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Fausto-Sterling: "5 genders? I was ironic. It's called scholarship"

(57 Posts)
ArranUpsideDown Wed 19-Feb-20 09:07:56

I've paraphrased it but that's pretty much the content.

I'll inform your students IF you learn the history of scholarship in the field and drop the false indignation. It does not become such a young man. AND writing an ironic essay is not a lie. Get over yourself!

Excellent @LadyPrincesexual Jane Clare Jones thread in response:

I teach feminism. I see your essay on syllabuses all over the place. Your work is referenced by Stephen Whittle, who was the architect if this political movement in this country. He wrote an essay after the GRA announcing that biological sex was no longer legally relevant. [cont.]]]0

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Ereshkigalangcleg Wed 19-Feb-20 09:31:48

This is really important. What a fucking joke.

RoyalCorgi Wed 19-Feb-20 09:44:24

The nerve of the woman. No recognition of the damage she's done.

Jane Clare Jones's response is excellent.

MindTheMinotaur Wed 19-Feb-20 09:45:19

Erm, is this one of those times where I need to 'go educate myself' or is someone willing to explain? Thanks.

TheShoesa Wed 19-Feb-20 09:49:10


So the starting point for so much of this utter shit show was an 'ironic essay'. I am horrified that Anne Fausto-Sterling is being so flippant.

OvaHere Wed 19-Feb-20 09:52:36

I've seen a few tweets from Fausto-Sterling in the last few months and whilst they're always on the defensive I do think it might be dawning on her that she's played a not insignificant part in this current shit show. Whether she'll ever admit that in a genuine way I'm not sure.

Ereshkigalangcleg Wed 19-Feb-20 09:54:11

Of course she is. Like that other smug bloke who wrote an article about how he basically made up gender identity ideology as we know and love it today.

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Wed 19-Feb-20 09:59:26

Ironic confused

Is she Using the alanis morissette definition? It’s certainly unfortunate that she wrote such bollocks

Thingybob Wed 19-Feb-20 10:02:48

Can anyone explain what she means by 'history of scholarship'?

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Feb-20 10:35:46

I’ve just read this essay. It appears to be a discussion of intersex conditions backed up with facts and figures from John Hopkins and the implications for society.

Does ‘ironic’ mean ‘fabricated bullshit’? As in, she made the lot up?

And if it is a work of fiction, how are people reading it supposed to know?

GCAcademic Wed 19-Feb-20 10:44:44

This is the sort of cynical, self-servicing charlatanism that leads politicians to say that the public has had enough of experts. The consequences of such bad faith “scholarship” for society are dire and go well beyond the field this person works on. Once you erode public faith in experts and in science, the government can get away with anything. Usually, authoritarian regimes will make sure that the academics are the first to be got out of the way. But now we have the woeful spectacle of academics conspiring in their own demise.

GCAcademic Wed 19-Feb-20 10:45:21

oops, self-serving

ArranUpsideDown Wed 19-Feb-20 10:46:47

I've just read quotations from Sexing the Body that I missed in the thread before (I don't understand Twitter threading) with a quick aside to Professor of Parody by Martha Nussbaum. The exchange is worth reading.

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RicketyLangClegety Wed 19-Feb-20 10:55:29

Adding a screenshot here of her admitting that the proposal of there being 5 sexes instead of two was "tongue-in-cheek".

RicketyLangClegety Wed 19-Feb-20 10:57:22


ArranUpsideDown Wed 19-Feb-20 11:02:45

The full Fausto-Sterling thread:

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noblegiraffe Wed 19-Feb-20 11:07:37

Nope, I still don’t get it. In a Modest Proposal, Swift proposes that poor people sell their kids for rich people to eat.

In her essay, she details the ‘biology’ and incidence of intersex people and claims John Hopkins as a source.

I don’t get the humour, or the comparison. If her claims are false, isn’t it just lying?

DodoPatrol Wed 19-Feb-20 11:08:13

Swift, on the whole, didn't get people actually following his suggestions.

(Though I was discussing climate-friendly diet with my teenagers at the weekend -- you know, flown-in vegan nuts vs lamb from local farm vs eating your pet cat -- and one of them suggested that the best bet was to eat people: 'Replace crematorium ovens with standard fan ovens!' I'm hoping this wouldn't be seen as a maverick stroke of genius at No. 10.)

ErrolTheDragon Wed 19-Feb-20 11:16:18

I've not read the full thing, but maybe writing something in 1993 which required you going back to the ideas of the 1950s wasn't very clever. And I suppose re ^ Some people "got" that mine was a "Modest Proposal" (and no, I do not think Swift really wanted people to eat children)^ maybe she couldn't have anticipated the Poe's Law world of the internet.

Bye the bye, I first came across Swift's 'Modest proposal' in an anthology of pieces from The New Elizabethan magazine - which was intended for children (though possibly it originated slightly before the invention of the 'teenager').

ErrolTheDragon Wed 19-Feb-20 11:18:37

* Swift proposes that poor people sell their kids for rich people to eat.*

With a sideline in fine glove leather iirc.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Feb-20 11:22:13

I don’t know about ‘ideas of the 50s’. If someone confidently states that some people have one ovary and one testicle and produce both sperm and egg, I don’t have the biological background to confidently state that’s not true.

It isn’t talking about ideas, it’s stating ‘facts’.

GCAcademic Wed 19-Feb-20 11:29:49

Swift was a satirist. Satire is based on exaggeration, deployed to ludicrous, humorous, and obvious effect. Academic writing, which is peer reviewed and written by someone in a university post, shares little to nothing with this genre of writing.

CaveMum Wed 19-Feb-20 11:33:03

Hopefully this will help Maya’s appeal as F-S’s work was used against her in the hearing.

noblegiraffe Wed 19-Feb-20 11:33:43

If it’s in a book then presumably it came nowhere near peer review.

I am genuinely concerned that an academic doesn’t understand the difference between exploring an idea and making up facts and assigning them to a higher authority.

GCAcademic Wed 19-Feb-20 11:34:51

It depends who published the book. Most academic publishers do use double or even triple peer review for books.

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