Monday, July 31, 2006

The fluidity of gender -- Episode 213, "Skin Deep"

Clinic patient:
"Pregnant" husband

In the sex vs. gender debate, if you can call it that, I side with the idea that you're born with a sex; your gender is socially constructed. This episode takes the fluidity of gender to the extreme, where the perfect man is a woman (the clinic patient/husband) and the perfect woman is a man (the main patient/model).

Each patient is the opposite of him/herself and each other -- that last in more ways than one. It's funny (and rewarding, really) to see the husband go through sympathy pregnancy, with his big belly and breasts. It's temporary for him. But when the model finds out she's genetically a boy, it's tragic -- her entire concept of herself and her life is destroyed.

We viewers get to sit with the hermaphrodite idea for a while. House has his main-case breakthrough while the husband is in sympathy labor ("He's got more estrogen coursing through his veins ..."), then we get a discovery and explanation period before we watch House tastelessly break the bad news. So it's shocking how the model reacts getting the news for the first time, suddenly popping up from the bed and baring all. Whether it would have had more effect if it were closer to the comedic situation of the husband, to have a more sudden change in tone, I don't know.

As a side note: With all this gender confusion going around, it's a little interesting that the husband would feel more comfortable with House (read: a male doctor) than with Cuddy -- especially when he's concerned about his breasts. But Cuddy's giving away House's pager number is a nice little volley in their continual game of getting under each other's skin.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

the models case is a real life case- called AIS- i have it and stil 100 percent female except for my genitics
the testes are just tissue and get removed

2:38 PM  

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