Sex Essentialism vs Fat Essentialism

Radical Inclusion: Recounting the Trans Inclusive History of Radical Feminism
May 8, 2016

Sex Essentialism vs Fat Essentialism

I want to present two absurd essentialist arguments in order to demonstrate the function of reductionist essentialism within our culture’s discourse. The first example of rhetoric will focus on sex essentialism while the second will employ the same rhetoric upon the binary of thin and fat:

Sex Essentialist Argument:

  • Male people who undergo dangerous genital surgeries are just mutilating their bodies because even if the surgery results in a person that looks female, biologically speaking, they still have the   male cells they had before the surgery . Why don’t biologically male people understand that they can never actually be female?
  • Therefore, males who “feel” like they’re a female trapped in a male’s body, think they should be female, or think that they really are female are just mentally ill.
    • Biologically male people should get talk therapy to help them accept the biological fact that they’re not female and shouldn’t try to be.
    • Biologically male people who get genital surgeries to fool people into thinking they’re actually female are perpetuating a pernicious anti-female culture.

Camille Paglia: “‘Transgender Mania’ is a Symptom of West’s Cultural Collapse”

Fat Essentialist Argument:

  • Fat people who undergo dangerous gastric surgeries are just mutilating their bodies because even if the surgery results in a person that looks thin, biologically speaking, they still have the   fat cells they had before the surgery . Why don’t biologically fat people understand that they can never actually be thin?
  • Therefore, fat people who “feel” like they’re a thin person trapped in a fat person’s body, think they should be a thin person, or think that they really are a thin person are mentally ill.
    • Biologically fat people should get talk therapy to help them accept the biological fact that they’re not a thin person and shouldn’t try to be.
    • Biologically fat people who get gastric surgeries to fool people into thinking they’re actually thin are perpetuating a pernicious anti-fat culture.

How has culture conditioned you to receive the above arguments? Did you notice yourself agreeing with one and not the other, even though each uses the same rhetorical “logic” of essentialist reductionism?

 

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