or so the children’s nursery rhyme begins in response to the query “what are little girls made of?” Of course we can now say that there are approximately 23,000 + genes present in little girls and 23 chromosome pairs one of which carries the female sex marker XX! So, there you have it, question answered. But hold on, say I. Miss Universe hopeful, Jenna Talackova recently challenged that definition of “female” when she ran up against the Trump owned Miss Universe Pageant’s Canadian affiliate.
Initially denied entry based on the pageant’s proscribed rules stating candidates must be “naturally born women” Talackova sought redress through legal channels obtaining representation from no less a personage than, Gloria Allred. Support has been mixed however, despite the fact that even conservative pundit, Bill O’Reilly defended Talackova on his Fox News program.
I have read some of the criticisms directed towards Ms. Talackova and they have prompted me to Blog on her behalf and on the behalf of those sympathetic towards transgendered rights. Rhetoric aside, the central issue is one of inclusion versus exclusion. I think it should be argued that purely biological definitions of one’s sexual status are far too limiting and under representative due to the complexity of human experience. Simply put, the notion of transsexual and the realities of advanced surgical procedures have made accepted notions of sex and gender moribund.
The point is, Talackova “passes” so well that unless she let you in on it no one could possibly know she does not possess an XX chromosome configuration. Her worst critics unless told otherwise would naturally ascribe female status to her. It suggests therefore that a socially constructed definition of sex and gender is apropos.
She has altered her physicality to the furthest extent possible in order to mirror accepted notions of female identity. She now possesses both primary and secondary female sex characteristics. You can um… “Google” those to see what those generally might be.
So what are some of the criticisms I’ve seen posted:
Real women have cellulite!
Ms. Talackova is 23 years-old. I hate to say it but as the years go by she too will have her fair share.
She’s Taller than a “natural born woman”
Ms. Talackova is 6′ 1″. For an interesting read check out: http://www.tallwomen.org/famous/ suffice to say tennis star, Maria Sharapova (another pretty blond lady with an exotic Eastern European last name) is at least an inch taller!
God Doesn’t Make Mistakes!
Apart from the obvious assumption inherent in the statement that there is a God (I consider myself a believer, for what it’s worth) there are plenty of arguments for less than perfect variations in the human model… conjoined twins, cleft palates, various genetic disorders including Klinefelter’s syndrome where individuals are born with an XXY chromosome configuration etc… etc…
Can She Get Pregnant?
No, but neither can many XX females.
Does she Menstruate?
No, but neither do many XX females.
Only XX Chromosome people should be seen as female
The fact is, we have only known about the XY XX chromosome dichotomy since 1905. Therefore any identification of sexual identity prior to 1905 precludes any discussion of sex chromosomes. Nonetheless, the gender binary still existed but it wasn’t based on genetic variation. It could not have been.
No, I believe its incumbent upon society to acknowledge and abide by a socially defined definition of male and female. Just as in an earlier time when all sorts of rationales were devised to limit and infringe upon basic human rights for racial minorities so also social change must promote advances in human rights for sexual minorities.
Same-sex marriage, gay rights, transgender rights. Whether you agree with them or not, they are becomingly increasingly accepted and rightfully so. To oppose them will likely have you standing on the wrong side of history.