9/4: Alice Dreger, Ted Talk

Pick one key passage from Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk and explain how this passage led you to a deeper understanding of her thesis. Remember to cite quotations (Author Page Number).

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20 Responses to 9/4: Alice Dreger, Ted Talk

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  4. Alice Dreger thesis is challenging the simplistic anatomy that the government has imposed which in turn determines the destiny of the citizens, it is more complicated than just having a female and make in society. A passage that supports her thesis is when she explains that even those who are conjoined, have dwarfism or are intersex people are “actually healthy. The reason they’re often subject to various kinds of surgeries is because they threaten out social categories” (Dreger 2). Dreger agrees with the Founding Father’s idea of rejecting the idea of monarchy “based on a very simplistic concept of anatomy” (Dreger 3).

  5. Kwan Yuk says:

    In Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk, she talks about the simple concept of gender that people used to judge the others is not fair. She thinks that people should think less about the individual body, in terms of the identity, and think more about those relationships (Alice-Dreger pg5). She mentioned several examples and one of them was 19 years old, who was born a boy, raised a boy, had a girlfriend, had sex with his girlfriend, had a life as a guy and had just found out that he had ovaries and a uterus inside (Alice-Dreger pg1). In cases like that, these people often normalized by surgery. However, the reason is not because leaving them better off in terms of physical health but classify them in our social categories. The other example is about Henry and Mary. Mary, meanwhile, cannot in all the states have the same right that Henry has in all the states, namely, the right to marry. Henry can marry in every state a woman, but Mary can only marry today in a few states a woman(Alice- Dreger pg4). In the other words, it means that gender creates division. In my opinions, some of these divisions should not be existed. They should not be given the right to create the any standard or differences between male and female. Before watching this movie, I didn’t think deep about intersex. After watching this movie, I realized that I put sex in a too easy topic to think of. I completely agree the point of view that Alice Dreger has. As what she concludes in the speech: As we the people try to create a more perfect union, we’re thinking about what we do for each other.

  6. Humza says:

    In her speech “Is Anatomy Destiny” Dreger argues that we cannot continue to judge and categorize people based on their gender or what we assume their gender to be. Gender isn’t as one-dimensional as we have believed, and therefore simple male and female categorizing is inaccurate. “… they decided the anatomy that mattered was the commonality of anatomy, not the difference in anatomy” (Dreger, 8:59). Our founding fathers recognized that all men were created equal, and unlike in monarchy ones anatomy made them who they were and what they could become, not their family status. This lead to many movements that came closer and closer to recognizing our anatomical similarities rather than the differences. Now as we learn more about our anatomy it’s harder to determine where to separate the genders. “… sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and intersex and female and intersex; we actually draw that line on nature” (Dreger, 6:09). Humans have been differentiating between genders for so long that we started to believe we were born with the difference. But with the scientific advances we’re learning that the line between male and female is a lot blurrier than we thought.

  7. Jiajiefan says:

    One of the thesis that I learn from Ms. Alice Dreger ‘s Ted Talk is that the acceptance of all different kinds of human beings, no matter what their race, gender and appearance are. Ms. Alice quotes Dr. Martin Luther King ‘s “I have a dream” speech, which states that “based not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.” (A.Dreger ,14:19) This sentence really led me to a deeper understanding of her thesis. To put it another way,we should not have any unfair treatment to people regardless of religion, colour, or creed. Moreover, Ms. Alice also reveals that “In fact, we now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and intersex and female and intersex; we actually draw that line on nature.” (A.Dreger,6:09) In other words,we actually build up a “wall” to break human beings into different categories. However, in fact, we are supposed to eliminate this “wall” bewteen male, female and hermaphrodite,make no difference between them and treat them equally. All in all, I believe that instead of prejudicing people based on their surfaces, we should pay more attention on their moral charters, treat all people equally, and give more patience and understanding to those people with unusual bodies.

  8. xiaozhen says:

    From watching Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk, I think her thesis is there are no reasons to distinguish people in different categories just based on anatomy. A key passage that led me to a deeper understanding of her thesis is when she was talking about the “Sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and inter sex and female and inter sex.”(Alice Dreger, Page 3) In other words, we could not identify the person was male or female just based on which chromosome he carried. There was no reason to say one gay who had the Y chromosome must be a boy. If he reacted like a girl, we thought he was such “special” person, so we treated him in different ways, we got away from him. It was unfair to the person who didn’t do something wrong. Also, our founding father claimed that all men are created equal. There was no difference between anatomy and anatomy. So the “special” person had the same right as normal person, and they were in the same categories.

  9. Pantelis says:

    I think that Alice Dreger’s thesis is about the realization that appearances of people may not make what they are biologically true. Someone who may look like a female on the outside may be a male on the inside. “Now what’s important to understand is you may think of this person as really being male, but they’re really not. Females, like males, have in our bodies something called the adrenal glands.” Ms. Dreger is also pointing out that all people can not be recognized by what they look like, rather by what is found in these peoples biology.

  10. I think Alice Dreger’s thesis is about adjusting the classifications we place on people, which qualities make them what type person and specifically she talks about gender. She makes a point that we should add room in these categories for other variables and one can infer this from her statement, “…we have to admit to ourselves that these categories that we thought of as stable anatomical categories that mapped very simply to stable identity categories are a lot more fuzzy than we thought.” (Dreger, 2) I have not found the exact sentence or few sentences that make her thesis statement yet but from watching the video and reading the transcript I came up with this thesis. The passage that elucidated this thesis for me is on 12:12, when she begins to discuss the lives of the two people conceived on the same day that she mentioned in the beginning of her speech. The reason that this segment of her speech led me to the deeper understanding of her thesis is because she begins to discuss the different privileges they have access to because of their gender. These are privileges that our society has granted based on certain qualifications that they may or may not meet and it is not their fault. For example she makes a point that because we believe Harry to be male, “Harry can marry in every state a woman, but Mary can only marry today in a few states a woman.” (Dreger, 4) It is because of this passage that I came to understand what she was trying to say, about they limitations we place on people that deserve, for lack of a better term, more evaluation. Because we’re now learning that gender and race, the classifications and eligibility are not so simple and cookie cutter like.

  11. leroy mcleod says:

    In “Is anatomy Destiny?”, Alice Dreger provides a good argument on how anatomy determines our fate. However, I believe that the ending of her speech explains her thesis clearly and it is not exactly related to how anatomy controls our fate or how everyone is created equal (which for those of you who have taken or will take philosophy will understand that the latter is what she proves to be logically impossible. You can’t be the same as everyone else as well as different from everyone else). Instead, I believe her thesis is that a compartmentalized society or, more specifically a democracy that is based on anatomy, is or can become an unstable society; especially as science matures. She invites us to think about this by asking, “And the question to me becomes….what do we do….[when] we reach the point where we have to admit that a democracy that’s been based on anatomy might start falling apart?” (Dreger,4)

    Dreger spends her whole speech talking about anatomy and explaining different cases of scientific abnormalities, not to imply that every should be equal but to imply that the norms exist. For example: Dreger speaks of a young man who lived a “normal” male life only to find out he had female organs. According to Dreger, this young man “was born a boy, raised a boy, had a girlfriend, had sex with his girlfriend [and] had a life as a guy…” (Dreger, 1) implying that his anatomical difference did not impede on his life and did would not have affected him socially if his abnormalities were kept hidden. Up to the point of this realization, we was presumably as equal as any other male. In fact equality is rarely mention in most of her speech. One of the few instances being her referring to the surgeon she talked to about the conjoined twins and asked him why he was doing such a risky surgery to which he responded “In this other nation…these children were going to be treated very badly…” (Dreger, 5), which implies that their anatomical difference to that of the perception of “normal” would then make them unequal to everyone else and therefore a target of hate and discrimination.

    To cut things short, I believe that the problem does not lie within the anatomical difference but with the simplicity of human compartmentalization by anatomical differences. Not only that but when set groups are challenged with the acceptance of a new group with the traits of the founding fathers as she (Dreger) explains on page 3 of the video transcript. The new group dares the anatomical division to get even more complicated and is of-course challenged by old tradition and creates conflict and instability.

  12. Nihad says:

    Alice Dreger’s speech talks about the complexity of labeling and separating gender and race as well as why it should be avoided. Many times she uses historical references where the concept of equality is present, such as the example of the Founding Fathers. She says monarchy was similar to that of anatomical separation because of birthright: the heir of one ruler is the next ruler. The Founding Fathers rejected this and brought up the concept of all men being created equal which Dreger admires, despite them being racist and sexist (Dreger 3). This passage helped me understand what her thesis is: to be truly equal, a society must eliminate the barriers between gender and race. She does state that some anatomical barriers are necessary to prevent confusion, such as “five-year-olds being allowed to consent to sex or consent to marry (Dreger 3).”

  13. Nihad says:

    Alice Dreger’s speech talks about the complexity of labeling and separating gender and race as well as why it should be avoided. Many times she uses historical references where the concept of equality is present, such as the example of the Founding Fathers. She says monarchy was similar to that of anatomical separation because of birthright: the heir of one ruler is the next ruler. The Founding Fathers rejected this and brought up the concept of all men being created equal which Dreger admires, despite them being racist and sexist (Dreger 3). This passage helped me understand what her thesis is: to be truly equal, a society must eliminate the barriers between gender and race. She does state that some anatomical barriers are necessary to prevent confusion, such as “five-year-olds being allowed to consent to sex or consent to marry (Dreger 3).”

  14. In Alice Dreger’s “Is Anatomy Destiny” TED Talk, she spoke about how she felt that the Founding Fathers acted as “the original anatomical activists” (Dreger 3). They, in rejecting monarchy and imposing democracy, shone a light on the similarities in our anatomy, rather than on the differences: “…the anatomy that mattered was the commonality of anatomy, not the difference in anatomy…” (Dreger 3). Her thesis would be something along the lines of this quote, as she spent the majority of her talk proving that statement with multiple accounts, and finally deepening it as she spoke about the anatomical differences between men and women and what those differences could mean to the history of our country; as men are more focused on protecting the individual, and women on caring for the vulnerable, Dreger speculated that if women were included in the talks concerning the foundation of America’s democracy, a bigger emphasis on care and support for those who need it would be in place.

  15. Alice Dreger’s conversation at TED describes how mankind continues to redefine beliefs of anatomy and politics for centuries, and how humanity evolved to become more accepting of others. For instance, Ms. Dreger brought up the Founding Fathers as an example, stating that their ideals greatly differed compared to others at the time. “They leveled the playing field and decided the anatomy that mattered was the commonality of anatomy, not the difference in anatomy, and that was a really radical thing to do” (Dreger 3). This passage was the basis for Ms. Dreger’s ideals in which society should have more of a uniformity and acceptance, and not be separated due to anatomy. She continues by bringing examples of the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights Movements, using them to further develop ideals of a more accepting and free society. In conclusion, Ms. Dreger’s thesis is to advocate that all people should be considered equal, regardless of slight differences in their genetics. And it is through this that humanity will continue to progress, and that prejudice based on anatomy will dwindle due to the success of the revolution the Founding Fathers started all those years ago, which has had an impact on science and politics for centuries.

  16. Alice Dreger’s speech would explain her thesis that anatomy can no longer be used to determine the identity of a person. A key passage that followed this argument was when she began to explain “We have these anatomical categories that persist that are in many ways problematic and questionable.” (A.Dreger. Page 4. 13:20-14:00.) This passage would describe how advances in the field of anatomy have made the existence of social groups based solely on someone’s anatomy obsolete. She mentions “Texas has at one point decided that what it means to marry a man is to mean that you don’t have a Y chromosome…”(A.Dreger. Page 4. 14:00.) This would unfairly affect anyone who was born with a Y chromosome or with a condition such as androgen insensitivity syndrome; which is mentioned earlier in the speech as a condition that causes a person to develop the body type of one sex despite having chromosomes and sex organs of the opposite sex. This type of logic puts a person at a disadvantage because they cannot be considered male or female because their chromosomes and anatomy would contradict each other. Any judgments made on the sex of this person based solely on their anatomy or chromosomes would be entirely false since they would have some biological characteristics of a person of either sex. Therefore, it would be impossible to determine the sex that person identifies with.

  17. Cameron Burt says:

    Alice Dreger stuns her audience at TED with an intrinsic concept challenging the fact that our anatomy tends to determine our fate. Dreger’s thesis within her presentation is that we should not allow our genetic code to determine our role in life. Black or white, male or female, no matter what the difference is human beings should not be restricted based on our differences. Specifically, in one of Dreger’s passages, she references Martin Luther King- ” He says we should judge people “based not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” moving beyond anatomy” (Dreger 3). In other words, our appearance should not influence the way we behave or how we are treated. King believes that the character of a person should determine such classification. Dreger goes on to agree with Dr. Kings’ standpoint and backs it up by also saying ” I have to admit, that there are some golden retrievers I know that are probably more deserving of social services than some humans I know” (Dreger 3). Instead of judging and limiting people based on their genetics, it is more effective to view them based upon their character traits.

  18. avner baruch says:

    Ms. Dreger’s Ted Talk thesis is that identification of people’s identity cannot be determined by the gender they appear to be and people should be recognized by how they identify themselves and relate to others.  The passage that led me to a deeper understanding of her thesis came in the beginning passages where she provides clear scientific examples of how people’s physical gender does not match their biological identity.  Ms. Dreger describes a 19 year- old person who always thought he was a man and identified as a man until he learned otherwise.  She states, “And it was only when he had reached the age of 19 that he began to have enough medical problems actually from menstruating internally, that doctors figured out that, in fact, he was female internally.”  (A.Dreger, 3:36)

  19. From watching Alice Dreger’s TED talk I have concluded that her thesis is that everyone is equal and that societal classification norms such as being just either male or female, dead or alive are much more complicated then they were with today’s scientific world. Dreger’s passages 8:07 to 8:51 display this, and help me to better understand her viewpoint and thesis. After reading this passage Dreger shows her discomfort with the changing classifications by explaining her realization that “these categories are really much more unstable than we thought” (Dreger, page 3) and that things in our world are getting much more complicated with these discoveries. With this she leads into her belief that everyone is equal by explaining her admiration for the Founding Fathers, naming them “the original anatomical activists” (Dreger,pg 3). Showing the reader how they broke the norm of birthright, Dreger tells how the Founding Fathers regarded the “concept [that] all men are created equal.” (Dreger pg 3) Going on to say that by doing this they made a view of anatomy more of a “commonality”, and not “the difference” in contrast to monarchy that highlights it. She ends by praising them for their belief in their concept calling it “a really radical thing to do.” (Dreger pg 3)

  20. Matthew Chan says:

    I believe that the thesis of Mrs. Dreger’s passage was to accept people of all genders and ethnicities. One of her passages talks about the founding fathers and relates their radical views to the idea that no anatomy is superior to another. The monarchs of the time were descendants of previous rulers who valued the concept of birth right. They believed that it was their shared blood that gave them the right to rule and deemed everyone else as lesser beings. As the passage states, “The Founding Fathers rejected that idea, and they replaced it with a new anatomical concept, and that concept was all men are created equal.” (A.Dreger, 8:51) Mrs. Dreger even supports the thesis by stating that “They leveled that playing field and decided the anatomy that mattered was the commonality of anatomy, not the difference in anatomy, and that was a really radical thing to do.” (A.Dreger, 8:51) In other words, people shouldn’t look for the differences between each other but focus more on our similarities. We all strive for similar goals and while we may have a couple of differences, we have far more similarities that make us much more similar to each other.

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