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Folded and Unfolded and Unfolding

essietee's picture

"Colorblind" - Counting Crows

One of the things I most enjoy about our class is the variance in perspective that comes from engaging with individuals who study in alternating areas. I, for example, am an English and Creative Writing student; other in our class may be studying Biology, History of Art, Psychology, or another area different than my own.  In Rebecca Jordan-Young’s selection Brain Storm, she describes the term network and how it is used to “describe groups of connected people, and in science studies especially to describe how personal and professional connections among scientists shape the scientific knowledge they produce” (Jordan-Young 8).  We may all be pursuing different areas of academia, but this class is our common link. By meeting each week to discuss Perspectives on Gender, we become a part of a network.

I was particularly intrigued by Jordan-Young’s perception of sex, gender, and sexuality as a three-ply yarn. They are all distinct strands and alone are functional; however, they may be wound together in the formation of a new entity that may be slightly “fuzzy around the edges.” This ties back into the idea of network, of individual people or thoughts that are connected through a commonality. But what do we call this newly formed three-strand yarn that is sex, gender, and sexuality? Do we even need to give it a name?

I understand the necessity to label and identify oneself; that’s how we make a community.  Ergo, it would make sense that we need to distinguish the differences that lay between the terms “gender” and “sexuality.” But at some point, I wonder what would happen if we were to let things sit for a while and stop seeking further identifications. Perhaps, as in the three-ply yarn theory, sex/gender/sexuality are not just three separate things but rather many. What smaller strings make up sex, versus the strands that compose gender and then sexuality? And at what point do we see the product as a whole, rather than for the individual parts?