Thursday, 6 December 2012

Essays about the Self

Please comment on the following three essays and the views of the individual expressed in them:

1) Mirandola, "Oration on the Dignity of Man"
2) Fausto-Sterling, "The Five Sexes"
3) Olsen, "Tell Me a Riddle"

Think in particular on which aspects of the individual each writer focuses on and try to understand this focus in the context of the writer's time, culture, and value-system.


  1. I believe "The five Sexes" essay was very interesting,and it caused a lot of discussion during the course. Human beings do not all have the same nature. Perhaps Fausto has a point when arguing about how male and female are not enough. Throughout the years it has been proved that not only biologically people are born differently, but also physiologically because they claim that since they are born there is something especial. Therefore, even though they might be from an specific gender, it does not mean that their perspective will be the same as others.

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  3. I thought I'd share some comments I had on this topic since my presentation was on the five sexes.

    The author suggests that we should welcome multiple ideas of gender. We are developing in every aspect but she feels like we’re still not developing in this context, and argues that some people cannot place themselves in either the male or the female categories, they fall between both. Another sensitive issue that was touched upon is gender re-alignment operations. Where parents choose this to help sort their child into one of the society approved gender slots. But who is the surgery really benefiting? The author suggests therapy as an alternative to operation. While re-alignment may be permanent in physical terms, it does not always guarantee a gender conversion in mental terms! By operating on an intersexed child, the physician is essentially choosing a gender for him or her, a gender that the child might reject growing older.