Sunday, March 11, 2007

Anker: Science and Gender (Jill Scott)

From: Suzanne Anker
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 08:40:01 -0500

Discourses on gender and society abound in the cultural and scientific literature. In this symposium there have been several references to social issues regarding gender identity and its power politics. As new technologies reconfigure the sexual revolution into an asexual one, Susan Squier’s initial comments about trans-sexuality and reproductive rights target an aspect of this circumspect and unchronicled territory. Lee Silver in Remaking Eden goes into full detail about the conceivability of male pregnancy. He also cites a time when human embryos may be created from the fusion of cells from same sex parents. Brad Davis further engages the ways in which the female is erased by the imaging practices of sonograms. These images focus only on the fetus itself as if it is located somewhere else. The new technologies of sex selection raise serious questions issues concerning female fetuses, particularly in China and India. Recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) released a statement on the non-medical use of sex selection as a sexist practice (Committee Opinion #360, “Sex Selection” February 2007, Obstetrics & Gynechology.) However, this Committee Report also raises questions about the nature of an individual’s reproductive rights. What I do find so compelling in this symposium, that as soon as it begun, reproductive rights and embryonic images flooded in. In what way, are we engaged in updated variations on gendered anatomies? Or on the other hand, is the fetus a “primal marvel” that still remains opaque to us? Are there any sociologists out there? Richard Twine and Troy Duster, what do you think are the core issues regarding gender, society and technology at this point in time?

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