Materializing the hypothalamus: A performative account of the ‘gay brain.’

Hegarty, P. J. (1997). Materializing the hypothalamus: A performative account of the ‘gay brain.’. Feminism and Psychology, 7(3) 355 - 372.



Simon LeVay's research on neuroscience and sexuality has been reiterated in popular media, scientific communities and legal debates. A close reading of this work, drawing on performativity theory (Butler, 1990, 1993), reveals that this popular success is the result of citing and reiterating a number of heterosexist, sexist and culturally imperialist norms. LeVay's work excludes women and ethnic minorities and denies the political, cultural and historical nature of sexuality. Performativity theory suggests the limits of empiricism for feminists, and the importance of postmodern readings of the subject of psychology and neuroscience.

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