Freakery is a concept that has been heavily discussed in correlation with monstrosity. Part of what makes the ‘freak’ so interesting is its ability to avoid a particular categorization, to muddle the boundaries that the norms of society has established.  As freakery has made its way into medical discourse, the hermaphrodite has become a popular topic due to its ‘otherness’. Stemming from the Greek god Hermaphroditus, hermaphrodites embody the ‘other’ in terms of sexuality and gender having neither strictly female nor male genitalia. This ambiguity contradicts the conceived notion of binary sex and has pushed the medical community to perform controversial surgeries that ‘create’ one gendered identity. Intersexed individuals have been shunned from the realm of ‘normalcy’ and shifted into a sphere of the abnormal. Due to their gender neutrality, hermaphrodites have been forcibly categorized into the world of freakery.

Graham, Sarah. “See Synonyms At MONSTER”: En-Freaking Transgender In Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex.” Ariel 40.4 (2009): 1-18. EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Intolerable Ambiguity: Freaks As/at the Limit.” Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. Ed. Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York UP, 1996. 55-66. Print.

Mason, Katherine A. “Intersexuals Fight Back.” New Haven Advocate. N.p., 2 Apr. 2001. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.alternet.org/story/10672/intersexuals_fight_back?page=entire&gt;.

Thomson, Rosemarie Garland. “Introduction: From Wonder to Error—A Genealogy of Freak Discourse in Modernity”. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. By Rosemarie Garland Thomson. New York: New York UP, 1996. 1-19. Print.


One response to “Hermaphrodite

  1. Great post! You bring up another important vector of identity when thinking about freakery: gender. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson writes extensively on “feminist disability studies,” which might be helpful in thinking more about your project! Tobin Siebers also discusses the importance of gender in relation to disability in his book Disability Theory (2008), and Robert McGruer writes on the intersections of queerness and disability in his 2006 Crip Theory.

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