Nearly everyone agrees humans can be divided into two distinct sexes: full-haired and bald-haired. Sure, there’s a loony fringe which challenges this concept. They say that other sexual characteristics such as chromosomes, reproductive organs, and hormones don’t always correspond with people’s hairlines. They challenge the widely-held belief that the inter-haired (people who have ambiguous hairlines) are defective and grotesque, and argue for the acceptance of a wide array of sexual diversity. Some even say that the essential sexual categories can be better delineated according to the genitalia. Imagine the fate at the onset of phaliarche of a poor baldie who’d been raised for several decades as a fullie just because nothing was dangling between nir legs at birth! But I digress, these viewpoints are really too outlandish to address here.
My last post “Perceptual Narrowing and Culturally Mandated Emotional Crippling of Children” described how our society stunts our development and domesticates us into docile, obedient subjects by flooding our senses with gender. One of the outcomes of this process is that we can only see two sexes—male and female—when the truth is that we are simply blinded to the broad spectrum of human sexual diversity.
People with XXY chromosomes, androgen insensitivity, ambiguous genitalia, and other visible, physical manifestations of both male and female characteristics demonstrate that humans are not a completely sexually dimoprhic species. These “intersex” people are often treated by the medical community as defective, and frequently subjected to genital mutilation (a.k.a. “surgery”), but there is no evidence that they are not just healthy members of the human tribe. It is only the perceptual narrowing of gender that limits our understanding of them to being between the two “real” sexes. The truth is that they are just one of many sexes which are miserably crushed into obscurity by the collapsing of human sexual diversity into an oppressive binary hierarchy.
During early childhood, our brains are sensitive to a broad array of stimuli and amenable to adopting a wide variety of cognitions and beliefs. As children develop, these perceptual abilities are narrowed through a neurological process called synaptic pruning. Infants’ neurons are all wired together in a redundant manner, but as a child matures many of these connections are abandoned. The initial redundancy in the brain allows the infant to respond to any environment, while the subsequent specificity allows the child to respond best to the particular environment into which it was born. While aiding learning, this process also results in the loss of ability to make certain observations that would have been possible in another environment.