sex guns & goilz

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Tue Aug 15 19:54:42 PDT 2000


>At 07:30 PM 8/14/00 -0400, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>>Kelley wrote:
>>>gender may well be here to stay since i personally don't think we need to
>>>raise androgynous beings in order eradicate gender oppression
>>Androgyny is a gendered concept, as you can see from the composition of
>>the word itself (the idea of androgyny -- the union of gendered opposites
>>in one individual-- depends upon the world that divides human beings
>>between "males" & "females" understood as opposites), so I'm not talking
>>about androgyny when I say that if we get to abolish gender oppression, we
>>can be liberated from gender. Think of it as liberation of biological &
>>other differences from the modern "opposite genders" model.
>yeah but to what?

We can't predict exactly what, and that's why I said an X-sex model, instead of giving it a fixed number (as Carrol quoted Mao, "Marxists have no crystal ball").

>also, they don't have to be opposites to be a manifestation of an
>oppressive gender regime, do they?

No. In fact, before the modern opposite-genders model came into being, women were considered to be lesser men, not opposites of men. Differences were organized into the hierarchy of degrees, not on the hierarchy of kinds as they are now. We've discussed this history last year, I think. Have you read Thomas Laqueur's _Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud_ (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1990)? Also, check out Stephen Jay Gould's review of the book in NYRB.

Also, have you read Mary Astell's criticism of John Locke? One can learn much from her Tory dissent about the nature of the emergent modern regime of gender & how it differed from the older one. Astell saw that in the new modern regime which proclaimed freedom & equality as legitimating ideals of public governance & hence made dependence & subordination _theoretically exceptional_ (in contrast to the older regime in which dependence & subordination were _normal, for men & women alike_), a new idea of genders (it is women's "nature" -- not just custom & divine sanction -- to be subordinate to their "opposites" whose nature is to live in freedom) was created to reconcile the norms & exceptions of new bourgeois discourse. The new idea proclaimed: woman is _by nature not of the same kind_ as man; woman's nature is the _opposite_ of man's nature. Hence, the continuing strength of biological determinism (the idea that gender is determined by sex, not vice versa).

>the differences then won't matter in a terribly significant way. they will
>be noted, they may come along with some stereotypical assumptions, but they
>won't work together with millions of other practices, ideas, beliefs, and
>institutional imperatives to mean that you and i will be delimited in our
>capacities and freedom because of the fact that we sport pussies instead of

That's what I mean by the disappearance of gender & liberation of differences. Some differences we note now may continue to be noted, and other new differences may be given more attention, in the world without gender oppression, but they won't be organized into the principle of hierarchy, exclusion, marginalization, etc which gender has been. In the world without gender oppression, there is no reason why sex should be considered more significant than other differences such as hair color.


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