Diablog 2

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The article "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles" by Emily Martin focuses on the ways gender stereotypes are shown through the language of science. She describes how certain texts view females egg production as "unproductive" while "sperm production as inferior because it is finished at birth," (Martin 31). This is because in a woman's life time only 400 to 500 eggs will be released while a man produces over 1,000,000,000 in a single day. This biological difference may be the cause of stereotypes between sexes. In addition I found it interesting the way she describes how a sperm shows traits of masculinity because they have a strong and efficient tail that allows them to travel towards the eggs. Meanwhile the eggs according to the article are viewed as the "damsel in distress... sperm as heroic warrior to the rescue,"(Martin 34). In the article "Queer Theory, Gender Theory" by Riki Wilchins discusses the topics of sex. The article also acknowledges that as society we find ourselves more interested in the differences between male and females than their similarities. In Wilchin's article he states that Anne Fausto-Sterling has noticed that the research that "fails to find evidence of male/ female differences is thrown out; it is unpublishable," (Wilchins 86). This surprised me and made me wonder why is society so interested in the differences rather than the similarities? I also agree with the statement he made that " sex is no longer something about the bodies; rather, bodies have become something about sex," (Wilchins 86) this is seen throughout our culture and very clearly in advertisements that use sex appeal to sell a product. Throughout this article he raises the question of one body, one sex and whether we need opposite sexes. With one sex there would be no difference between male and female and everyone could behave in one way; however, a question that I began to wonder about was that if there was one sex not everyone would behave or even act the same way therefore there will still be opposites and stereotypes.

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One of the comments you pointed out, "sex is no longer something about the bodies; rather, bodies have become something about sex" was really interesting to me, as well as your thought that society is interested in pointing out the differences, rather than similarities, between sexes.

Our "what's sex" examples have really shown me how bodies have become something about sex. The Old Spice commercial we watched a couple of times in class is one example I can think of. Washing/cleaning your body is something normal and everyday, yet the commercial turns it into something sexual. I posted an example of "What's sex got to do with white teeth," where Crest depicts white teeth with something that attracts the opposite sex.

I think society is obsessed with pointing out differences between sexes because they want to emphasize how masculine or feminine someone can be. Things often appeal to strictly men or women, and a crossover of use between products designed specifically for a sex can be considered taboo. I think another reason men and women's differences are highlighted so much is because of the struggle between genders that originally took place in this country (and is taking place in others currently) with generally equal treatment under government. Highlighting how womanly something is may help an oppressed woman feel as though it's a good thing to be a woman, and not be ashamed that often less benefits are granted to her. This creates a more defined divide, yet the sexes feel liberated in their individual and completely separate sexes.

I think it's useful to reflect on what Wilchins writes about Laqueur's single sex model:

Even if we reject Laqueur's attempt to provide us with this story of opposite Sexes, in a way it doesn't matter if he's literally correct of not. What is important is that Laqueur's historical survey provides the basis for an alternative way that bodies could be understood...In doing so, we see that while Sex is not necessarily inevitable and essential, it might have a human history after all...Laqueur forces us to confront the frightening, dislocating ideas that--like our textual language--the visual language of bodies isn't transparent either. In other words, body parts aren't necessarily or only what we see them to be, because, as belief changes, vision can change too (94).
This is a key point; Wilchins isn't suggesting that everything should be the same, that there are no sexual differences. Instead, they are arguing that we need to denaturalize Sex; we need to see how it is shaped by our historical/cultural understandings and therefore is never merely just descriptions of the way the world really/actually is. Denaturalizing (exposing how one vision/version of the world becomes naturalized) is a theme that keeps coming up in our readings and is central to feminist and queer engagements with the politics of sex.

As I re-read this excerpt about Laqueur’s attempt to provide the history of opposite sex as described by Wilchins; I realized that the main point was that we need to denaturalize sex, something, I did not understand at first. The quote “Nothing in man- not even his body- is sufficiently stable to serve as a basis for self-recognition or for the understanding of other men,” (Foucault) describes this concept clearly. Therefore I believe that he means that nothing in a person physically makes them male or female making me believe that its not biologically how we identify ourselves as male and female but how behave. The behavior that we exhibit though is based on societies roles (gender roles). Which is why is is difficult to denaturalize. Howw can society and culture denaturalize sex when sex has played such a key role in society and in other readings it was even discussed that research that does not show a difference in sex is not published (Wilchins 86), therefore how can we denaturalize this concept?

As I re-read this excerpt about Laqueur’s attempt to provide the history of opposite sex as described by Wilchins; I realized that the main point was that we need to denaturalize sex, something, I did not understand at first. The quote “Nothing in man- not even his body- is sufficiently stable to serve as a basis for self-recognition or for the understanding of other men,” (Foucault) describes this concept clearly. Therefore I believe that he means that nothing in a person physically makes them male or female making me believe that its not biologically how we identify ourselves as male and female but how behave. The behavior that we exhibit though is based on societies roles (gender roles). Which is why is is difficult to denaturalize. Howw can society and culture denaturalize sex when sex has played such a key role in society and in other readings it was even discussed that research that does not show a difference in sex is not published (Wilchins 86), therefore how can we denaturalize this concept?

I agree with you about thinking of Laqueur's statement that a person's biology does not necessarily describe someone as well as their social gender identity does. For example, if a man were to begin dressing as a woman, wearing makeup, picking up 'feminine' qualities, etc. and identify himself as a woman in society, others identifying him as a woman would be more relevant than calling him a man, even though that is the biological truth. I think it would be incredibly hard, as well, to desensitize people from sex because of its role in society. More often are people grouped by gender than any other characteristic, in my opinion. Separating male and female restrooms and sports teams is not something that bothers most people, yet there is still a definite division and major taboo when a sex crosses the gender line. I think since gender is the first thing you notice about someone, it would be almost impossible to desensitze society from gender. Though I do believe that eliminating gender separation would probably aid in desensitizing sex quite a bit.

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