MIDDLE S E X
The documentary â€œMiddlesexâ€? really opened my eyes to the biology behind intersexed humans. Until seeing the clip from this movie, I was generally unaware of how individuals come to be sexually ambiguous, of course, science does a magical job of making things more (and sometimes less) understandable. In this case, I thought that the blurbs about internal fertilization really added to the documentary and really helped make this complex subject seem perfectly natural in the realm of biology, though society would not have us think so.
What I really started thinking about after viewing this movie, and especially after doing the two readings on sexualities from Feminist Frontiers, was the idea of straight privilege. Michael Messnerâ€™s says in his piece, Becoming 100% Straight:
â€œâ€¦imbedded in this question is the assumption that people who identify as heterosexual, or â€˜straight,â€™ require no explanation, since they are simply acting out the â€˜naturalâ€™ or â€˜normalâ€™ sexual orientation. Itâ€™s the â€˜sexual deviantsâ€™ who require explanation, we seem to be saying, while the experience of heterosexuals, because we are normal, seems to require no critical examination or explanation.â€?
Itâ€™s true. Our society is so quick to dehumanize individuals who are not straight or who are sexually ambiguous. We find ourselves asking questions of people who do not fit into the â€œstraight,â€? male, or female category, â€œhow did that person become that way?â€? Whereas being straight, I have never had to defend my sexuality, and I donâ€™t believe Iâ€™ve ever been discriminated against for being heterosexual. In Middlesex there is a portion of the film that begins discussing and showing other clips of different species, species that can change their sex and species that readily copulate with different sexes. At the end of the clip, the commentator states, â€œVariation is the norm. Biology loves it. Society hates it.â€? And that really summed the movie and the readings up for me. After seeing this documentary, I think that this area of biology should be taught to all children. I feel that I am lucky to be an open and understanding person, and I have truly embraced what I have learned through watching this documentary and reading the assigned articles. But our society has socialized heterosexuality and only male/female sexes for so long that very many people are ignorant of the fact that other sexes and other sexual orientations exist.
Messener, Michael A. â€œBecoming 100% Straight.â€? Feminist Frontiers. Eds. Leila Rupp, Verta Taylor and Nancy Whitter. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2007. 49.