The Idea of What’s Natural
An idea that carries throughout He, She and It is the idea of the natural and unnatural. On Tuesday we talked about this idea in class, and the idea has been in my mind since. Yod thinks he is “something unnatural” (150) because he is a created being, and thus he feels he is monstrous even in looks and how he entered the world. While Yod may not seem as if he should be a natural being, Shira says that then she too would then be unnatural, as would many people in her society, due to the modifications they’ve had done both for their well-beings as well as for cosmetic purposes, and therefore in many ways she and Yod are the same (150). I do believe that at this point, as Yod is mostly human, he is a natural being. Therefore, I would argue against Shira’s idea about her and the people in her society being unnatural, in the fact that I feel that once one has modified their body, that the modification becomes a part of the natural, as the modification exists in that person’s idea of self and therefore nothing about a person can truly be unnatural.
It’s something interesting to think of it today’s society, with the emphasis we see in magazines to have surgery to change out looks and to paint our faces with cosmetics. I’m not saying either one of these is negative, but rather I’m looking at how the idea of changing or portraying the “natural” body has shifted. Is makeup now not almost considered “natural” for women to wear, a part of daily lives? Are not treatments to provide new hair to men who lose it just considered “natural” fixes, and hair dyes accepted as a natural thing to shift one’s hair color? We change our idea of the natural to fit what we now perceive around as a norm.
In my mind, then, for something to be unnatural about someone’s body in terms of appearance, would it not almost have to be a concept, such as something we can imagine to be real but not actually find in reality? For example, I can imagine a person being born with bright blue hair, but until that would actually happen by itself and not through dye, it would be unnatural. I could also imagine someone with brightly colored skin but once again, as it has not happened, it is unnatural. So then, dyed blue hair would be natural, as it is something someone did to their body to make it how they wished, but being born with blue hair would be unnatural since it does not happen in reality as we know it. Overall, I feel that once something exists in the world, albeit through modification or what one is born with, it is a natural thing, as we can see it in reality and we accept it as a part of ourselves.
Piercy, Marge. He, She And It. New York, The Random House Publishing Group. 1991.