Emi Koyama – Thoughts

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Emi’s talks, and it’s been a few weeks so I don’t remember a terrible amount from her class visit, so primarily this is just thoughts on her website and articles and ideas, and not so much specific to her time here.  I apologize.

That said,  Emi has a ton of interesting ideas.  Her thoughts on DSD vs. intersex, for example – it’s good that she is a) putting to rest myths about what it is and b) continuing to call attention to it.  Unsurprisingly, a lot of people don’t know (or care to know) a lot about this type of thing, which makes what Emi’s doing even more important.  Her dedication is admirable – like the way she promotes changing the term to DSD even though the connotation might be troublesome, but by doing so it might draw more attention to it both within the medical community and beyond, and work to legitimize it in the eyes of the public as a serious issue.  Emi presents a lot of ideas in ways or viewpoints that are very unique and help shed new light on them, such as when dealing with the issue of children being examined at hospitals, the “sexual shaming” practices and even the surgeries.  Things like this are often seen from only one perspective, and that perspective is very often supposed to be an “objective” perspective that comes from either the medical community or the general public, but never the people with the conditions themselves.  This is perhaps what’s most important about her ideas on DSD and disability theory – she not only sheds light on these issues, but does so from the vantage point of those closest to it, which often gets lost in the mix.  And even though I’m not entirely convinced on the idea that disorders exist solely because society sees them as different (and I’m probably interpreting the notion wrong), I think it is important to note that this distinction of “differentness” is often viewed as negative (hence “disorder”), and Emi’s ideas are crucial in considering how this differentness is only negative from “normal” society’s vantage point, and needs to be considered from the “victim” side as well.


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