Less Like Unchangeable Facts What Are Your Though
Below is a reply to the attached short essay. Answer the BOLD question. Answer does not need to exceed a couple of paragraphs. NO PLAGAIRISM
In this followup I want to focus on Haraway’s description of “the cyborg as having no origin” and the way she “positions this argument as an opposition to a ‘garden of Eden.’”
In the traditional view, humans *do* have an origin. Why does this matter? Because (again in this traditional view) having an origin is seen as limiting us in certain ways. Think of sayings like “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” meaning that the child is likely to be like the parent. Then there’s James Baldwin’s remark that “We cannot escape our origins, however hard we try.” Think also of the current popularity of companies like 23 and Me, which provide genetic testing to reveal people’s ancestry.
All of this is to say that we tend to believe we have an origin, and that our *origin* (where we came from) determines our *identity* (who we are).
Haraway says no, we don’t have an origin. She says that (1) the cyborg is a being without an origin, and (2) we are all cyborgs.
Note that a cyborg is what it is because some human wanted it to be that way. Frankenstein’s monster, one of the earliest literary depictions of the cyborg, is the way it is because of the choices made by Victor Frankenstein. If we ask, “Why is the monster lonely, rejected, etc.?” the answer to that question is not that God made it that way, or that nature/evolution made it that way, but that a human made choices, and those choices made it that way.
One reason this is important is because it creates responsibility. We are not morally responsible for what God does, or for what nature does, but we *are* morally responsible for what *we* do.
OK, now to the notion of being “post-gender.” According to the biblical origin story, God created us male and female. In the old view, this is considered an unchangeable fact. But in Haraway’s view, our sex and gender are not unchangeable facts rooted in our origin, but (at least partly) the result of our own choices. If we wish, we can change ourselves through the use of hormone therapy, sex-reassignment surgery, etc.
Of course, not very many people want to change themselves in these ways, but some do. Whether we change our sex—or don’t—is a consequence of whether we want to do it—or don’t want to do it. (For those who don’t want to do it, the “choice” they make is unconscious or passive; whether this kind of choice is something we can be considered responsible for is an interesting question.)
In this sense, the choice to change our gender starts to look a lot like the choice to become a llama herder or an arctic explorer—not many of us want to make ourselves into those things, and never even consider the possibility at all, but some of us do. In Haraway’s view, our sex and gender both seem more like matters of choice and less like unchangeable facts anchored in our origin. In Haraway’s view, the apple *can* fall far from the tree, and more and more, it does.
Anyway, all this is part of what we mean by “post-gender.” By ditching the origin stories that compel us to be (and continue to be) either female or male, we gain the freedom to have other genders, or perhaps no gender at all. And since our gender is now a matter of choice, it is something for which we must take responsibility.
For your followup question, I’d like to ask you to read the Wikipedia entry on postgenderism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postgenderism) and then share your thoughts about it here—particularly any thoughts about how these ideas relate to literature and culture.