Bodies as media

Toward the end of the class we started to talk more about the way bodies themselves are media and the way they are read, and connecting it to recent news stories about Caitlyn Jenner. I think this idea of reading of the body as a medium based on different signifiers is quite interesting in this context and is something that would be worth thinking about more.

One related issue that didn’t seem to come up but that I think is interesting to add to this discussion is the way people need so badly to be able to interpret bodies in this way, and that they particularly need to classify them into two categories based on socially constructed notions of “biological sex.” This comes up in the practice of operating on intersex children to bring them in line with societal standards and, for that matter, in any attempts to classify people based on their body parts – and for many people, the fear that their visual ability to read bodies is jeopardized, they turn to invisible markers, like chromosomes, in hopes of achieving simple categorization, although they again attempt to ignore intersex variations in these attempts. It would be interesting to think more about the reasons behind this need to categorize and the discomfort when categorization fails.

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Bodies as media

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