Gender, Sexuality, and Identity -- Question 2 Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Gender, Sexuality, and Identity -- Question 2 "So, is the category bisexuality less or more threatening to the status quo than is homosexuality?"

The passage suggests that in fact, rather than presenting patriarchic constructs of identity with less threatening formulation of human sexual identity, bisexuality does the exact opposite -- it presents common social norms with the more threatening notion that human sexuality is not an either/or 'Chinese menu' option of stable choices. The practice of homosexuality, even when it is deemed taboo and beyond the pale of the human sexual order is still a 'comfort' to the heterosexual norm. The construct of homosexuality suggests that human sexuality exists in an either/or dichotomy. So long as one is attracted to the opposite gender one is, in essence, safe from the presumably aberrant, even pathological orientation of homosexuality.

However, bisexuality presents a potentially fluid rendering of human sexual desire, whereby even the presence of one's marriage and having children do not mean that one can deviate from a heterosexual norm in one's attractions. It is also true that bisexuality is also frightening to individuals who have a stable and secure homosexual identity, individuals who believe they 'always' knew that they were 'different' from others in their peer group, especially if they perceived themselves as more or less masculine than society required their gender to seem. However, the potential for self-identified gays and lesbians and bisexual people to 'pass' as heterosexual, and to not form an easy construction of what is 'not the norm' is in fact more frightening, as it means that someone who is conventionally feminine or masculine can still transgress, and that the either/or categories of sexuality are not stable for any human person. Even a heterosexual, unconventionally masculine or feminine person is more frightening than one who confirms stereotypes, because it shows that common social categorizations are not correct, inclusive, and universally applicable.

SECTION B: Plato's Apology -- Question 4: Socrates views on education

Socrates takes a destabilizing rather than a stabilizing view of human education. This was contrary to the norms espoused by Socrates' own society. Athenian society viewed education as readying a man for serving the city-state by indoctrinating the individual in the Laws of Athens. But Socrates' ideal is also somewhat contrary to our own formulations about what makes a good human being, as the notion that one must probe and question a student with the Socratic method may destabilize one's sense of self and self-esteem. Thus, while upholders of custom in all ages may see education as a potential unifying force and furtherance of custom, Socrates instead suggests that such self-confidence and assumed competence must be questioned. One's self-assumptions must be questioned -- and merely because one is an able administrator does not mean that one is truly wise. The community may esteem one who is successful financially or professionally, but merely because one adheres to community values and thus is deemed a success is not a true marker of one's human excellence, in the view of the philosopher.

SECTION C: Plato's Crito -- Question 5: What made Socrates so attached to Athens?

Socrates was not so much attached to Athenian democracy, as he was to the people and the territory that had given him shelter, education, and in many individual cases, approbation for much of his adult life. Without the freedom accorded by the Laws of Athens, however imperfect he deemed those laws to be, Socrates could not have succeeded as a teacher, even a teacher who contested much of Athenian custom and law. Socrates is not a martyr for the Laws of Athens, however, because he never held those Athenian Laws…

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