to live as member of the opposite gender for a full year before surgery many see this as unreasonable UNIT 4: Histories of Feminism Charlotte Perkins Gilman Virginia Woolf Charlotte Perkins Gilman Best known as a sociologist and economist in her own time (Women and Economics, 1898) Now best known as author of "The Yellow Wall-paper" Suffered from clinical depression throughout her life Lived in a time when depression was pathologized Identified as hysteria, often seen solely as a "woman's disease" After the birth of her daughter, Gilman experienced a sever depression If she were alive today, she would probably be diagnosed with postpartum depression -At the time, her husband put her in the care of S. Weir Mitchell, a well-known doctor who supported the rest cure for women -Believed that women were too delicate to handle the rigours of intellectual stimulation -Advocated that women suffering from depression not be allowed to read, write, or experience any sort of intellectual stimulation Charlotte Perkins Gilman Gilman later said in her autobiography that Mitchell's cure almost drove her crazy YW is somewhat autobiographical, but Gilman is not the narrator Multidimensionality of story: can be read in context of: -gothic tradition -stories about writing -the history of healthcare- esp. mental health -analyses of gender relationships House "ancestral halls", "haunted house" (178) Isolation: "quite alone", set back from the road, 3 miles from village, "hedges and walls and gates that lock" (178) Ominous: "there is something strange about the house- I can feel it" "It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with the windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first, and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge, for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls" the wall paper "is stripped off.. in great patches all around the head of my bed" (179-80) Woman "stooping down and creeping" behind wallpaper (16) Paper changes as the light changes 187 "I am getting a little afraid of John" Rational/ irrational ways of apprehending world Different ways of looking at world Narrator (unnamed_ imaginative, fanciful- description of house "John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at an talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures" (178) J: "Laughs at me, but one expects that in marriage" J: "worst thing is to think about my condition" J: to "feel" angry/nerbous is to "neglect proper self-control" (179) Nursery is place for children-> those with an overactive imagination, needing protection, need to be controlled Story about writing, writing as resistance "this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind" "absolutely 'forbidden' to do work until I am well again" writing "exhausting" but only b/c "having to be so sly about it" "there comes john, and I must put this away0 he hates to have write a word" "I think sometimes if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me" -> "it is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work" (181) "Cousin Henry and Julia" -> but "john says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now" J's sister Jennie: "O must not let her find me writing" "I don't know why I should write this" History of health care, mental health "john is a physician and perhaps.. that is one reason I do not get well faster" "if a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter… what is one to do" -> "my brother is also a physician.. and he sys the same thing" "John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell.. I don't want to go tree at all. I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so" Dr. knows best: "you really are better, dear, whether you see it or not.. I am a doctor dear, and I know" Idea that patient has no idea what is going on;patient can't be trusted; patient's feelings and instructs are disregarded "can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?" Gender relationships "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage" Presumption that others know what is best for women:which room, whether she's ill, what her treatment should be Irony of "fourth of July" which is "over" -> no independence for narrator (183) Infantilizing of women: nursery, "blessed little goose" "little girl" "bless her little heart" "Best her little heart, she shall be as sick as she pleases" Behind paper is a "woman" who "creep" by night, unseen; " all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through" Complicated gender politics: Jennie coded as masculine- on John's side Gender Relationships Infantilizing of women: nursery, "blessed little goose," "little girl" Conclusion: In spite of you and Jane (193) -> slip? Who is Jane? Is "Jane" the narrator's conforming, accommodating self Of the woman behind the wallpaper, reluctant to come out? Irony: She can only feel freedom in insanity Virginia Woolf 20th century British writer Advocated for women's rights Well known novelist, essayist, editor Struggled with depression throughout her life Committed suicide in 1941 prior to start of WW11 "The story of shakespeares sister" Excerpt from A Room of One's Own, an extended essay First published during 24th October 1929 Based on a series of lectures she delivered in October 1928 Given at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge Uni Central argument of essay: "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction" Highly controversial at this time as it emphasises women's need to do work beyonce traidiotnal duties of childrearing and managing the home Still limiting though, as the only individuals who can really achieve money and rooms of their own are upper and middle class white women who already have access to money, time, and space Claims there were no women writing during the early modern period Stream of consciousness Status of women, marriage The daughter who refused to marry the gentleman of her parents choice was liable to be locked up, beaten and flung about the room, without any shock being inflicted on public opinion It was still the exception for women of the upper and middle class to choose their own husbands and when the husband had been assigned, he was lord and master, so far at east as law and custom could make him" Status of Women, marriage Fictional women, specifically Shakespeare's women, are strong, intelligent, ambitious women Indeed, if woman had no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of utmost importance, very variou; heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as a man, some think even great,er but this is woman in fiction. in fact, she as locked up, beaten and flung about the room Presence of women in literature Specifically literature written by men Women are importance in literature But insignificant in real
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