I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gender. (And if I’ve managed to get my blogging mojo back, this post will be the first in a series. If the doldrums remain with me, this will just have to stand alone).
I saw this clip earlier in the week. It’s a very short clip of Judith Butler discussing the meaning of gender. She gives one simple example and it has stayed with me. What is about gender that is so powerful that people get killed for transgressing gender boundaries?
Gender is the base binary distinction upon which many others so many lie. Male/Female, Light/Dark, Reason/Emotion, Culture/Nature, Hard/Soft, Order/Chaos Normal/Abnormal, Self/Other. The whole western way of thinking is based on valuing the first of these binaries, over and above the second and treating each couplet as though were opposite, distinct and mutually exclusive. Which of course they are not, and the existence of intersexed* persons demonstrates the flaw underpinning the whole epistemological house of cards.
*For a very good post on intersexed bodies and the medical system, see here.