Friday, January 15, 2016

Feminism Friday: Spectra and State Space

In "The Great Human Diasporas," the Cavalli-Sforza's point out that human biometrics cover a wide range of types, without clear divisions. They did so in order to point out that race has no basis in biological science-- it is a social construct.

In the UUA's Welcoming Congregation refresher, a similar range of types was described for human gender and sexuality.

In the workshop, we discussed approximately four axes:

1) One's gender, which is in the mind, and can range from male to female.

2) One's sexual anatomy, which can also range between masculine and feminine, with intersex in the middle. Several genetic anomalies can lead to ambiguous anatomy. Two of note are trisomy in the chromosome for gender, causing XXY or XYY expressions.

3) One's level of attraction, based on the old "Kinsey scale", from purely same-sex attraction to purely opposite-sex attraction

In a recent discussion, it was noted that one's gender expression can be another axis, ranging from butch to femme.

The axes I wanted to highlight here, however, aren't often discussed in mainstream media. In fact, I've learned more about them from Tumblr.

The main one I wanted to mention was an intensity spectrum, because it plays a role in the so-called "Culture Wars."  Specifically, in the 1960's and 1970's era of Free Love, many on the far left seemed to assume that humans would like to have all-sex, all the time.

Many conservatives object to that perception, often attempting to promote the "traditional" nuclear family: one woman, one man, with sex only within marriage.

So this intensity spectrum points out that some people do like a lot of sex, often, possibly with many people. However, some people aren't really that into sex. On the other side of this spectrum, people may be asexual, just not interested. Or there's demisexual, in the middle, which seems to mean that they aren't interested in sex with just anybody. They need to know a person first.

Some of the people who identify this way may also include a "romance" identifier, which distinguishes one's interest (or lack thereof) in sexual acts from one's interest in romantic relationships. A person might enjoy having a relationship where they have deep conversations, candlelit dinners, do nice things for each other, maybe even sit together by the fire... but aren't interested in "doing it." Another person might be both asexual and aromantic, more content with friendships that don't include romance.

The more I learn, the more I come to appreciate the Vulcan motto: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Because, really, that's how humans are. We come in all sorts.