The Editorial: Science and Sexuality
With Assisted Reproductive Technologies, science has managed to use technology to prise apart previous associations between reproduction and sex. With gender, class and queer theory, the social sciences have prised apart previous associations between gender and sex. We have found that knowledge through science, like knowledge of sexuality, can’t be pinned down to absolutes. “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” said Aristotle. While science may value the systematic and objective, it cannot escape the baffling convolutions of lived experience. How does life influence knowledge, and knowledge influence life?
Chayanika Shah brings the issue into focus in her article on how scientists use the social norm of the time to understand and define the natural world, and society in turn uses this understanding of ‘nature’ to justify social norms.
Shikha Aleya pulls on her boots and goes on a hunt for a sexuality-informed approach to science, and brings home the message: the tomorrow we were hoping for is here, folks! Ashima Mittal, Oshin Siao Bhatt and Kristin Francoeur, however, don’t quite agree that tomorrow is here just yet. Ashima points out that new reproductive technologies like surrogacy are painted in bright colours that cover uncomfortable truths of social disparities and exploitation. Oshin beams her headlights onto the road ahead for egalitarian and sustainable innovations to menstrual hygiene in a world where women still can’t overcome personal shame about and societal neglect of their bodily functions and needs. Kristin writes a thought-provoking piece on how women are not trusted to be able to apply the results of technology on their own bodies, even technology that they themselves discover or invent.
In her I Column, Kavya Kartik looks back at her experience as a scholar of science in a disturbingly gendered and insensitive environment that allowed no space for her to thrive. Divya Swaminathan’s personal account of sexual harassment at her workplace demonstrates how the world of scientific research can be hostile to and discouraging of women.
On the Video Page is an endearing short film on Arunachalam Muruganantham, known by his unrelenting inventiveness as India’s Menstruation Man. The Featured Video of the month is a clip of a pertinent statement by Sachini Perera of ARROW on the need for a human rights-based approach to science, technology and innovation.
If you haven’t taken our quickie survey(s) yet, do! We’d really appreciate thoughts from our readers and contributors. And if you have taken the survey(s), thank you for your ideas on how to improve our content on sexuality in the Global South!
We return with more on Science and Sexuality on the 15th of July.
Until then, happy reading!
The TARSHI Team