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S. Yaeger's blog

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Some Thoughts on Our Worksop

I have so many thoughts about our workshop.  It's hard to find a spot to start.  

I was surprised to see how many falculty members where there, and also a little saddened to see that there were not a lot of people from the support staff there.  I loved that there were people who work in admin there, but would have liked to have seen some custodial or grounds staff included too.  

In many ways, the absence of housekeepers and landscapers from the worksop highlighted one of the difficulties in starting a discussion of this nature on campus.  No matter how hard we work to be inclusive, there may always be a barrier between those in privileged positions, and those who are in positions of support.  I wonder how we can bridge that barrier.

I was very impressed with how open people were in the small breakout groups, and I always tend to like those better than big discussions anyway. I think that the biggest thing I took from my breakout groups was a sense of understanding a little better how others feel about their own class status on campus.

One of the few criticisms I have is that the workshop might have been a little too big for comfort in terms of the ammount of people there and the ability for everyone to be heard, but I think that's the sort of thing that can only become apparent through attempting to hold these events.  Overall, I thought it went well as a starting point, and I am very interested in seeing where all of this will lead.

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Thoughts on Barad's Lecture

Since last night's lecture, my mind has been spinning with loosely connected threads of thoughts and a multitiude of questions.  Maybe the biggest question I have is: How does one even begin to react to a lecture that expansive and illuminating and confusing and engaging?  I really don't have an answer to that, so I'm just going to jump in here and possibly make a fool of myself.

One of the many things that kind of stood out to me as I read the assigned piece and then listened to the lecture was the poetry of Barad's language.  The rhythm of the way she broke words in half and the pace of the piece and the lecture were kind of breathtaking in a way, and they also made me feel as though I was rapidly excellerating through time, while just sitting still.  It was a strange way to be taking in physics, by way of feeling like I'd been invited into a poem.  later, as I chewed on all the things that had been discussed, and all the things that had been left out, I wondered what Anne and Professor Barad were getting at when they were trying to get us to relate the talk to gender.

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An Interesting and Somewhat Offensive Series of Links

For some reason, the following link about gender scandals in the Olympics popped up in my facebook feed yesterday.  The link is over 2 years old, and I suspect that the poster put it up because they like getting reactions.  While I didn't react on FB, I did click through both this story and the ones which were connected to it., he-10-most-shocking-olympic-gender-scandals

In the above article, I thought it was interesting that the commentary offered by the author upholds the idea that sex organs and gender are the same thing.  However, I found the following article that was in one of the click through links more interesting in terms of offensiveness.

Aside from the fact that the article confuses intersex with being a hermaphrodite, I can't believe that the first example given is a fictional space villian, and that the rest of the article places a lot of focus on inanimate objects.  This raises some questions for me about the common public perseption of intersex, as well as what is considered "normal".  I'm wondering what my classmates think about pop articles like this one, in terms of people's awareness.  I know the article is only meant to entertain, but is it damaging?

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An Open Letter to The ISNA Regarding How Discussing Intersex Is Vital to Our Understanding Of Gender Identity and Vice Versa

Shannon Yaeger



Dear Intersex Society of North America,

I recently stumbled across your website, and your table titled “Shifting The Paradigm of Intersex Treatment.”  I found the site while doing research for a course in gender and sex and was fairly surprised at the following answer to the question of nature vs. nurture’s role in gender:

“Both, surely, but that isn't the point. The point is that people with intersex conditions ought to be treated with the same basic ethical principles as everyone else—respect for their autonomy and self-determination, truth about their bodies and their lives, and freedom from discrimination. Physicians, researchers, and gender theorists should stop using people with intersex conditions in “nature/nurture” experiments or debates.”

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On Not Having A Personal Space On Campus

For my paper, I chose the above photo of the door to the McBride lounge in the basement of Radnor.  I wasn't really thinking about the psychology of that choice at the time, but I wonder now if I picked it because my lack of a personal space on campus makes me feel a little shut out of campus life.  My paper is centered around how not living on campus creates a natural barrier between me and some of the social aspect of campus life, but also creates a different kind of space in which the McBrides offer support and understanding of one another.  Though most of us do not have a dorm room, we do have a place that is just ours, shared though it may be, and the ability to form a sort of family untit for each other.  This, to me, makes us space poor and space rich at once.

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Link to the ISNA's theory on how to treat an intersex cild

This morning, I found the website for the Intersex Society of North America, which includes a chart outlining their recommended approach vs the traditionally use concealment approach.  I included the link below.  Most of the site seems to recomend  allowing the intersex person to decide if tey want surgery, but one thing that struck me is that the INSA points out that they believe that:

"Physicians, researchers, and gender theorists should stop using people with intersex conditions in                                                                                            'nature/nurture' experiments or debates."

I'm particularly thrown by the assertion that gender theorists should not use intersex peopled in debate.

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Some Thoughts And Random Questions On Intersex Babies and Assignment Surgery

Our discussion of sex assignment surgery for intersex babies (and our roleplaying excercise) highlighted for me just how intricate an issue it is.  Often, when we discuss issues of sex and gender in class, I think it's easy for us to come to a consensus regarding the best way to deal with a variety of issues because we have the privilege of being in a safe space, with like minded individuals, but a parent of an intersexed child doesn't always have the ability to make a decision based solely on their own ethical judgement.  To that end, I have been wondering what would happen if parents of intersex children began to increasingly elect to not have a sex assigned to their children.  I think that this decision would be one that most suits my ideals, but then we face the question of education for the child and, perhaps more importantly, for the child's community.  Though I think that talking frankly and openly with the child would be a wonderful start, one might also have to consider how to address the child's difference with their teachers, their friends, and the adults who make up their community.  I'd like to think that just being in the pressence of a child who is typical in many ways, yet has atypical genitalia would be fine for most mature adults, I'm not sure.  I'm more likely to think that, while many adults would be open and understanding, some would not be, and that would be enough to make the road forward more difficult for the child.

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Introducing my friend Ms. H.

Hey all.  I know I have spoken at length about my friend who is a teacher in a Philly High School.  I have created this post so that she can comment with a brief introduction and some facts about the school where she is a teacher.  She'll be popping in to share some of her ideas with us!

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Thoughts On Our Class

In thinking over the past 6 weeks of class, and thinking about where I need to improve, the most important thing I have noticed is that I have a lot to learn from my classmates.  First, I need to be more careful when reading and responding to classmates posts.  Second, I am still amazed by the varied backgrounds and perspectives presented by everyone in the class.  It's kind of wonderful to be able to gain persepective on what other peoples experiences with education and class have been.  Additionally, I need to work on being more concise in my writing, as I tend to be super wordy and leave less room for ideas than I would like.

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The Packing Problem, Hunger in America, and Sesame Street's new food insecure Muppet.

I just finished reading The Packing Problem proposal and I really hope that the book actually gets released, because it was a very engaging read, which I think is a hard thing to do when talking economics.  As I was taking a break to eat with my family, a story about Sesame Street on the local news caught my attention.  It seems that Sesame Street will be introducing a new character, who is food insecure, during a special that will air this Sunday.  This story caught my ear because it highlighted the fact that there are 17 million hungry children in the US.  That figure was staggering to me and I wondered why, if so many children here are hungry, why there aren't late night commercials pleading for their care.  One of the things that I often think about, especially in the context of this class, is the fact that we share a common internalized myth about life in this country, that kind of dictates that issues like domestic hunger are not directly addressed very often.  When I returned to The Packing Problem, I wondered how living with food scarcity for the sum total of one's life would affect how that person opperated as an adult.  I think that it would affect how they approach most everything, since gaining money is not always a cure for a scarcity mentality.  I wonder if this idea may be feeding the common conception that the poor in America are in the position they are in because they are ineffective managers of money.

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