Is this suitable for this group? - Dallas
About this talk
Alice Dreger works with people at the edge of anatomy, such as conjoined twins and intersexed people. In her observation, it's often a fuzzy line between male and female, among other anatomical distinctions. Which brings up a huge question: Why do we let our anatomy determine our fate?
About Alice Dreger
Alice Dreger is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago. She describes her focus as "social justice work in medicine and science" through research, writing, speaking and advocacy.
She's written several books that study subjects on the edge of norm-challenging bodies, including One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal and Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex and Intersex in the Age of Ethics.
She says: "The question that has motivated many of my projects is this: Why not change minds instead of bodies?"
I'll have to read that article a little later on, when I have more time. But I don't quite think it is fair to call it mutilation. I'm sure many of these doctors think that they are doing what is best for the infant, and are not just motivated by dualistic/sexist thinking. It is hard for gendered people to imagine that people might be okay with with ambiguous sex. It may or may not be right, but it's not like they're preforming some savage religious rite for purely superstitious reasons.
I'm sure that many doctors who performed lobotomies were genuinely trying to help their patients. But we know better know, but only because we've followed a path that science has lead us down, but we had to follow the path to get where we are now.
I'm not trying to play down anyone's misfortune, and I'm not trying to suggest that what has been done in the past is fine just because "we didn't know any better." I'm just trying to suggest that the human condition is such that we don't always know what decisions to make --which are right and which are wrong. Just because we decide past actions were wrong does not necessarily mean those past actions were committed with ill intentions. But then again, it would just depend on what it was, too.
Obviously, FGM and slavery are ill-intentioned, but radical mastectomies to treat cancer or hysterectomies for hysterical women may not have been.