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Who gets to decide these things anyway?


Most of the internet will be rightly outraged at Dr New of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Florida International University and her “treatment” of pregnant women using “safe” (read dangerous with terrible side-effects) hormones in order to cure teh gay…  PZ Myers and Dan Savage have blogged about the pure evil that this whole thing is in relation to lying about the drug’s safety, ethics approval, experimenting on humans, etc.  I don’t want to go over that other than to say that if my mother had been convinced to take this drug when she was pregnant with me, I wouldn’t exist as I do now.  No more bisexual woman out to herd geek cats with the best of them.

What I want to consider here is the fact that someone came up with the idea that to be a “proper female” you shouldn’t “display an “abnormal” disinterest in babies, [not] want to play with girls’ toys or become mothers, and [not choose a] “career preferences” [which is] deemed too “masculine.”” (Quote taken from Dan’s blog and then amended)

Who gets to say which career paths are too “masculine”?  I thought, now that we’re in 2010 and have attempted as much as possible to win the whole equal pay in relation to employment that all career choices were open to women and none could really be defined as “too masculine”.  I know that there are career paths which are dominated by one gender with rare incursions (for want of a better word) by the opposite gender, such as childcare and nursing for women and truck driving and construction work for men.  Though I wouldn’t say that those career paths are actually gendered other than by history and the current status quo.

I do wonder what Dr New and her researchers deemed to be a masculine career preferences and why, in the age of enlightenment that we’re supposed to be in (as far as women’s alleged ability to access any job she’s qualified for) choosing a non-traditional job for women is a bad thing.  My biggest concern is that Dr New and her team are attempting to impose patriarchal ideals of womanhood and what is means to be a proper/successful woman without looking at the benefits that women have gained over the past century.  Without sitting down and asking themselves if the meaning of “man” and “woman” have changed in a positive way that benefits everyone, including any children they may choose to have. How much do they want women to regress?

Erasing diversity and introducing conformity in our population to fit some weird hetero-normative ideal of what it is to be a proper woman or a proper man lessens us all.  As a diverse population of straight, gay, lesbian, trans*, bisexual, intersex, queer and questioning individuals we all have strengths that compliment each other’s weaknesses.  As a diverse population with interests in different career paths, we keep the economy moving and bring different strengths to the workplace.

I want to see Dr New, and anyone else who thinks that using this drug to treat non-CAH female foetuses, disbarred from practising medicine and forced to attend diversity education before they can re-register.   Oh and the ethics departments who have allowed this human experimentation… same deal.

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