Recent posts

Benefits Of Seeing Your Body As Separate

I think and write a lot about mind-body dualism, and in the past I’ve made blog posts about how dualism affects Western ideas of gender and sexuality (see part one here and part two here). In general, I tend to agree with feminist scholars about how dualism is frequently a negative force in women’s lives: when we become conceptually affiliated with the body and not the mind, we become reduced to our bodies. When we act in ways associated with masculinity, we are reviled and punished. And so on. For these reasons, I was intrigued by Ragen’s post at Dances With Fat about seeing her body as separate – and how that became a good thing in her life. Continue Reading →

Dualism And You: Part Two

In a recent post, Dualism And You, I discussed what dualism means and how it impacts contemporary Western ideas about sex and gender. I’m sure nobody will be surprised that I have more to say on this topic, specifically about sexuality. In that last post, I touched on ideas like mind-body dualism (which is super-inflected by gender) and the slut/stud dichotomy, which describes women’s and men’s sexual behavior in diametrically opposed terms. Yet there’s another huge way in which dualism impacts our ideas about sexuality: the very notion of heterosexuality vs. homosexuality. Think about it. Continue Reading →

Dualism And You

As I finish writing my dissertation on gender and the body in Western European fairy tales, I’m reminded of why I’m doing this research in the first place: yeah, fairy tales are fun to study and all, but they’re also really important in Western culture. Kids are exposed to fairy tales in the form of films, toys, coloring books, theme park experiences, various forms of literature, plays, art, and so on. The gender roles espoused in fairy tales are often quite restrictive, and these messages matter. One of the topics I touched on in my dissertation, which I think is also quite relevant for discussing gender and sexuality, is dualism. Dualism describes two things that are opposed to one another and can never be reconciled. Continue Reading →