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Sex ItselfThe Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome$
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Sarah S. Richardson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226084688

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226084718.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 March 2021

Sexing the X

Sexing the X

(p.103) Chapter 6 Sexing the X
Sex Itself

Sarah S. Richardson

University of Chicago Press

Focusing on “X mosaicism” theories of female biology, health, and behavior, this chapter examines the longstanding and infrequently questioned association of the X with femaleness. Drawing strongly on resonances between traditional ideas of femininity and the concepts of chimerism, mixedness, and two-ness, human X mosaicism theories seek the origins of mysterious “female maladies” and female behavior in their doubled Xs. Analyzing X mosaicism theories of female biology and behavior and X-chromosomal theories of the higher incidence of autoimmunity in women, this chapter shows how gendered assumptions operate to sustain and cohere hypotheses of dubious empirical merit in high-priority areas of women’s health research. Sourcing notions of the X as female, and chimerism as feminine, X mosaicism theories of female biology and behavior present a poignant case of gendered conceptions of biological objects of analysis influencing scientific reasoning.

Keywords:   X mosaicism, Autoimmunity, X chromosome, Female maladies, Femininity, Women’s health

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