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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: intersex tribades? (was: references)

From:

Lisa Auanger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Jul 1997 00:23:59 -0500

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (136 lines)

JulieB makes an interesting point about intersexuality, and the
possibility does, of course, exist.  Nevertheless, I would be hesitant to
uncritically accept the idea on the grounds of the "condition" in current
or recent populations.  That is to say, I am by no means convinced that it
is logical to argue for a genetic continuity of almost two milennia.
Historically problematic assumptions would have to be made.  The
main, as I see it, is a problem of historical demography, the assumption
of continuity of population and stability of gene pool.  For something not
the norm, one would have to believe that the trait was given a certain
desirability for a long period to lead to its continuance.  This is
certainly not illogical or impossible, but I have not seen strong
argumentation showing that it is probable.  Secondarily, for such
continuity to occur, one would probably see a certain "isolateness of
population"; if Pliny saw the population, then it probably was not
isolate.  If it were isolate, would inbreeding be possible for almost 2000
years?  (I am not sure that it would be necessary to carry a gene.)

None of this, I must say, is my professional opinion.  I am not a
population geneticist, and have not yet found a satisfactory publication
dealing with historical population genetics.  I fear that using such a
publication at this point would lead to circular argumentation since our
ancient sources are among the evidence which could be used in such a
study.  Is anyone aware of such publications?  A search of a few science
databases' most recent holdings (Biological Abstracts, Medline, etc.) did
not bring up what I was looking for, and there is reason to believe that
publications in this area would be included elsewhere...

Lisa Auanger
PS Switching servers I lost a few days mail (from the 4th through the
6th).

Addendum:
The statement "God is not iconic/God is aniconic." can be interpreted on
multiple levels, one of which relates to "belief." ...

..............................................................
Lisa Auanger
Ph.D., Art History and Archaeology (commencement 8-1-97)
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

email: [log in to unmask]

> >> Pliny even claims to have
> >>> seen the transformation of someone into a man in Africa, on
> >>> the man's wedding day.
> >>>
> >>> Surely this must be metaphorical and rhetorical? :)
> >>
> >>Actually, in the area of Africa where Pliny is supposed to have visited the
> >>birth defect cryptandridsim is more common  than elsewhere -- babies appear
> >>to be female and are well within the normal as far as outside plumbing
> >>goes, but around puberty the clitoris enlarges and the testicles drop.  You
> >>can tell between babies who are girls and who are cryptandric male babies
> >>if you have two related ones side by side but the differences are very
> >>slight indeed.
> >>
> >>Given that most crypts studied are attracted towards men, African girls
> >>married at puberty, and the husband is likely to have been the one to first
> >>see his wife's genitals, it's very likely that Pliny is reporting
> >>accurately.
> >>
> >>Just a little bit of medical trivia . . .
> >>
> >>JulieB
> >>
> >
> >________________________________________
> >Diane Arnson Svarlien
> >[log in to unmask]
> >________________________________________
> Diane: As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I've written about the
> representations of tribades/female homoeroticism in classical Latin
> literature in an article referred to by the BMCR reviewer which will be
> republished in Marilyn Skinner's and my Roman Sexualities this fall. The
> article reviews the accounts (by Pliny and Aulus Gellius) of female-to-male
> sex changes that are used to account for female homoeroticism, especially in
> connection with Ovid's tale of Iphis and Ianthe. These episodes may in fact
> be truthful, but they all involve long-ago and far-away as well as
> masculinized women (just like most Latin literary representations of female
> homoerotic practitioners). Complicating matters further is the etymology of
> tribad--which the Elizabethans wonderfully translated as "rubsters": it
> acknowledges that women can obtain mutual satisfaction with one another and
> without penile penetration, which makes the standard portrayal of female
> homoeroticism as requiring [de rigueur, as it were]>an erect male organ
> inconsistent and anomalous. Among the points I tried to make in the article
> is that when it came to female (although not necessarily male) homoeroticism,
> pace Halperin/Foucault, the Romans did think in terms of the gender of both
> amatory partners, although the phallocentric construction of sexuality in
> Roman minds inhibited the recognition that mutually pleasurable sexual
> activity is possible in the absence of male sexual equipment.  Judy Hallett
> >----------------------------------------------------
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