Gender… Sex, do people know the difference?

February 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

When talking about the essay entitled “The tyranny of the Esthetic: Surgery’s Most Intimate Violation” I began thinking about how society views sex and gender. To most people gender is no different than sex in their mind and even if they are two different things, most of society views gender as a result of sex. It has become more clear from this essay that all too often the two are combined into one. Parents and doctors may think that a surgery to make a child “normal” is going to help them fit in with society, but I think it is so much more than that. I guess I always knew that there were intersexed individuals and that usually the situation was “taken care of”, but I didn’t realize that the situation happened more often than I thought. Also it happens even when a child is not completely intersexed. How does “abnormal” genitals give someone the right to change the child.

Before reading this article, I thought that when a baby was born and it was born with both genders, then yes you need to choose one of the other. But now I am not so sure how I would handle the situation if it was my own child. How can you make that decision so easily and without thinking about what will happen to the child. I keep asking myself if it is better to choose for the child and maybe eventually they will have problems later in life or is it better to wait and have the child have a possible conflicted childhood until they are allowed to choose for themselves. Unfortunately neither of the decisions sounds very good to me. When I consider this though, it is only for completely intersexed babies. Until this essay, I didn’t think about the fact that some babies might just have small defects that could also cause problems. This leads to the problem of “abnormal” genitals. I didn’t even realize that this was a problem in our society, but now I am realizing that it happens more often than I ever thought possible. I am still baffled by the idea and it is alot for me to take in.

In the case of “abnormal” genitals, it isn’t even a case of gender or sex really, it is a case that deals with societal norms. There are parameters that decide what is “normal” in terms of genital size. I definitely never even knew that this was something that society looked at because I didn’t realize that “abnormal” genital size existed. Now that I know, I am disgusted. The fact that someone could take a young child and change their body just because it is abnormal in some way is beyond my thinking. I just don’t get it, but this essay has given me something to think about. No, I don’t have a clear opinion yet, but I feel like this is something that I can really think about and form an opinion. My mind is blown but I am excited to be able to find out more about this issue. It is such a heavy issue because not only are you dealing with a human being, you are deciding their future for them without them having a say and this thought is really conflicting for me.

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§ 2 Responses to Gender… Sex, do people know the difference?

  • I completely agree with your reaction to this essay. Personally I had no idea that these surgeries even existed and I was actually shocked when I read the first sentence of the essay. An opinion on this matter is really hard to make because yes, you want to protect your child, but how do you know what is really right because no one can see the future. It absolutely terrifies me that doctors are giving out advice to parents who have no knowledge about this issue, that it is the best thing to have this surgery for their child. Personally I trust doctors with my life and I always assume that they are telling me the truth that has been researched and proven. With all of the psychological damage being done by these surgeries, how are doctors still allowed to offer this advice and operate, and why are families and victims of this surgery not standing up and putting a stop to this! These issues and stories of depression need to be brought to the public’s eye so that real psychological research of the effects of this surgery can be studied to prevent future harm to these children. Yes I would never want my child to be made fun of in the locker room, by friends, or by partners, but the psychological torture of not knowing who you really are is far worse in my opinion.

  • I completely agree with your reaction to this essay. Personally I had no idea that these surgeries even existed and I was actually shocked when I read the first sentence of the essay. An opinion on this matter is really hard to make because yes, you want to protect your child, but how do you know what is really right because no one can see the future. It absolutely terrifies me that doctors are giving out advice to parents who have no knowledge about this issue, that it is the best thing to have this surgery for their child. Personally I trust doctors with my life and I always assume that they are telling me the truth that has been researched and proven. With all of the psychological damage being done by these surgeries, how are doctors still allowed to offer this advice and operate, and why are families and victims of this surgery not standing up and putting a stop to this! These issues and stories of depression need to be brought to the public’s eye so that real psychological research of the effects of this surgery can be studied to prevent future harm to these children. Yes I would never want my child to be made fun of in the locker room, by friends, or by partners, but the psychological torture of not knowing who you really are is far worse in my opinion.

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