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Archive for the ‘nature/the natural’ Category

While attempting to define what a cyborg is in class, I was struck with inspiration for a discussion topic on the blog. Fast forward two weeks and I had completely forgotten it, racking my brain for what I wanted to write on. I knew I wanted to write on cyborgs and how people don’t realize how common they are, but I couldn’t remember the specifi-It was memory!


http://www.putlearningfirst.com/br/grape/cyborg1.jpg 

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There is nothing I dread more than the confused, shocked, horrified look on people’s faces after I open my mouth and say something incomprehensible to their untrained ears. I feel like I am exposed for the freak of nature that I am. Despite my years and years of preparation in the form of weekly speech therapy sessions and high-tech cochlear implant, I still clumsily navigate the hearing world, where sound reigns supreme, constantly tripping over tasks that seem mundane to most people.

My body, and more specifically, my ears and voice, are seen as something out of the ordinary and freakish that must be covered up as efficiently as possible or put somewhere else where there are “people like me”.

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Our class discussion regarding nature and its many forms caused me to question my own understandings of how to define nature. I suppose I never really considered that nature can take on varying forms, and the concept of nature can exist on a spectrum (more…)

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I read a lot of fanfiction. (Like, a lot.) I even write some. For those who aren’t familiar with the phenomenon, it can seem a strange and alien landscape. Some authors and actors welcome it, others revile it, but most would rather not know what their characters get up to in their readers’ and viewers’ heads. There’s even fanfiction written about real people—even if they’re in an alternate universe where magic works and the boys in that one band are firefighters or werewolves instead.

One fanfic trope that fascinates me and is particularly relevant to this class is that of mpreg, or male pregnancy. (more…)

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I haven’t connected to any other class’s readings as I have connected with Eli Clare’s Exile & Pride. I’m trying to figure out why, and I still don’t rightly know, but I needed to share.

It seems obvious to say, “Well, I like the subject matter,” but really. I do. And it is all very different but so intrinsically connected, that I feel bad that I ever doubted the meshing of these worlds into one book. The environment, queerness, and disability (to narrow it down to a main triad) are all sides of the same coin. The environment–the one he have created and the one that has always been–often dictates disability. Disability provokes a queer understanding of identity. Being queer in different environments–rural and urban–is like being a polar bear or a house cat,  a bird or a lost lizard in a sewer. The criticism that Clare invokes when talking about these topics is also critical of race and ethnicity and of privilege and gender. Who was the first to claim land as an inexhaustible resource? Who dictates the gender and sexual norms? Who creates the urban space that perpetuates disability? Clare touches on all of these linked together identities and sites, and it feels so right. I learned so much from Clare’s writing, but I also picked up his sense of criticism; that calm, assertive, compassionate voice that questions why and kicks out with fervor. Clare’s criticism is beatifically formed and so god damn smart, but it’s not the only thing that keeps me in the book.

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So I did it!

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After Months  and MONTHS of growing my hair-countless hours sitting in a chair getting braids done, never ending conversations with myself about how great the end result will be and endless hours spent viewing pictures of afros on tumblr– I finally chopped my hair.   (more…)

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Come along friends and allow me to tell you about the time that my body was invaded by an alien…

(No aliens have been harmed in the making of this post)

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Changes

2 Days Ago

10:30am: Doctor Who theme song plays inches from my head. Time to wake up.

10:35am: Get into shower. Let water pour over my head and into the floor. Eventually use soap.

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I have a confession to make.  I do not shave my arm pits.  Hell, I only shave my legs if I’m feeling saucy and have clean sheets because nothing is better than smooth legs in clean sheets.  (That’s a lie, a lot of things are better than that.)

While I like to think of myself as a badass feminist who says fuck you to anyone and everyone who tries to tell me what to do with my body – especially in regards to body hair—I am not.  That’s my second confession.  I wish it was that simple.

I don’t think it’s ever that simple.

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I know that as a class we are a pretty open group of people, but because this is a public blog (and because I am unsure how people will feel about me posting pictures) I am going to refrain from doing so for this particular post, however, if you are interested in finding pictures they are very easy to come across online. I will also warn you that the sites I have posted do contain graphic pictures, so don’t visit them if you don’t want to see the pictures.

Interestingly enough, I stumbled upon this topic after our class discussion of a utopian society in which all babies were born with the possibility of all inheriting any genetic traits from the entire population. A conflict arose when two groups of people argued whether or not they should “exclude the negative traits” without ever specifying what those negative traits are or might be. Well, I figure this is easily something that could be seen as a “negative trait”- the microphallus or micropenis.

According to http://www.micropenis.biz/p/micropenis-information.html  and Wikipedia, a micropenis can be defined as “an erect penis that is 2.5 standard deviations less than the average human penis size”. However, the two sites differ on what the average erect human penis size is. The first site defines a micropenis as being 9 centimeters or 3.5 inches or less, while the second site defines it as 7 centimeters or 2.5 inches or less. According to the websites, 0.5-0.6% of the male population has this condition. But does having a condition mean that you suffer from it?

It is possible. Even the author of micropenis.biz says that he “suffers” from the condition. Some people think they no longer suffer if the condition goes away with some form of treatment.

In the 1960s and 70s sex reassignment surgery was recommended for the micropenis condition, and if the parents consented, the testes would be removed, an artificial vagina would be constructed, and the boy would be raised as a girl. Even at our very own Johns Hopkins Hospital they performed 12 of these surgeries. However, these surgeries were based on three assumptions that are now in question:

  1. gender identity and sex differences were solely a matter of social learning rather than biology.
  2. a male with a penis too small to put into a vagina could not find a satisfactory social and sexual place in society.
  3. a functionally acceptable vagina could be constructed surgically

Because intersex individuals and some of these patients believe that children’s sex organs, sexual identity, and gender identity shouldn’t be decided for them, or regretted the surgeries that have been performed on them, many of these surgeries have stopped and parents are waiting until their children are old enough to make the decisions for themselves.

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