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“Posthuman Gender” and its problems

These are a few comments I had following  the IEET publishing this article:
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/abbott201312

1:

Gender is NOT a biological principle and has very little to do with biology whatsoever, yet the writer bases the crux of the argument 1. biological principles and alterations to the biological human as a means to get rid of gender oppression and 2. necessitates an omnipresent gender androgyny as a part of that process – which requires a denial of gender expression and identitiy.

Gender is entirely a social process, identities built through social interaction and self-identification. The problem is with systems and people that choose to oppress people because of their gender (either trans* or gender assigned at birth). Uniformity through androgyny OR uniformity through universal pansexual identity is counter-productive to building a society that is accepting of immense human social diversities. Claiming that pansexuality will elliminate all other forms of sexual identity denies the identity and lived reality of people who identify as anything other than pansexual. There is nothing biologically or socially inherent about gender or sexuality, it is a process of self-identification mainly narrated through socialization. 

The only thing that seems to be inherent is the fluidity of human sexuality both on a micro and macro level, changes occurring as individuals develop new identities. This concept of a “Posthuman” almost always ignores socialization in favor of biological factors, or at the very best values biological transformation over social. We can transform humans into androgynous cyborgs of the future, but that does not inherently change SOCIAL relationships between genders and sexual identities nor does it inherently dismantle systems of oppression. This is the core problem that many of these arguments blatantly overlook.

Denying gender expression and sexual identity in favor of uniform androgyny and uniform pansexuality is just as oppressive as current systems of gender oppression. Neither inherently transform gender-relations into a non-hierarchical social model. It is an acceptance and celebration of diverse lived realities and experiences that it important to transforming society towards a more egalitarian and democratic world, not a denial of what it means to be human.

“Human” is as much more of a social state of being than a biological one. Biology can determine what we can do (our biological physical limits, for instance), but it does not determine who we are as individuals, communities, and societies. “Posthuman”-ists would do better to focus on how we can transform a human world so much defined by social realities towards a world that understands the great extent of diversity that is the human experience and the complex material reality that is the universe we live in if they want to realistically begin to address serious social crises of the modern period.

2:

I want to say that Primitivists tend to be the most reactionary right-wing heterosexists espcially when it comes to trans* issues. There is no space for primitivist ideology in a world that accepts trans* gender identities and diverse sexual identities.

Heteropatriarchical social norms and power structures will not likely be altered whatsoever by methods that simply alter biological human forms. Heteropatriarchy is a social system, method, and logic with multiple roots, historically tied to liberalism, capitalism, and religion (as well as other sources that can be argued). There is nothing biologically inherent about humans that created this system; Changes to human biology will not inherently guarantee or necessitate any change whatsoever to this power structure. Androgynous pansexual cyborg society will do more to deny individual gender and sexual expression and repress (post)humans than produce a needed understanding and celebration of the diversity of lived experience.

Believing biological alterations necessitate social change is ignorant, irresponsible, and entirely problematic. It contributes to a logic of passivity (waiting for biological changes to address issues) based on an underlying assumption that we cannot change these issues in the immediate term (some sort of other – often “outside” actor – must make changes for us). This denies history and disregards our role as active constructors of history and society.

This is one of my major problems with Posthumanists/Transhumanists/Futurists etc. who believe in the core concepts that 1. Technology will inherently transform society (often assuming for the better) and 2. that technological innovation will necessitate gender equality.

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