9/4: Alice Dreger, TEDXTALK

Pick one key passage from Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk and explain how this passage led you to a deeper understanding of her thesis. Remember to cite quotations (Author Page Number).

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18 Responses to 9/4: Alice Dreger, TEDXTALK

  1. Ardit Gjoni says:

    Our society as it is right now forces us to consider things as they are in one solidified way. Alice Dreger’s thesis works to push the idea that we should be looking passed these social norms and into a more complex outlook on what makes us a person. At 6:09 in the TED Talk Dreger makes the point that ,”in fact, we now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and intersex and female and intersex; we actually draw that line on nature” (Dreger 2). The passage helped me realize that her goal was to let everyone know the scale of which gender is defined. Science has managed to progress so far that society’s previous notion of there being only two simple types of people can be considered an immense mistake. The thesis Dreger presents is that we should progress socially towards identifying gender and other thanks that make us different from others. Gender; according to Dreger is not a stable identification for all people. With how advanced technology has become , it can be examined how different from the norm some people actually are. The point is to look at people in a more convoluted process and not the simple way that everyone is so used to.

  2. The thesis of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is that, give people the choice to be the way they are because one’s gender cannot be determined by their anatomy, or appearance, or by the content of their character (since, the content of the character cannot be measured). The paragraph that helped me to understand the thesis better is 15:23, where the speaker agrees to what the United States as a country does in giving the people the right to be the way they are. “The United States has offered tremendous possibility for allowing people to be the way they are, without having them have to be changed for the sake of the state.” (Dreger 5)

  3. Gurjot Singh says:

    The key passage from Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk that gave me a deeper understanding of her thesis, of how a person’s sex should be determined by their preferences, was at 3:37, when Dreger states “A few years ago I got a call from a man who was 19 years old, who was born a boy, raised a boy…sex can come in a lot of different varieties”(Dreger, Page 2). This example shows that even though the person had female organs inside of him, he was still considered a man. He thought, looked, and acted like a man. It shows that sex should not only be considered by the types of organs you have. This also agrees with the fact that sex should not make a difference in the way a person is seen in society. All people are equal, and neither race, color, nor sex should make a person different.

  4. Jay Lebowitz says:

    The key passage that led me to a deeper understanding of Alice Dreger’s thesis is the passage beginning approximately eleven minutes and thirty-eight seconds into the video. “So there are some anatomical divisions that make sense to me and that I think we should retain. But the challenge is trying to figure out which ones they are and why do we retain them and do they have meaning” (Dreger 3-4). I would argue that this directly connects to the actual thesis of Dreger’s, adding to an overall proposition and objective. This particular passage I selected seems to clearly emphasize the goal of Dreger’s speech. This specific passage implies that individuals need to take more progressive action, or at least become more thoughtful regarding and sensitive to the delicate and intricate subject matters at hand. At this point, Dreger efficiently explains a kind of ‘call to action’ in a really warm and accessible language and tone.

  5. Alice Dreger’s thesis in her ted talk is “Our system has been based typically on the idea that a particular kind of anatomy comes with a particular identity.” (Dreger 2) In this quote Dreger claims that our society has been set on one single idea that has been established for many years. As time goes on, the anatomy that was mapped out a certain way is no longer simple. It isn’t broken down into two categories anymore and that is what Alice Dreger is trying to point out. One particular passage that helped me get a deeper understanding of her thesis was passage 6:09 “In fact, we now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and intersex and female and intersex; we actually draw the line on nature.” (Dreger 2) This passage helped me understand it’s the people who have such strict views on what is a male and female that we fail to realize that it is more than that. Scientifically there are many possible outcomes of your anatomy and that our society should accept every possible outcome. Alice Dreger is stating that society needs to learn to accept people the way they are regardless of their anatomy.

  6. Hamid Javed says:

    One key passage from Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk I choose was at 8:51. Basically, Dreger’s thesis is that there is more to just “male” and “female.” Our bodily structure can’t define who we are; these stereotypes were all given by society. She appreciates the founding fathers because they were the ones who liberated us from such stereotypes. At 8:51 it says, “The founding fathers rejected the idea, and they replaced it with a new anatomical concept, and that concept was all men are created equal”(Dreger 3). This passage gave me a better understanding of the thesis because Dreger’s point as an activist was not only to show that we shouldn’t be defined by our anatomical structure, but also to “show” how it all started with a radical movement, where that has gotten us, and where it will bring us in the future. This passage gives me a better understanding of the thesis because it involves a combination of history and science, which go hand-in-hand to prove her thesis.

  7. Isabelle Davidov says:

    The key passage from Alice Dregers ted talk that led me to a deeper understanding of her thesis was the passage at 4:38 from the transcript. “In many cases, people are actually perfectly healthy. The reason that they’re often subject to various kinds of surgeries is because they threaten our social categories.” (Dreger 2) In this quote, Dreger refers to the people with different kinds of bodies. Alice Dregers thesis is that the way a person looks does not define who that person is or who they are supposed to be. If someone is perfectly healthy they shouldn’t have to feel the need to change something about themselves to fit to society’s standards. “The United States has offered tremendous possibility for allowing people to be the way they are, without having them have to be changed for the sake of the state. So I think we have to be in the lead.” (Dreger 5) In this quote, Alice Dreger goes on to explain that although people may be different society needs to be more accepting and less judgmental.

  8. Maria Hayee says:

    The thesis of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is that society has established an overly simplified and a narrow method of categorization in regards to sexual identification. Passage 6:09 gives us a better understanding of this thesis when Alice Dreger says, “In fact, we know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female, or between male and intersex and female and intersex; we actually draw that line on nature.” Sex is a complicated matter, as shown by nature, and instituting identity categories simply based on anatomy is naive. This simplistic categorization limits our understanding and makes it more probable for us to be startled when we are exposed to something “out of the norm.” Sex can’t be easily divided into categories, there are a lot of blurred areas.

  9. Armen Bijimenian says:

    The key passage in Alice Dregers TED talk that led me to a deeper understanding of her thesis is: “So for example, Texas has at one point decided that what it means to marry a man is to mean that you don’t have a Y chromosome, and what it means to marry a woman means you do have a Y chromosome. Now in practice they don’t actually test people for their chromosomes” Dreger (14:00.) Dreger is saying that we should not use anatomy as the absolute definition of one’s gender, especially if we are not using the full anatomical definition (whether you have a Y chromosome or not). Her thesis in my own words is we should not use anatomy to fully define someone’s gender.

  10. Zainab Karim says:

    Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk thesis revolves around the idea that one’s sex is bound to their anatomy, either you’re female or male. Alice Dreger says, “Our system has been based typically on the idea that a particular kind of anatomy comes with a particular identity.” (Alice Dreger, page 2) Dregger continues to stress that there are so many different figures and each of them has a different meaning. It is not limited to what our anatomy appears. She continues to give examples throughout the story that show that one’s anatomy doesn’t match who they are. She says, “So sex is really complicated; it’s not just that interest people are in the middle of all the sex spectrum – in some ways, they can be all over the place.” (Alice Dreger, page 1) Her story of the 19 year old boy that was raised a boy, but was a female internally. Our understandings of male and female go beyond the anatomy that we study; internally, there are so many more things that are beyond our understanding.

  11. I have to agree with Daniel on several points in his passage, Dreyer does an excellent job at proposing a new prospective on our bodies. The passage that help me have a greater understanding of her thesis was the same sentence as Daniel, however, the later half seemed more significant: ” In fact, we now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us … we actually draw that line of nature”(Dreger 2). That was the exact moment her thesis had a much deeper meaning. Her thesis being “sex is really complicated; it’s not just that intersex people are in the middle of all the sex spectrum — in some ways, they can be all over the place”(Dreger ). Ms. Dreger is showing us that definitive line does not exist between gender in nature. As human being we invented a way to tell a difference between ourselves. When Dreger references the founding fathers, Dreger was giving an example on how we can change the way we think. The change they made changed how we view the world today. The goal now is to change the way we view anatomy. I don’t believe she is saying the way we view anatomy is wrong but that is tunneled. When really the anatomy of humans is a enormous spectrum that we still do not understand.

  12. In Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk her thesis is that anatomy doesn’t define who we are. The passage that gave me a deeper understanding of her thesis is 6:09. This passage says “So what we have is a sort of situation where the farther our science goes, the more we have to admit to ourselves that these categories that we thought of as stable anatomical categories that mapped very simply to stable identity categories are a lot more fuzzy than we thought.” (Dreger 2) This gives me a deeper understanding of her thesis because she’s saying that nowadays the line between the different sexes is blurred so just because you are anatomically one gender it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are.

  13. Andrew Wildstein says:

    In Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk, the thesis is that our anatomy as human beings is not only defined by our appearance on the outside, but our genetic makeup on the inside as well, and based on this we are placed into certain categories. The part of her Ted Talk that led me to understand her thesis better was at 10:22. Here she says “they don’t talk about God and God’s nature they’re talking about the power of nature to tell us who we are.” (Dreger 3) This is telling us that everyone has some sort of similarity in there anatomy. Just because your organs are one thing, doesn’t mean you are not similar to someone else who may have different organs. She then tells us how this led to the civil rights movement, because women who wanted to vote didn’t think that just because they have a uterus makes them significantly different than men. Later on she then quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He says “we should judge people based not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character, not just looking at ones anatomy.” (Luther 4)This part is really what tied it all together for me. We should not be judging others based on their sex, because that is something one has no control over. However, we should be judging based on character, because one has the control over the way he or she acts. Dreger then poses the question “what if content of character turns out to be something that’s scannable in the future?” (Dreger 4) If this becomes the case, our society is doomed and we will be forced to group people on gender or character.

  14. The key passage I would to like to discuss about is located at 2.53 from the transcript. Alice Dreger said “Now what’s important to understand is you may think of this person as really being males, but they’re really not”, this speech gave me a deeper understanding of her main idea. Dreger was mostly talking about people who spent time in society, religion etc. She also focuses on the fact that people need equal rights in order to go over the border of anatomy. Dreger briefly explains that sex may have opposite reactions because of being born that way, for example a child was born female and was also raised as a female but there are some masculizing hormones inside them that abandon themselves from what they are meant to be. But they aren’t different and we shouldn’t view them that way.

  15. The thesis of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is that “We the people try to create a more perfect union, we’re thinking about what we do for each other (Dreger 5).” As human beings, we try to make the world a better place and that’s what we aim for even if we are on the opposite sides of the spectrum as an anatomist or a democratic activist. Paragraph 14:19 gives us a better understanding of her thesis because she points out that we should judge people on the content of their character instead on the skin color by quoting Martin Luther’s words. Throughout her speech, we see that she wants the whole world to accept the biological concept that makes us up as humans can be altered by humans themselves. And these have happened in the past. This is where she brings the example of founding fathers into her speech(Dreger 3). So, from our past, we faced the struggle to unite us as “we the people”. And anything that is viewed as abnormal by the society is also created by the people in the society. That’s why Dreger is asking us to think less of individual body and more about character and relationships.

  16. The thesis of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is “Why do we let our anatomy determine our fate?” The passage I would like to talk about is at 3:36 from the transcript. Alice Dreger gives an example of a 19 year old man who did the normal things that a 19 year old man would do, looked like a man, had the body parts of a man. This 19 year old on the outside looked like a male, there was nothing to give you that doubt of whether he was a female or male. However, with internal problems and testing by doctors, they found out that he was however a woman on the inside and had was an extreme form of a condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia. It affects the genital growth in both males and females. Alice Dreger uses this question to show us the readers/viewers that things aren’t always perfect, things happen that we have no control over that people view as “different”. They aren’t different and we shouldn’t view them that way.

  17. Shanna Razak says:

    The thesis of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is that we as human beings are more complex than we account for and we should not be forced to fit ourselves into society’s molds. In other words the categories that society has created are too simplistic for us and it should not be used as a tool to judge . Instead we should base our opinion about others on the characteristics of their personality or who they are as a person. The passage of Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk that best supports this thesis is passage 5:33 For example in this passage it states “Which is the test they’re going to run that will test us whether or not Caster Semenya is a male or female? And i had to explain to the journalists there isn’t such a test.” The categories the Dreger uses is female and male . The fact that Caster Semenya was placed under questioning of whether she should run or not based on her gender definitely shows that we need a change in society. The truth is she should not be judged on whether she is female or male ,but on her running skills. In short Dreger uses this statement to explain her thesis because Semenya isn’t just identify by gender but by the fact that she is a runner.

  18. The key passage that I would like to talk about in Alice Dreger’s Ted Talk is at 6:09 (from the transcript). When Alice Dreger says, ” In fact, we now know that sex is complicated enough that we have to admit nature doesn’t draw the line for us between male and female” (Alice Dreger, Page 2), this gave me a further insight on a deeper understanding of her thesis. Dreger was mostly talking about how as time passed by in society, religion and supernatural powers weren’t limited on people.(In reference to the Founding Fathers) Dreger also added on that as democracy got stronger, people’s rights got stronger. Dreger was putting an emphasis on the fact that we need equal rights to go over the border of anatomy. She says “And maybe that’s where we need to go in the future, when we take democracy beyond anatomy, is to think less about the individual body, in terms of the identity, and think more about those relationships.” (Alice Dreger, Page 6) Dregger stresses the fact that since science is rapidly developing, identity doesn’t just come in terms of sex, but also comes in terms of race.

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