Thursday, September 4, 2014

Intersex Psycho

This is a buffer between D and E.  Join me as I continue blogging through the alphabet next week.  Today I am going to talk about an occurrence that is happening on TV, the new trope of the intersex psycho.

There are two times this has happened.  The first is on the show Nip/Tuck.  The character Quentin Costa is a plastic surgeon and a serial rapist called the Carver who mutilates his victim’s faces.  It is revealed that he also has 5 Alpha Reductase Deficiency as a result of incest (not really an indicator for this condition).

The other show is the soap opera Passions.  The character Vincent Clarkson is a murderer, rapist, arsonist and blackmailer.  He has a female alter ego named Valerie.  He also has an unnamed intersex condition and was briefly pregnant.

This trope is very similar to the transgender psycho trope (see Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, and Dressed to Kill).  This is obviously very offensive to intersex and transgender people.  It plays into the ridiculous belief that gender nonconformity is a sign of insanity and possibly violence.  In the case of Quentin, it implied his being mistreated by society was part of what drove him to madness.  It also plays into an ancient belief that hermaphrodites are monstrous.  It is not only offensive, but dehumanizing.   

You could argue that I am being oversensitive, it is only two TV shows after all.  I feel, however, that intersex people are a tiny, relatively unknown minority and two shows can have a disproportionate effect on public perception.  If this is their only reference for intersexuality, of course people will be less open to intersex issues and concerns.  They might even become prejudiced against us.  In any case these shows can only have negative consequences for the intersex community.  Shame on the creators of Nip/Tuck and Passions for creating this trope.  Artistic freedom aside, they may have increased discrimination against us.  Post some comments, let me know what you think.                 

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