Gender and Xxy

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  • Published : April 7, 2013
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MW 2:50 class
Gender Project

The film XXY (really not a Y, but an X that has a leg snapped off) follows the life of Alex, a 15-year old intersex person struggling with her gender identity. She was born with both male and female genitalia, and because of this her family moved to a small seaside village in Uruguay to avoid stigma and prejudice that Alex would undoubtedly face in Argentina. She lives with her mom and her dad who is a marine biologist and has also written a book on sexuality. Alex has been raised as a girl, and she has been taking medication to block development of male features. However, she has recently stopped taking the medication. The turmoil begins when Alex’s mom invites friends to stay with them. The purpose of their visit is unclear until Alex overhears a conversation between her mother and her mother’s friend. The friend is a surgeon and has come to discuss Alex’s gender reassignment surgery. Her mother’s friends have also brought their son, Alvaro who discovers Alex’s below-the-waist anatomy. Other village boys soon find out via Alvaro and, wanting to see for themselves, assault Alex. Her father realizes that going to the police would alert the whole village to Alex’s condition. Despite this, Alex decides that it is the right thing to do, and that it does not matter if others know. She also eventually decides, despite her mother’s wishes, not to resume taking her medication or have the gender-reassignment surgery. Norms are standards for accepted and expected behavior. Alex goes against the norms of society. At the end of the film, it is still unclear if she is going to continue living as a girl, or transition to living as a boy. Most people, including me, find this annoying. As people in our gendered society, we want to know! We don’t know what category to put Alex in, and this leaves us feeling uneasy. Alex doesn’t into our system of schemas, mental categories into which our mind organizes information. Symbolic...
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