After reading Michel Foucault’s Article “Abnormal” I was truly in disgust of how society looked at those who were Siamese twins and hermaphrodites. They considered them monsters mainly because they didn’t know how to fit them into the law. The Siamese twins were seen as “the monster that is both man and beast. (Foucault, pg66)” They didn’t know how to punish them legally in crimes or how to understand them in the medical field and religion didn’t know where they fit into their world. So in fear they gave them a name the monsters for a way to understand them and put them in their corner of society away from them. Then you have the Hermaphrodites which Foucault state “that form the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century and until at least the start of the seventeenth century, hermaphrodites were considered to be monsters and were executed, burnt at the stake and their ashes thrown to the winds (Foucault, p67).”  Later in the Seventeenth century they were not put to death but Foucault said that “individuals recognized as hermaphrodites were asked to choose their sex, their dominant sex and to conduct themselves accordingly, especially by wearing appropriate clothes.” He goes on to say that “they were subject to criminal law and could be convicted for sodomy only if they made use of their additional sex (Foucault, pg67).”  Of course rumors could go around which were not true about them using their additional sex and they would be convicted which Foucault tells an account or two of that happening. As I read all this I Thought how horrible to not be yourself and having to choose and be punish if you broke their rules for all this. I thought Thank goodness we don’t do this anymore and then it hit me. We may not call Hermaphrodites or Siamese twins Monsters in today’s world but we as a society still sometimes do not accept them. People judge them and make jokes about them. We have TV programs that put them on display as abnormal people who need to be fixed. I don’t know how many TV shows that I have seen about Siamese Twins were they are talking about having to surgically remove them and so forth that way they can fit into our society.  Why do they need to be fixed why can’t we just except them as them.  Why do we as society have to come up with jokes about Hermaphrodites? Is it our way of still trying to understand it or help ease our fears of why they are so different. I mean if you want to look at it form a religious view point God made them that way so if God made them that way than he wanted them that way so why judge and make fun and try to change them. Why can’t we just embrace them and see them as the wonderful people that they are. Yes we may not be as crazy as the people in the eighteenth century and so forth where we put them to death, but are we any better.

 

~Kielly Perkins~

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