Sex, Gender and Science by Myra J. Hird

By Myra J. Hird

In intercourse, Gender and technological know-how, Myra Hird outlines the social learn of technological know-how and nature, in particular in terms of intercourse, intercourse modifications, and sexuality. She examines how Western understandings of intercourse are established much less upon realizing fabric intercourse transformations than on a discourse that emphasizes intercourse dichotomy over intercourse range and argues for a feminist engagement with clinical debate that embraces the range and complexity of nature.

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We find a similar conditioning of women’s constitution in the debate between Thiroux d’Arconville and Soemmerring concerning the size of women’s skulls. Whereas d’Arconville argued that women’s skulls were smaller than men’s, Soemmerring argued that women’s skulls were actually larger than men’s. And yet, this finding does not lead Soemmerring to conclude anything about women’s capacity for thinking or rationality, but actually confirms women’s inferiority to men: “women lead a sedentary life and consequently do not develop large bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves as do men; since brain size increases as muscle size decreases, it is not surprising that women are more adept than men in intellectual pursuits” (in Schiebinger, 1993: 207).

Specifically, sex complementarity held that women and men were, biologically, better suited to different roles, and that these roles complemented each other to form the optimum living, working system. Women were to maintain the family and household while men controlled the public and political sphere. ” In this vital way, biology, as the purveyor of stable, ahistorical, and impartial “facts” about “sexual difference,” became the foundation of political prescriptions about social order. 13 So it was not a human-made political order that maintained women’s subordination and disenfranchisement, but “nature” itself that revealed social inequality.

Femininity and masculinity were determined more by close attention to signs of movement, temperament, voice and so on which indicated on which side of the one axis of “sex” any individual gravitated – active/passive, hot/cold, formed/unformed, informing/formable. That is, individuals were thought to be positioned on a single axis of “sex”: Masculinity————————————————————Femininity Interestingly, this single axis also applied to what, in contemporary society, has become the emblem of sexual difference: genitals.

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