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Gender Dilemma: Nature Vs. Culture. A Fresh Concept of Gender
This article attempts to deconstruct the concept of gender by analyzing a past of misinterpretation presented by Beauvoir and then applying ideologies from Sartre and Merleau-Ponty.
Feminist literature over the centuries has all supported one basic belief, which is that men and women and essentially equal. Through many waves of feminism, theorists maintain the basic claim of equality both politically and socially. However, strategies of how to eliminate inequality in societies today have been unable to incorporate multiple aspects of gender. Gender is generally defined as a construct created by society, whereas sex is a natural physical designation, which initially seems concrete or fixed. Some feminist groups maintain that gender is completely a construct of society, meaning there is no natural or physical essence that determines the gender roles, scripts, and schemas different sexes follow. In other words, what determines a person's actions as a gender (i.e., a woman being womanly) is purely defined by the social norms of the society.
However, do the physical differences between sexes have any merit when determining gender? Is it to be ignored, or deconstructed? Traditionally, feminists have deduced that gender must be completely free from physical or bodily influences, or risk the inevitability of defining an essence. This essence, in a sense, would deduce differences amongst gender (i.e., masculinity traits versus femininity traits) to distinctions instilled before birth. However, by having gender completely free of physical influences, it is also, in a sense, removing human from nature (Bigwood 59). In other words, gender then would not be contingent to one's sex or body, and theoretically not be limited to the human condition. Therefore, the role of nature needs to be clearly described in this development of gender, for there are obvious differences and experiences between the sexes. These differences must not be dependent to physical features, but, in a sense, conditional to the experiences with said features. However, so far, those who acknowledge the physical body in gender, generally allow a gap in their methodology that logically admits to an essence.
Can natural differences between male and female sexes account for the different gender roles without alluding to an essence? There seems to be a contradiction in previous feminist writings. One the one hand, if gender is directly influenced by the body, it seems logical to deduce the existence of a gender 'essence' that quantifies the inequality between genders. On the other, if gender is entirely culture, how does feminist literature then describe the implications of pregnancy, hormones, and menstruation on the characteristics of gender? So far, the implications of the body have not been adequately described and determined.
A proper investigation of the past and further integration of unique techniques of analysis from multiple perspectives in feminist literature, one can successfully construe the role of nature in gender, although not as a sign of any essence of gender. Through an analysis of the history of sexual oppression, it becomes clear that through male contemporaries attempting to describe feminine experiences, false delusions of the nature of womanhood were created. Therefore, the misinterpretations of the masculine gender on the feminine are at the origin of sexism and need to be fully criticized. By understanding the creation and implementation of these misconceptions of past societies, it is possible to correctly dissolve them as any evidence for an essence. Then by understanding and acknowledging problematic areas of feminist theories (gender construct, collective seriality, and re-naturalization of the body), a possible model of analysis can be created to dismiss past fallacies. Moreover, the model must include nature as a co-variable that carefully coincides with the surrounding physical and social worlds. If such a feminist model were able to incorporate nature and still support no evidence for a female essence, while maintaining the ability to rapidly change, feminism would have a united theory to apply towards today's societies.
A History of Misinterpretation
Misinterpretation is the origin of the inequalities in the patriarchal society. Centuries of men attempting to understand and explain female experiences have led to errors about what it means to be a women. Although correct, it is seemingly unnatural to deem that there are no differences between sexes that lead to expected behavior. Inadequate science has caused wrong, demoralizing conjectures and conclusions about the connections between nature and femininity. De Beauvoir's The Second Sex unveils a shocking timeline of events throughout history that accounts for the devaluation of womanhood. The first, most prominent example of men attempting to understand the female is in chapter one. When science first began defining and discovering female bodily organs, they attempted to compare them to what the male scientists knew. "The Danish anatomist Steno gave the name of ovaries to the female genital glands, previously called 'feminine testicles'" (8). Male-dominated scientists around the mid-17th century could not comprehend the female body without comparing it to what they knew and experienced. Comparing ovaries to testicles (initially) created a sense of similarity between the sexes. This example of inadequate scientific discovery parallels the inaccurate assumptions of femininity by the dominant male population. However, it is important to note that scientifically both testes and ovaries are homologous. Both organs start as the same material. The incorrect description is considering testes the original and that they can change into 'feminine testicles'.
In addition, the act of naming (in this case the naming of female reproductive organs) is a method of demonstrating dominance over the parts through having the authority to restrict its meaning. Granted, when viewing the biological processes, it seems possible to record the information and name accordingly. However, this process of naming becomes problematic when science attempts to describe the processes according to subjective terms, which are attached to the entire being (i.e., woman). For example, de Beauvoir explains that initially when science attempted to interpret the processes of fertilization, they connected the perceived passivity of the female egg to the natural condition of a woman. This subjective male judgment then allowed philosophers  to justify their sex differentiation through the interpretation of perceived physical behaviors of sex specific cells. However, these misconceptions or comparisons do not stop with physical, natural science. The great philosopher, Nietzsche, created a greatly sexist misconception concerning pregnancy and thought. "Nietzsche suggests that men turn to forms of spiritual pregnancy such as that involved in philosophy, because man is 'the fruitful animal'. By contrast, 'when a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexuality" (Mullin, 29).
Further analysis of Nietzsche by Mullin leads to the conclusion that once women become bodily pregnant, they lose the ability or energy to become spiritually pregnant. Misinterpretation of the role of physical pregnancy of the female body leads to the misconception of the female purpose. The purpose, or idea, of the meaning of womanhood is then thrown into a spiral of illusions presented initially in patriarchal societies. Wittig, a prominent French feminist philosopher, speaks against this 'idea of nature'. "We have been compelled in our bodies and in our minds to correspond, feature by feature, with the idea of nature that has been established for us" (Wittig, 1). In Nietzschean philosophy, the idea of a woman is to produce a child, and when she does not reach this 'goal' or accomplishment, she is seen as missing or resisting a part of her nature. This perception is incorrect. In recent decades, humankind has been moving closer to equality by removing these misconceptions of past regimes. However, these more recent societies are successors of predominantly male kingdoms and philosophies, and therefore these developed and created misconceptions of the nature of woman are still prevalent and are at the root of today's inequalities and problems. Butler's analysis of Wittig in Gender Troubles sketches the internalization of these misconceptions into culture: "Language, for Wittig, is a set of acts, repeated over time, that produce reality-effects that are eventually misperceived as 'facts'" (115). Therefore, over the course of time and use of language, these misconceptions are turned into social reality or cultural constructs that govern behaviors and attitudes. One such attitude is the internalization of female, as the 'other' sex. This driving force for the title of de Beauvoir's The Second Sex is a prominent issue society faces today. With previous cultures, being patriarchal and having men attempt to identify what it means to be women, mainly through comparing and contrasting them with their self-concepts, female has been deemed the other sex; "since the earliest days of the patriarchate they have thought best to keep woman in a state of dependence; their codes of law have been set up against her; and thus she has been definitely established as the Other" (Beauvoir 139). However, the realization of the nature of woman being interpreted leaves open the notion of gender being malleable, therefore, still changeable today.
Recent feminist methods of analysis have developed into an ideology focusing on gender being constructed by society. The 'idea of nature' purposed by Wittig deduces that the construction of gender is entirely decided by societies, and with misconceptions of the female experience, societies produce oppressive gender roles for women. Therefore, these misconceptions, crafted by masculine society, were aimed at defining parts of the female body and feminine character as constructs of the culture in which they were defined. Hence, gender, specifically feminine, is a construct entirely created through the society/culture in which it exists. For example, femininity is considered to be defined as passive and nurturing. This idea, in its respective culture, is then wrongfully considered a natural condition within femininity due to the 'reality-effect' being misrecognized as a fact. However, this gender is based purely on a social norm; therefore, it is not supported by any natural state or condition of the sex; therefore, gender must be learned. I do wish to acknowledge the impossibility of being un-gendered. Through my analysis, societies have emplaced a binary system of being classified as male or female, examples being birth certificates and driver licenses. With this classification of sex, the necessity of gender arises. If I am male, what does that entail? Anne Fausto-Sterling addresses the issue of over-generalization by this binary system. She suggests opening or broadening the system to cover five sexes (including hermaphrodites as well as two types of hermaphroditism: merm and ferm). Albeit the inclusion of 5 sexes on personal IDs does seem over zealous, Fausto-Sterling does successfully deduce from her literature that this binary system causes problems in today's culture and there is a societal need to attach a gender to a sex. Therefore, it is logical to presume that sex necessitates some form of gender, meaning that to have different sexes infers differences in gender.
Furthermore, after addressing the societal requirement of gender, it must be determined how one expresses this femininity (or masculinity). Joan Riviere addresses the idea of "Womanliness as Masquerade" (1929). Albeit this article is outdated and a psychoanalysis of society where women were glorified as housewives, there is still merit to this. She concluded that 'masculine' women were seen as culturally unacceptable, or at least unattractive. Therefore, there was a rift created in this culture. 'Femininity' was defined as being nurturing mothers and not holding professional careers. However, specific women she analyzed were very dominant in the workplace and demonstrated very 'masculine' traits. She deduced that these women had the desire to been seen as the dominant, which creates anxiety in the woman due to the societal interpretation of gender. Potentially, this desire correlates to the appeal to not be seen as the 'other' but as the primary focus. De Beauvoir addresses this conflict in her introduction in The Second Sex.
The situation of woman is that she -a few and autonomous being like all human creatures- nevertheless finds herself living in a world where men compel her to assume the status of the Other. They propose to stabilize her as object and to doom her to immanence since her transcendence is to be overshadowed and forever transcended by another ego (conscience), which is essential and sovereign. The drama of woman lies in this conflict between the fundamental aspirations of every subject (ego) -who always regards the self as the essential- and the compulsions of a situation in which she is the inessential. (XXXV)
Therefore, the women in Riviere's argument apply a mask of femininity to be accepted into society and ease anxiety created by their conscience. Furthermore, the necessity of gender causes individuals to initially connect to one side of the binary system. As they experience life, their personalities, and opinions of themselves, change. Therefore, this anxiety is created by now having a personal belief inconsistent with what society has defined as gender and inconsistent with what the individual has previously accepted as their own. The psychological term for this anxiety from inconsistent data is called cognitive dissonance (Brown 126-7). However, this anxiety influences the individual to justify their actions or change their attitudes. Women, in such a situation, activate what is known as the self-affirmation theory. This theory suggests that when cognitive dissonance arises, the person has the need to remind him or herself that (s)he is a good person. Hence, the woman over-emphasizes their 'femininity' as a masquerade of her true desires, in order to seek acceptance and attention from the phallocentric society in which she exists. In other words, the woman becomes super-feminine and hides her true desires behind this veil of womanliness.
Women as a 'series', not a 'group'
Furthermore, there are problems in identifying women as a general whole. In other words, women are not a collective group sharing a continuous personality. Previously, it has been determined that a binary system creates a categorization effect that delineates the two sides, which is hierarchical in structure by traditionally valuing male over female. In addition, this type of bifurcation wrongfully assumes that all women have the same opinions, beliefs, goals, attributes, and experiences, which obviously is not the case. Therefore, there is the need for a system that includes women without implying that they share common characteristics. Iris Young postulated the use of a Sartrian model of a serial collective to identify women. Young explains that traditionally a group is a collection of individuals that identify and recognizes themselves in unified relations to one another. Therefore, the individuals are aware of their participation in the group, and are able to distinguish who is not included. They are also aware of the common goal of the whole. However, when applying Sartre's concept of seriality, Young defines series as "a social collective whose members are unified passively by the objects around which their actions are orientated or by the objectified results of the material effects of the actions of the others" (724). Therefore, according to Young, the members need not be consciously aware of their inclusion in the group, nor the identification of the others in the group by a common attribute. They must be united through their response to structures previously constructed by "the unintended collective result of past actions" (724). For example, Sartre's most basic instance of a series is people waiting for a bus:
They are collective insofar as they minimally relate to one another and follow the rules of bus waiting. As a collective, they are brought together by their relation to a material object, the bus, and the social practices of public transportation. Their actions and goals may be different, and they have nothing necessarily in common in their histories, experiences, or identity. They are united only by their desire to ride on that route. (Young 725)
To further understand the complexity and adaptability of a series, Sartre coins the term 'practico-inert'. A series is a practico-inert reality, which is structured by actions that people connect to practico-inert objects. Therefore, in the example of the bus riders, the practico-inert reality is the individuals collecting at the bus stop, where the practico-inert object is the bus itself (which people attach the action of going to the bus stop in order to obtain public transportation). Young then interprets and defines those parts of seriality to women:
The female body as a practico-inert object toward which action is oriented is a rule-bound body, a body with understood meanings and possibilities. Menstruation, for example, is a regular biological event occurring in most female bodies within a certain age range. It is not this biological process alone, however, that locates individuals in the serious of women. Rather, the social rules of menstruation along with the material objects associated with menstrual practices constitute the activity within which the women live as serialized. One can say the same about biological events like pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation. (729)
Therefore, in the case of seriality of gender, Young later determines the structure of the social body as enforced heterosexuality, which defines the roles of physical bodies. This seems to be analogous to the construction of gender. The process of defining (or restricting) the practices of physical bodies (i.e., sex) is a societal exercise in which culture determines gender. Therefore, I propose this interpretation of women depicting the connection between culture and nature. The practico-inert object (nature) is governed (i.e., "rule-bound") through social guidelines (culture), and those related to this practico-inert reality (or the series) are determined by actions linked to these objects (i.e., natural, physical processes). Ultimately, women are not collected as a group demonstrating similar attitudes or traits (i.e., any natural physical connections or an essence), but rather as a series in which the social norms that determine the actions required of women are associated to their bodies (i.e., practico-inert object).
Role of the Lived Body
However, by merely analyzing historical misinterpretations, acknowledging gender as a performance and then redefining women as seriality, the quest to determine the role of nature in gender is not complete. Understanding the historical bias of patriarchal societies merely allow today's culture to deconstruct sexual differences separately from gender distinctions. It does not allow the re-inclusion of the body as an influence of gender without considering an essence. Furthermore, the transformation of gender into a performance seemingly frees gender from perpetually connected to the physical body, which allows it to be radically changed quickly, but cannot explain or include any role of physical differences between male and female bodies. The application of Sartre's model of seriality brought nature back to the foreground as being a determinant in deciding who are 'women', which improved the analysis by removing the 'group' problem. However, the reintroduction of nature questions the freeness of gender to be completely constructed, and not grounded in some aspect of a natural essence, and still maintaining the ability to be radically changed. Therefore, the inclusion of Carol Bigwood's "Renaturalizing the Body (With the Help of Merleau-Ponty)" allows the reapplication of nature as a co-variable that describes the situation of women as "natural-cultural". Therefore, the feminine situation is not rooted completely in nature or culture, but the combination of the two creates a gender that is motivated by a natural-cultural structure similar to Sartean practico-inert reality, but that still allows malleability.
First, to understand the role Bigwood plays in the model, it must be deconstructed. Bigwood understands the problem of the phallocentric world to be that women need to discover a way to exist in the world without being forced to adhere to the masculine dominated society that disregards their uniqueness. Therefore, she attempts to develop a method of analysis that allows a lived body that can achieve transcendence without being restricted by any immanence placed on it by the patriarchal society. Her determining factor for this transcendence is that the body existences in the "world-earth-home". The world is the general society that it lives in. The Earth is the acknowledgment of the other animals in her world (both human and non). The home refers to the aspects of living humanly. She specifies the inclusion of earth and home to include any natural sense of humanity, which insinuates a natural state of humans (regardless of sex). Furthermore, she utilizes Merleau-Ponty's lived body as a sentience that is born together with a certain existential environment. The body, then, does not just passively receive data but has a unique sensitivity; "It genuinely experiences rather than merely records phenomenaâ€¦it does this through an opennessâ€¦"(61). By being non-restrictive, the body is in touch with the world around it. It realizes its existence in those moments. Its experiences are precognitive and natural, "attuned toâ€¦our surroundings" (63). However, with this model, the body must be guided in some way, and this is accomplished through by "motives" (64). These 'motives' are "not objective causes of perception because the motives are far from articulate and determinate, and thus leave so much room for variation in the way the body can take them up and combine them" (64). In other words, these motives are subconscious directions given by the body (not the brain/mind) that are a result of objectively perceiving the environment. However, it is fallacious to continue down the path and logic of Merleau-Ponty, for he focuses and relies too heavily on a "latent knowledge" (63), which is an innate knowledge of or spiritual connection between the body and the earth. In regards to maintaining no innateness specific to the sexed body (i.e., innate knowledge contingent to sex), there must be a removal of spiritual and address the more concrete practical side of his ideology. For if one claims an innate knowledge is evident in the body based on the presence of sexual organs, then there exists a logical gap that can only be filled by an 'essence', which is contradictory to feminist philosophy.
Therefore, the incentive the body receives from these 'motives' can be defined further through another Sartrian concept of milieu, which is defined as preexisting physical objects and 'collectivized habits' that influence actions. For example, motives/milieus can be natural objects (i.e., mountains, rivers, blue skies, etc.) or societal constructions (street systems, buildings, technology, etc.). This concept of milieu also can include penises, vaginas, ovaries, and testicles as . This distinction defines these motives as culturally determined motivations . For example, consider the physical structure of a river. A river is physically limited to be just what it is, water flowing through a crack in the earth. However, its application can be changed based on culture. Some societies use rivers for a food source, transportation, or entertainment. The physical structure is not substantially changed or limited by any use. Culture and society determined the functioning role the river played. This can be applied to physical differences amongst the sexes to deduce that sexual organs are not confined by the physical, but by the 'collectivized habits' (or socially determined experiences) that cultures attribute to them. Therefore, by combining and exchanging concepts between the Sartrian model and the Bigwood's application of the Merleau-Ponty's ideology, one can perceive a model in which bodily sentience allows the inclusion of bodily experiences in gender without becoming 'fixed' to purely natural/physical causes.
To summarize the proposed model, gender must be a construct including both cultural and natural influences. Cultural influences include Sartre's milieu (previously determined to be analogous to Merleau-Ponty's motives) and other social norms (constructed through Butler's analysis as well as Wittig's deduction of reality-effect). Natural influences also include the physical milieu and motives as well as the practico-inert object of the body. By using the Sartrian model of serialized collectives, it allows the inclusion of women without generalizing and wrongfully assuming common attributes amongst all women. In addition, series allows the inclusion of natural and physical objects as practico-inert, which changes 'women' to be structured by the common actions of the individuals as reactions to practico-inert objects. For example, pregnancy is a practico-inert object. The interpretation of pregnancy by culture, then, determines the associations between the femininity and the woman. The ability to become pregnant does not imply that being 'womanly' entails the attributive features of being pregnant (i.e., submissive and passive). It only implies that society believes a pregnant woman to be passive and submissive, and this should not be considered to be originating in the body but rather in the culture. Therefore, unique sex-determinant functions can be defined by cultural aspects and the objects delineated as physical and material. Furthermore, the lived body experiences of Merleau-Ponty can be considered natural motives. Therefore, the physical differences experienced by male and female bodies are not support for innate gender knowledge or gender essence, but rather a category independently associated with social constructions of gender that determine which material events constitute which social directive (i.e., the choice of women to experience pregnancy leads to the activation of societal concepts connected to pregnancy).
In matter of fact, if the natural experiences of the body partially influence gender, there is no better example than pregnancy. Iris Young's "Pregnant Embodiment: Subjectivity and Alienation" maps out the unique situation and experience women go through during pregnancy. She quickly states, "pregnancy does not belong to the woman herself" (45). The process of pregnancy is seen as a "condition" of the woman that she views objectively and omits herself to in order to remove any long-term effects and emotions to being temporal and not perpetual. In other words, the pregnancy itself is seen as more of a 'cold' of her womanhood where she must take care of herself and quickly return to femininity after birth, "Pregnancy as a condition which deviates from normal health" (46). Furthermore, the condition can be seen as a process of the developing fetus where her body is no longer hers for the duration of the pregnancy. Both these explanations leave the body as 'de-centered'. The body is still attached to the nature of the woman; however, societal influences create the situation that the woman is unable to fully experience this process. In fact, "obstetrical medicine in the U.S. often alienates her from her pregnant and birthing experiences" (55).
However, this objectification of the female body is not limited or 'fixed' into this condition. Mullin states that this period is also a time of intellectual growth; "she will face the prospect of her increased vulnerability during her pregnancy and during birth. The period of her first pregnancy will often be that in which she experiences the most significant relationship that she has had with the medical establishment so far in her life" (40). Therefore, to apply the proposed model, pregnancy, then, it is the biological process of the body (the practico-inert object) that constitutes the actions defined by social norms. These social schemes attached to pregnancy (i.e., objectifying the body as a condition or of the fetus) along with the physical body constitute an activity in which women are connected serially. In other words, women are not defined as 'woman' by becoming pregnant, but are allowed to choose to be pregnant or not, while maintaining they are still 'woman'. Moreover, as stated earlier, the characteristics associated to the woman, due to her pregnancy, are cultural in their origin. By having the possibility of becoming pregnant, woman is not alluding to an essence of femininity as naturally determined, but the attributes connected to the physical experience of pregnancy determined by its culture. In this way, women are not naturally passive or submissive, though society determined that women experiencing pregnancy should be passive and submissive and these attributes are wrongfully attributed to the physical potentials of the body.
Problem of Hormones
Hormones are a controversial topic for feminists. One the one hand, they represent natural biological processes shared by both sexes. However, on the other, their role in the manipulation of personality can be seen as damaging towards any concept of removing the possibility of gender essences. However, hormones are not enough to determine gender differences. "Once established, the genital systems correspond in the two sexes, and the sex hormones of both belong to the same chemical group, that of the sterolsâ€¦Neither the chemical formula of the hormones nor the anatomical peculiarities are sufficient to define the human female as such. It is her functional development that distinguishes her especially from the male" (de Beauvoir 26). Hormones can manipulate the physical body during pregnancy and puberty; however, they do not hold enough authority to constitute any difference amongst genders. If one applies hormones to the proposed model as playing the role of a natural motive, they act as a material object that combines with the socially appropriate actions of those situations (pregnancy, menstruation, puberty, etc.) to create an experience for the woman. Therefore, just as pregnancy is not connected solely to a natural process that determines the gender of a woman, hormones as well do not constitute any presumptions of the woman's gender due to a natural essence.
One particularly interesting occurrence in the world is the realization of transsexual individuals. Specifically, what I mean by 'transsexuality' is an individual that is physically one sex, but perceives him or her self as mentally the other. Therefore, if the physical natural body of the individual played a role in the development of gender, then why does he or she not match sex with gender? To understand this designation, one needs to realize that the model I propose is not limited to only material practico-inert objects. Young's analysis of Sartre's model identifies the multifaceted aspects of gender. "A vast complex of other objects and materialized historical products condition women's lives as genderedâ€¦ A multitude of artifacts and social spacesâ€¦ are flooded with gender codesâ€¦. The gender structures are not defining attributes of individuals but are material social facts that each individual must relate to and deal with" (729-31). Therefore, the physical body is not the only practico-inert object, leaving open the possibility of other social actions that code gender as 'facts' that relate a gender to the individual. For example, a practico-inert object could be a desire traditionally attributed to women. What would happen if a male exhibited a desire that was traditionally feminine? It does not seem illogical, then, for the male to feel pressured to conform to societal guidelines of masculinity and renounce this desire or to deem himself 'womanly' in order for the desire to agree with gender. In this case, the possibility that the physical body of an individual may not match with another practico-inert object's projection of gender causes a level of cognitive dissonance. This dissonance, further strengthened by the strict binary gender system, forces individuals to connect him or her self to one of the accepted genders. Previous feminist literature assumes that most will hide their identity to perform the masquerade of the appropriate gender; however, with the more recent acceptance of homosexuality in our culture, it is now easier to be open with a possible transgender or androgynous gender concept. Therefore, since the practico-inert objects related to gender are numerous, it is difficult to specify exactly which effectively predicts transsexuality. However, the model is still able to describe transsexual individuals as long as they are able to be included in the social collective of a gender opposite of their sex. Although Sartrian explanation of the collective denies any conscious designation of a 'group', it is possible that the individual may experience cognitive dissonance through practicing opposite gender social actions and create a state of self-reflection in which he or she attempts to alleviate the cognitive dissonance, which would be one possible method is self-justifying that he or she is transsexual.
Dr. Money Case
The last objections I wish to analyze is a case where a doctor sexually reassigned a boy as a girl with the understanding that gender was completely constructed and therefore the sex of the boy could be changed still allowing the individual to live as a 'normal' girl. This situation is presented in Anne Fausto-Sterling's "The Five Sexes Revisited".
It was a dramatic example, inasmuch as it did not involve intersexuality at all: one of a pair of identical twin boys lost his penis as a result of a circumcision accident. Money recommended that 'John'â€¦ be surgically turned into 'Joan' and raised as a girl. In time, Joan grew to love wearing dresses and having her hair done. Money proudly proclaimed the sex reassignment a success. (20)
However, Fausto-Sterling later recounts the later life of 'Joan'. (S) He later rejected his femininity and had another sexual reassignment surgery to become a man again. At the time of the first sex change, 'Joan' was not only nurtured to be a girl, but also given hormonal therapy, which supposedly adjusts the body's hormone levels to that of a woman. Therefore, what caused this later rejection of femininity? It seems too feeble to merely fall back on the possibility of problems of raising the child, although there is a distinct possibility that the parents did not completely raise the child as a girl knowing the truth. In addition, it is not described by Fausto-Sterling when (or if) it was revealed to Joan that he was born a boy. Possibly, after being told of the reassignment, the individual desired to return to masculinity.
Perhaps the previous explanation of transsexuality may interpret this curious case. If the sexual reassignment was successful and through hormonal treatments the body was identical to a woman (ignoring possible scars or desensitization), there still is the possibility that the individual connected himself to the social collective of the opposite gender. Although being born a boy muddles this case, there exists a strong possibility that through other practico-inert objects, "Joan" saw himself as a transsexual before he knew of his sexual reassignment. Consequently, this case is not support for an initial, internal, natural essence of masculinity in this individual, but rather for the realization of their transsexuality. The initial sexual reassignment had no direct influence on the individual; however, later experiences in life led Joan to deduce that he desired masculinity.
 De Beauvoir specifically mentions Hegel (Pg. 9)
 Mullin (2002) summarizes and compares Nietzsche and Plato. Please see her article for a full summary.
 Wittig's article "One is not Born a Woman" was an online article I found. I saw it referenced in Butler's Gender Troubles and felt the need to acquire it. The version I found was a Word document; therefore, my page numbers do not represent the pages of the original published text.
 Wittig's terminology as cited in preceding arguments.
 Fausto-Sterling, Anne "The Five Sexes" (1993) and "The Five Sexes, Revisited" (2000)
 In addition, later Fausto-Sterling writes that even five sexes are not enough.
 Here, I quote masculinity and femininity to express the malleability of these terms.
 Young, Iris. "Gender as Seriality: Thinking about Women as a Social Collective".
 This term is her feminist adaptation of Heidegger's "world". (Pg. 57)