‘Sex and gender, sex/gender or sexgender: a politics of embodiment and identity in a neoliberal age.’
I propose that any distinction between sex and gender which rests on a nature/culture distinction is increasingly difficult to sustain (Moi 2001). That in a post-industrial world where embodification narratives of some trans* and non-trans* identified people alike are complex, where borderlines are increasingly crossed and blurred (Davy 2011, Preciado 2013) biological sex cannot be cleanly demarcated into two oppositional categories (Fausto-Sterling 2000). This therefore disallows a meaningful mirroring binary categorisation of people’s gender. That both non-binary embodifications and identities exist and are proliferating and that they exist in complex, rather than necessary binary interconnectivity, makes categorical distinction along a sex/gender axis no longer either possible or politically useful.
Discrimination however still exists and that femininely presenting and identifying people are more discriminated against than male identifying is also evidentially true. That this rubric doesn’t take account of the erasure of narratives of gender-neutral/genderqueer presenting and identifying people serves to emphasise the complexity of current sexgender discourses.
In a neoliberal context which requires inequality and reifies formal hollow diversities, (Winnubst 2012) I contend that rejection of a distinction between sex and gender facilitates a re-examination of how discrimination and oppression operate intersectionally on trans* and gender non-conforming people. Further that consideration of this in a neo-liberalépistèmé with a focus onindividual lived experience as represented by an individual’s relationship to productivity conceptualised as homo oeconomicus (Lemke 2001) illuminates that exclusion and inclusion are now operating differently and need to be reconsidered from alternative socioeconomic perspectives.
Chryssy Hunter is a PhD student in the Faculty of Social Science and the Humanities at London Metropolitan University.