Sexing the X
Sexing the X
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.
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