Constantly in the process of becoming

From the Australian Feminist Law Journal, an abstract:

Sexually Dimorphic Bodies: A Production of Birth Certificates

Birth certificates produce bodies? Who knew?!

Registering a newborn’s gender/sex on the birth certificate is usually seen as a mere formality that reflects a natural state of affairs. This article, however, shows that the registration of gender/sex does something else than record naturally given sex differences in bodies; it actually produces and shapes bodies to develop in a way conformant with understandings of sexual dimorphism.

Hmm. I wonder what Lena Holzer means by “shows.” I say that because I doubt that a journal article can “show” something nonsensical.

Sexed bodies are therefore not pre-discursive and static objects, but they are constantly in the process of becoming, influenced by socio-legal procedures, including gender/sex registration.

Well obviously living bodies are not static, because a static body is dead. And of course bodies are in some sense always in the process of becoming, because they’re constantly changing in various ways.

The jargon makes this abstract look more like literary “theory” than law. You know you’re being conned (or if you don’t you should) when instead of “living bodies change constantly” you get “bodies are not pre-discursive and static objects.” It’s not difficult to think of obvious points one can make to demonstrate that being classified female or male leads to many effects that shape females and males, including their bodies…but that doesn’t sound clever enough for a journal.

By analysing the effects of registering the legal gender/sex on birth certificates and the change of gender markers thereof in various jurisdictions, in particular Australian states and territories, the article aims to show how bodies of intersex as well as endosex cis and trans persons are made into what they are expected to be: sexually dimorphic.

Oh yes? Then how does it work with all the other sexually dimorphic species? They don’t have birth certificates, so how do they manage to be sexually dimorphic anyway? How does the bull moose know it’s time to fight all the other bull mooses and impregnate as many cows as possible? Does someone pass him a note saying “You are a bull”?

It concludes that legally assigning a gender/sex has intrinsically violent effects on bodies, something that could be avoided by eliminating the public registration of gender/sex.

Where did “intrinsically violent” come from?

Whatever. I can tell you this much: if you visit Yosemite or Yellowstone in autumn don’t try to get friendly with the bulls. Rutting season is no joke, birth certificate or no birth certificate.

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