Uncategorizable By Choice

In the article “Unruly Bodies” by Sharon E. Preves it questions sex and gender. How do you know what gender you really are ? Do you determine by gonads, hormones, or body parts. If you’re born a hermaphrodite, what does that really mean ? If you take it out of the perspective of binary sex and gender expectations along with sex based on “outer parts”, then it leaves the answer for those questions wide open. When the social expectations of the binary is altered because the anatomical picture does not make sense, the person seems to not even have a sense able or distinguishable gender. To society, it emerges to be a social emergency because the person is abnormal, and when this happens, they are put through interventions to rid them of their sexual ambiguity. All of that is just to help them get the same treatment as every other “normal” person. Not only this, but parents also feel that as long as there is a clear distinction in sex, it will help with the clear distinction in sexuality, which reinforces heterosexuality as normative. When a group of medical advocates and inter-sex activists met in 2005, they discussed a way to get rid of gender labeling in order to refine confusion, but instead, came up with the term “disorders of sex development”(DSD). I feel it could be good in the sense that it gets rid of high politicized and sexualized terms such as hermaphrodite and intersex, but it could also be bad because it sends off a negative connotation that something is wrong with people that born that way because it goes against the binary.

This article relates to Butler’s ideas proposed in the article, “Theoretical Perspectives”. He explains that sexuality is a type of social control and it created “sex”. It also goes into explaining that societies that are mainly heterosexual have a very strict natural gender order. All of this is organized around the culture of romance, marriage, and family. All of this makes sense,  but it does not help to define how gender identities are sustained. The article mentions that there are specific feelings, behaviors, and social roles each of the genders have to play; however, how is one supposed to determine gender ?

In an article, shared by TMZ on twitter, Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s son, shared some of his own plans for his 18th birthday:

Los Angeles — “This is a decision I made on my own, but I hope this doesn’t affect my parents decision to assist me with this financially”

Giggled Jaden when he revealed his eighteenth birthday plans. Will Smith son Jaden Smith 16, made the announcement that he would have his male member removed on his eighteenth birthday, because in his words “My p**is doesn’t define me”. “I’m not gay, I’m not straight, I’ll just be a penis-less boy name Jaden”

Said Jaden Smith who claims the decision doesn’t make him more or less of a man than any of his male fans. Jaden’s only concern is the decision affecting his career as an actor “I don’t need a p**is to be the karate kid; What’s between my legs shouldn’t determine the length of my acting career”

Read more at: http://nahadaily.com/articles/jaden-smith-pen-remove-upon-turning-18/ | The Most Entertaining Page of the Day

I am sure you can understand the type of reaction society has had to it from saying that Will needs to control his children to people saying that he will change his mind by the time he grows up. This relates to those articles because with him doing this, it gets rid of the binary of female and male, and it completely obliterates gender roles in society. It makes me wonder if that makes him asexual or if it even changes his sexual identity at all. All in all, it confuses a lot of people because it gets rid of almost every label there is. He is not a boy, but he is not a girl. He evidently does not want to engage in sexual intercourse, but maybe he wants to engage in things other than that. I think it is a pretty big deal that he said that, but then again a lot of things are becoming more and more acceptable. I understand that he does not want the fact that he is a man to be the reason his acting career gets very far, but there really is nothing he can do about that because it is just a social construction that men prosper better than women; however, I am not sure how accurate that is in the acting industry.

The biggest question, though, is, “if he is not going to be a boy or girl, then what will he be?”   He said he would be a p****less boy named Jaden, but how is that possible ? This article confuses me also because not only does it cross the binary of male-female, but because it crosses that binary and the DSD, it leaves no other option to call him. With that being said, how is he supposed to fulfill his gender roles in society if he does not have a gender role? Does that automatically make him asexual?

2 thoughts on “Uncategorizable By Choice

  1. I have many questions that are very similar to the author of this post. I was very surprised to hear Jaden Smith wanting to do this and I would be very interested to hear or see what his parents think since he is looking to them financially. I think it is going to be very interesting to see how society tries to stereotype or fit him into a certain group or role. Also since he won’t have a penis or a vagina will that make him asexual since he won’t be engaging in intercourse or other sexual acts? I find this very interesting to see what is going to happen the next few weeks on this topic and what will happen once he has the surgery. I’m very interested to see what other people in class have to say about this topic.


  2. I find Jaden’s reasoning for having this surgery very interesting. I feel as though he is advocating feminism because he said that his career shouldn’t be based upon what is between his legs. I get confused when he states that he is neither gay nor straight. He wouldn’t be considered asexual because he didn’t mention he doesn’t have sexual desires. Sexuality is a part of being human and he wouldn’t necessarily have it. Will this cause society to find another “word” to categorize people like Jaden? How will this play out? Will life for him get better or be difficult?


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