Somehow on Thursday we managed to find ourselves talking about the curiosity kids have when they’re in their teenage years. We talked about how kids that are home-schooled are usually sheltered to the point where they’ll do just about anything to know what’s going on outside of the world they know. I couldn’t help but relate this to my high school years because I went to a Pre-Professional Ballet Performing Arts Conservatory my junior and senior years of high school. I’d go to public school until noon and then I’d drive to the conservatory for the rest of the day/night  to take ballet classes. The conservatory offered academics but I was already set comfortably with my friends and life at my public high school so I just came after the academic portion of the day was complete. I was the only one who traveled from another school so my life at public high school was a mystery to everyone at the conservatory. Boys, dances, co-ed lunches…everything that I had understood to be everyday life was so intriguing to these girls. I’d fulfill their curiosities by telling them about the latest drama at our school or who was caught kissing someone’s boyfriend in the back hallway. They hadn’t ever experienced anything like a public high school before and so they had no idea what to even think about it.

Just as my friends at the conservatory hadn’t any idea of what public high school was like, our society used to not have any idea about intersexed individuals at all. In class we talked the concept of visuality. This process of actually looking at intersex bodies was what seemingly sparked an explosion of human hermaphrodites. Dreger talks about on page 25 how because gynecology was flourishing as a sub-discipline, midwifery was becoming less and less popular. With the devalorization of  midwifery and home births, medicine was becoming more and more apparent in the births of children. The medical community was much more apt to catching these “disorders of sex development,” so intersex conditions weren’t going as unnoticed as they had previously been. The idea of a hermaphrodite violates the logic of sexual dimorphism and this makes our culture and society uncomfortable. Unfortunately, instead of developing a nonsexually dimorphic understanding of bodies, the medical community chose to create pseudo hermaphrodites and completely over-medicalize these conditions.

The over-medicalization of these conditions, I believe, is what has made the stigma around these conditions so negative. Wouldn’t it be so much better to treat these intersex conditions just as normal and everyday as let’s say high blood pressure? It’s something that some people have to deal with but it’s no reason to make someone feel uncomfortable or ashamed of it. America is a society of the motto, “more is better” so….shouldn’t being intersex and having more sex organs be in fact seen as a good and impressive thing? It’s definitely something to think about.

Jenna Wise