The Socialization and Medicalization of Gender: A Biocultural View

1988 WordsJun 19, 20188 Pages
Gender is one of the most socially ingrained social constructs. The rigid enforcement of gender is harshly controlled by the medicalization and what I will refer to as the construction of the illness of gender transgression. I postulate that there are two forms of gender transgression: a general rejection of gender norms and a rejection of these boundaries in manners that do not fit into the dominant script of gender (i.e. deciding to transition). When someone “transgresses” the boundaries of gender in this latter way, I postulate, they are inculcated both by society and by the medical community to conform to a normative trajectory of transition. This relationship between a socially constructed identity to a molecularized body – a body…show more content…
A key facet of Butler’s argument is the role that sex plays in the formation of natural or coherent gender and sexual identities. Butler explicitly challenges biological accounts of binary sex, and in doing so re-imagines the body as culturally constructed by regulative discourse. The production of sex as natural and as a biological fast is a testament to how deeply entrenched in the discourse it is concealed. The body once established as “natural” and binary sex an unquestioned “fact,” is the alibi for constructions of gender and sexuality, which can purport to be the just-as-natural expressions or consequences of a more fundamental sex. It is on the foundation of the construction of this natural binary sex that the binaries of gender and heterosexuality are likewise constructed as innate. This narrative “gives a false sense of legitimacy and universality to a culturally specific and, in some cases, culturally oppressive version of gender identity” (Butler 329). Without a critique of sex as produced by discourse, Butler claims, the distinction of sex and gender used to contest the constructions of binary gender and enforced heterosexuality would be wholly ineffective. Foucault’s web-like model of power,

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