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Biological Interpretation In Wittig's One Is Not Born A Woman

Decent Essays
Denaturalizing “Biological Interpretation”
In Wittig's “One is Not Born a Woman,” biology is a classifier that naturalizes gender distinction between women and men based on the physical discrepancies. Biology, as a field of science associated with historical evidence, constructs social conventions of gender difference and instills the idea as a permanent fact. The differing role of women and men throughout history is justified by the term “biological predisposition” and “holds onto the idea that the capacity to give birth (gender role based on biological function) is what defines a woman” (Wittig 10). The notion of biology in this term defers authority to the image of science -reasoning that concludes to a fixed and proven answer. The deference
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The naturalized ideologies and categorizations of gender, sex, and sexuality are distorted through physical and genetic modifications. Lilith demonstrates that “to refuse to be a woman, does not mean that one has to become a man” (Wittig 12). Lilith, who is physically altered by the oolois, displays physical and behavioral male character traits; she fights in a way “only a man can fight” and is suspected to be a man (Butler 145). Also, Lilith runs away from her “family,” as only human males are expected to behave. Meanwhile, Butler confronts the idea in Rich's statement, that “sexuality and violence are congruent,” by describing Lilith as “biding her time, waiting for more information or a real chance to escape (Rich 209),” while the male character, Peter, “favored action” (Butler 175). Lilith breaks away from the original ideological gender construction and exemplifies the balance between gender and sexual identity outside of social standards. In doing so, Butler illustrates the development process of ideology through biological deformation of human (Lilith and her offspring) and recreates Wittig's idea of “a not-woman, a not-man, a product of society, not a product of nature, for there is no nature in society” (Wittig
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