Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self

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Rutgers University Press, 2003 - Всего страниц: 213
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Approximately one in every two thousand infants born in America each year is sexually ambiguous in such a way that doctors cannot immediately determine the child's sex. Some children's chromosomal sexuality contradicts their sexual characteristics. Others have the physical traits of both sexes, or of neither. Is surgical intervention or sex assignment of intersexed children necessary for their physical and psychological health, as the medical and mental health communities largely assume? Should parents raise sexually ambiguous children as one gender or another and keep them ignorant of their medical history?

Drawing upon life history interviews with adults who were treated for intersexuality as children, Sharon E. Preves explores how such individuals experience and cope with being labeled sexual deviants in a society that demands sexual conformity. Preves frames their stories within a sociological discussion of gender, the history of intersex medicalization, the recent political mobilization of intersexed adults, and the implications of their activism on identity negotiation, medical practice, and cultural norms. By demonstrating how intersexed people manage and create their own identities, often in conflict with their medical diagnosis, Preves argues that medical intervention into intersexuality often creates, rather than mitigates, the stigma these people suffer.

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Избранные страницы


Beyond Pink and Blue
Medical Sex Assignment
Stigma Secrecy and Shame
Seeds of Change
Intersex Pride
Implications of Intersex Mobilization
Methodological Appendix
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Стр. 23 - The individual experiences himself as such, not directly, but only indirectly from the particular standpoints of other individual members of the same social group, or from the generalized standpoint of the social group as a whole to which he belongs...
Стр. 23 - For he enters his own experience as a self or individual, not directly or immediately, not by becoming a subject to himself, but only in so far as he first becomes an object to himself just as other individuals are objects to him or in his experience; and he becomes an object to himself only by taking the attitudes of other individuals toward himself within a social environment or context of experience and behavior in which both he and they are involved.
Стр. 101 - ... situation? In some cases it will be possible for him to make a direct attempt to correct what he sees as the objective basis of his failing, as when a physically deformed person undergoes plastic surgery, a blind person eye treatment, an illiterate remedial education, a homosexual psychotherapy.
Стр. 23 - A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal elements ; the imagination of our appearance to the other person ; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance, and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or mortification.
Стр. 43 - That guevedoche — either primarily female or male hermaphrodites in sex socialization — should aspire toward the ideal of machismo is understandable. Contrary to the biomedical explanation, then, my hunch is that the Dominican guevedoche does not experience postpubertal developmental change as being from female to male.
Стр. 39 - The sex of husband and wife was beset by rules and recommendations. The marriage relation was the most intense focus of constraints; it was spoken of more than anything else; more than any other relation, it was required to give a detailed accounting of itself. It was under constant surveillance: if it was found to be lacking, it had to come forward and plead its case before a witness. The "rest...
Стр. 38 - If (s)he is more active [literally, 'lustful'], (s)he may wed as a man, but if (s)he is more passive, (s)he may marry as a woman. If, however, (s)he should fail with one organ, the use of the other can never be permitted, but (s)he must be perpetually celibate to avoid any similarity to the role inversion of sodomy, which is detested by God. Furthermore, in Romans we read, 'Wherefore God gave them over to the desires of their hearts, to uncleanness, so that they might afflict their own bodies with...
Стр. 48 - ... identity were not conventionally congruent, and their gender status was in constant jeopardy.14 When they could, they found it easier to pass as men than to try to change the stereotyped notions of what women should look like. Paradoxically, then, bending gender rules and passing between genders does not erode but rather preserves gender boundaries. In societies with only two genders, the gender dichotomy is not disturbed by transvestites, because others feel that a transvestite is only transitorily...
Стр. 38 - For this reason the church allows a hermaphrodite - that is, someone with the organs of both sexes, capable of either active or passive functions to use the organ by which (s)he is most aroused or the one to which (s)he is more susceptible. If (s)he is more active [literally, 'lustful'], (s)he may wed as a man, but if (s)he is more passive, (s)he may marry as a woman. If, however, (s)he should fail with one organ, the use of the other can never be permitted, but (s)he must be perpetually celibate...
Стр. 46 - Medicalization is the process by which nonmedical problems become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders.

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