Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are not Enough
In the article, “The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough” Fausto-Sterling claims that our culture is wrong to put people into categories as either male or female. Fausto-Sterling claimed that there are actually five sexes-and perhaps even more. She defines the sexes as male, female, hermaphrodites (herms), male pseudo-hermaphrodites (merms) and female pseudo-hermaphrodites (ferms). It has provided several insights that show diversity to be an element that is provided in societies but is in great contrast with the commonly accepted idea that there are indeed only two sexes that are present in the society. The diversity is shown to come from the genetic makeup of the individuals together with the environment which they live in. As the society becomes more mature and genetic make-ups produce a set of sexes, diversity comes about in for the people within it to have a greater sense of awareness. In the article, it is clearly shown that it is the society and the norms that are associated with it which dictates what is normal. There are certain notions that are commonly accepted as to how one should act, live, and behave and any deviation from the rule would be considered in negative terms. To a certain extent, there is a boundary that is formed that limits who is accepted and who is not. More often than not, the characteristics that come in greater frequency or that which is considered to be the characteristics of the majority are the ones which are labeled as normal.
Definitely, the article has provided several insights with regard to the “five sexes that are present in the society. The coming about of these different sexes is due to the genetic makeup and the complicated reasons that are associated with the natural sciences as to how there are the so-called ferms, herms, and merms. However, there is a great role that the society plays because of the norms, values, and beliefs that they create over what is normal and what is not. There are particular sets of limitations that are provided and this makes the situation more complicated for the hermaphrodites. If I were to quiz someone on the article, my question would be:
1) What are the three categories for intersexes that Fausto-Sterling suggests and how are they defined
Answer is: herms, merms, and ferms. Herms are those who possess one testis and one ovary, merms in the other hand are those who have testes and some aspects of the female genitalia but with no ovaries. Ferms are those who have ovaries and some aspects of the male genitalia but lack testes.
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