Mar. 8th, 2009

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[ profile] caladri, on the terms "biological male" and "biological female":

"The problem is that people set out from having a pre-defined grouping of 'normal' and the 'other' group. People grope around for ways to say 'normal female' in a way that's less offensive and less pejorative and prejudicial and obnoxious and brash and ignorant, and choose to use politically-correct and disingenuously-defensible drop-in replacements for 'normal' like 'biological' and 'genetic'. Those words, too, are so often used to define the normal, right group and how the deviant, aberrant, wrong group area. The normal group is defined in absolute terms, these solid concrete concepts like biology and genetics, which define who and what we are, and define the other group by not being true to who and what they are. They are defined relative to the normal in a way that is implicitly wrong and explicitly other. The exception, rather than the rule. And it's fine to acknowledge exceptionality, but it reinforces social prejudices galore to use 'normal' (and its replacements) to define the in-group, right-group: whether a 'normal woman' wears makeup, is skinny or [something inarticulate about her gender and sex] doesn't matter, it's the dichotomy that is problematic.

Worse, people set out from the dichotomy in their head about what's right and wrong and choose these defensible drop-in replacements for the word 'normal' and end up being painfully disingenuous in everything they say! If you appeal to an authority in biology, you'd better have something good and concrete in your dichotomous key that biology will back you up on. Likewise for genetics and birth. Birth is perhaps a little less offensive in America than in the rest of the world — we have nothing but working-class kid makes good stories. In the rest of the world, people acknowledge that human bias is that you are what you are born to, and when people talk about natal females they might as well be talking about old money, the reality and the aspirationality of the person involved; their authenticity and their credentials."


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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