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fig.6—both classes juxtaposed across both axes


 Having attempted to situate the crucial subset of sex and/or gender terms according to either biological or cultural constraints, the resulting schemas appear simplistic. However, if we vertically twist the corners of the fig.4 grid into fig.6, we juxtapose both types of differentiation. By departing from Aristotle’s unilateral hierarchy of vertical subalternation, the potential picture becomes more dynamic and complex. The result marks out a dissymmetrical (mirrored) matrix of strong contraries stated in uniformly positive terms, without the Greimasian (formal, morphological) contradictions stated in negative terms. Next, to test both theoretical integrity and practical utility of all three Squares, we seek out the metaterms. Whether or not they all produce matching pairwise oppositions, we may draw meaningful inferences from the three attempts. Each pair of neighboring corner terms should suggest a metaterm that merges each pair of concepts; if a Square is well­-formed, the results will then oppose each other in two pairs along the X and Y axes.

index | 2.1.7 (102) | | next

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fig.7—sex­-and-gender ambiguities as ‘double-positives’


 In fig.7 we return to the fig.4 grid: at either end of the X­-axis,  gendered columns self­-affirm, as each particular affirms its universal: a masculine male is a ‘manly man’; a feminine female is a ‘womanly woman.’ At the apex, the universals conform a doubly positive term that affirms its own otherness: A person with both male and female biomorphy is hermaphroditic (or lexical commutations gynandromorphic or even ‘intersexed’). At the nadir, the particulars also affirm by superposition: one who displays culturally defined masculine and feminine traits is androgynous. Thus, the X­-axis marks the contradiction of manly and womanly, as each superposition self­-affirms; the Y-axis stresses the disjoint of ‘culture’ from ‘nature’ by opposing terms which are often mistaken for equivalent. The result highlights the complex differentials within positively­-constituted ambiguities: hermaphroditic traits are biologically predetermined—yet they may remain covert, while androgynous traits are culturally (post­-)determined—thus are by definition overt. 

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