Two Modes of Thought: The Narrative/Paradigmatic Disconnect in the Bailey Book Controversy
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Alice Dreger’s compelling history of the controversy surrounding J. Michael Bailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, presents two opposing camps, each entrenched in a seemingly intractable and incompatible position. On one side are proponents of Blanchard’s theory and the scientific research supporting it that served as the basis for Bailey’s book. The theory suggests that a certain segment of natal men who undergo sex reassignment surgery to become women do so out of an autogynephilic sexual orientation—an erotic attraction to the idea of themselves as women. On the other side are the transwomen who strongly object to the theory, dispute the scientific basis for it, and maintain that their desire to change genders was not motivated by erotic desires, but instead was founded in an identity-based position that their bodies do not match their true selves, what Dreger termed the “feminine essence narrative.” In this commentary, I hope to offer one interpretation that attempts to get at...
KeywordsTranssexualism Narrative Identity Narrative Mode Opposing Camp Paradigmatic Mode
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