S/G Discussion #1
Posted 22 September 2009on:
In light of this module’s readings, please discuss the statement “Anatomy is Destiny.” Do you agree or disagree? why? Be sure to define and explain your position as either essentialist or constructivist. Is there any way to transcend this divide?
Whether or not I agree with the statement that “anatomy is destiny” depends on how one defines those terms, I suppose. If we’re talking about whether someone has a certain type of genitalia, then anatomy is not destiny. If by destiny we mean that there is a restricting force telling us how we must live, then anatomy is not destiny. However, I do not feel that a face value reading of this statement does it justice. In brief (if that can be done), we all have a sexual nature unique to each of us and that gives us a starting point. Our society then attempts to define and reconstruct these natures in ways to make them more understandable and conformable. So through society, we end up with categories such as male, female, intersex, gay, and transgender. Therefore, these words and the identities attached are all constructed by society, but behind them are a sexual essence in each individual. If not identical, this viewpoint is at least very similar to the theories of Elizabeth Grosz that Fausto-Sterling describes, “thus while their bodies provided the raw materials, without a social setting, the clay could not be molded into recognizable psychic form.” (20) In the end, while I embrace the idea of a mobius strip concept here, if I must take on a label it would be that of constructivist.