Undoing Gender David Reimer Summary

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Perhaps one of the most fascinating yet depressing studies on gender, its fluidity, and how oppressive it can be is the case of David Reimer. In Chapter 3 of "Undoing Gender" by Judith Butler, this situation was studied in detail and psychoanalyzed. When Reimer was extremely young (under a year old), his penis was damaged and had to be removed, so psychiatrist John Money stepped in and told Reimer's parents that they could have sex reassignment surgery, raise David as a girl, and he'd live a normal and happy life. David was thus renamed Brenda and was brought up as female. Around age eight, however, Brenda started exhibiting traditionally masculine behaviors such as wanting to play with trucks and toy guns. She started living as a boy at the…show more content…
And what are the potential consequences of remaining the same? If South Africa (as well as the rest of the world) doesn't make a change soon in terms of gender inequality, the widespread gender violence will become an uncontrollable pandemic. Raselekoane et al. emphasizes that stories of "women and girls being beaten and battered, butchered, hacked, shot dead, raped, burnt alive or being emotionally abused by men abound" (1). When I was still living in South Africa, around May 2017, there was a series of murders of young women (including schoolgirls) around the area that I lived and almost every woman I knew lived in fear. The most terrifying thing is that this isn't just in one country—even a quick Google search will prove that this phenomenon occurs worldwide. When men and women are raised to believe that they are unequal and taught to act a certain way, this is the result. After all, when men are taught their entire lives that they're the superior sex, it "leads to the direct or indirect exertion of power in society against women" (Raselekoane et al. 2). Shouldn't we expect more from our society? Half the population shouldn't have to be constantly terrified that every time they go out, they might not make it back
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