“Testo Junkie” Book Cover

Hacking Gender

By Oliver Damian

Beatriz Preciado is an interesting human. S/he hacks their gender by non-medically supervised self-injection of testosterone. Her article Pharmaco-pornographic politics: towards a new gender ecology provided me with a much more expansive way to look at love, lust, the body and gender. I used to look at the human body from a sovereign point of view.

To me, my body and my mind were that territory, enclave, or sanctuary which I can have a residual or primary freedom over. It’s the last bastion of personal freedom. My freedoms may be restricted economically, politically, culturally, but I can always exercise freedom over my mind and body.

Then I read a bit of Foucault where he talks about the disciplinary society which disciplines the body from the outside (also referenced by Preciado in their article). Now reading Preciado’s article where she paints a large canvass that we are being controlled from the inside in our biology through chemical substances, and our psychology through pornographic images. We are conditioned with all these sex technologies to behave and see ourselves in what has been classified as ‘normal’. We are being controlled from the inside through our sexuality. Reading Preciado’s article reminded me of what Rousseau said back in the day: “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”.

Preciado’s view of gender as a techno-political ecology is very interesting to me. In a way, I had been segregating in my mind love, lust and gender as a separate sphere that is affected by forces of technology and politics. An ecological way of seeing it as put forth by the article made me realise it’s not realistic to do this. Technology, politics, love and sexuality interpenetrate each other, they’re networked together, they dynamically affect each other ceaselessly. Another of Preciado’s views that I’m gonna chew on for a while is that outside the techno-political machinations sex and gender don’t exist. They’re historical fiction.

Preciado and others like her/him are brave souls on the forefront who not only write about stuff, they actually hack their own bodies and gender. They experiment on themselves. I think they’re opening up a new vein of knowledge. Something outside the norm of objective experimentation. A new method of self-reflexive experimentation. To me, this is quite exciting.

References

  1. Delatte, M. 2014, ‘Meet the ‘Testo Junkie’ Who Hacks Her Gender with Testosterone’, Vice, weblog, Vice Canada, Toronto, viewed 20 October 2017, <https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ppvx38/beatriz-preciado-testo-junkie-interview-199>.
  2. Preciado B. 2008, ‘Pharmaco‐pornographic Politics: Towards a New Gender Ecology’, Parallax, vol. 14, no.1, pp. 105-117