Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

A Snark-Filled Checklist for Sexuality Research December 17, 2012

Filed under: body,glbt,kyriarchy,sex,sexual orientation — Stacey Goguen @ 6:48 pm

Does anyone else get sort of bored reading articles on scientific research into sexuality?  It seems like the scientists and journalists involved are…unimaginative (/unobservant).  It’s like they all stick to the same weird checklist.  Below, I try to recreate what I think that checklist is.  Please feel free to add, comment, or correct (since I might slip into my own unwarranted assumptions on this.)

This project came into being after reading this article:  “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Biology of Homosexuality.”  It’s actually pretty decent as far as reporting on scientific research in general goes, but again I was just struck by all the suppositions and the weirdly narrow framework that seem to go into this sort of research and reporting.

A Checklist for Doing Scientific Research on Sexuality:

–Assuming that homosexuality is a variation of a heterosexual default: check
–Assuming that homosexuality is essentially just one sex taking on the other sex’s normal behavior/traits: check
(i.e. male homosexuality is when men are biologically feminized)
–Being completely ignorant of / uninterested in transsexuality and the sexuality of people who are transgender: check
–Pathologizing homosexuality even while acknowledging the arbritrariness of the concept “normal” in this context: check
–Linking genitals to sexual orientation as if there’s clearly a strong, un-contentious connection between the two: check
–Erasing the possibility of a coherent sexuality for people who are intersexed: check
–Erasing bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality as categories: check
–Talking about the evolutionary advantages or disadvantages of different sexualities as if that is automatically relevant to what our current social attitudes towards them should be: check
–Thinking about sexuality research by asking questions like, “What factors contribute to heterosexuality in humans?” or “Is there a straight gene?” or “Does our biology even support the notion of having a sexual orientation?”: uncheck

Has everyone run across research or reporting on sexuality that doesn’t make this laundry list of assumptions?



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