Final: Effects of Studying the Microstructure of Human Biology on How We View Human Bodies
In her essay on “Psychosomatic: Feminism and the Neurological Body,” Elizabeth Wilson addresses the role of science in the feminist theory and gender studies by arguing that "sustained interest in biological detail will have a reorganizing effect on feminist theories of the body." In her argument, Wilson attests that studying the microstructure of our bodies could lead us to explaining, or otherwise rethinking, how we see or understand in what way the human bodies function. One cannot help but notice substance in her argument. The role of biology ...view middle of the document...
For a long time, we used to see the human body as an object that to a large extend stands on its own, disconnected from the environment and the ecosystem in which we all live in. In this sense, there has been, and still is, a long established tradition of viewing bacteria as a threat to our organism and our health. It is surely not uncommon to see people carry around different kinds of disinfectant sprays and other chemical products in order to reduce the amount of bacteria and germs on their skin and in their body. However, the fact is that distal human intestine represents “an anaerobic bioreactor programmed with an enormous population of bacteria.” The study was conducted in order to assess the influence of microbiota on the energy storage in mice raised without exposure to any microorganisms compared to the control group that had acquired a microbiota since birth. The study showed that the control group of mice acquired 40% more total body fat than their germ free counterparts, despite the fact that the control group consumed less food per day. This came as a result of microbiota that provide us with genetic and metabolic attributes we have not acquired in our own evolutionary process, such as the ability to harvest otherwise inaccessible nutrients. Coming back to Elizabeth Willson’s contention, study of the microstructure, in this case the gut microbiota, has had a reorganizing effect on how we view our bodies and forced us put greater value to the role of microorganisms in our own survival.
It is clear that the role of the gut bacteria to our fitness cannot be underestimated; however, one may argue that complexity of this topic still does not reform our way of viewing the body and how it functions. Sure, it makes sense to argue that humans would not be able to function or generate as much energy without bacteria landing us the hand, but we still view it all as part of one giant process. Meaning, how we process the food per se is no different with or without knowing all the facts about the digestion system. We can still go about understanding human gut (which also includes gut bacteria) as an organ that functions on its own. Discovering the gut bacteria would not change much in how we see our bodies because it still would have no effect on how we understand the purpose of the digestion system itself. Study of gut bacteria does not change what is the purpose of the gut as a whole and how it contributes to our survival. To a certain degree such contention may hold some water. Nonetheless, learning the microstructure of the gut has much broader impact, which goes beyond the one human organ, or digestion process. It goes without saying that everything in the human organism is interrelated and influenced by one another. In this sense, understanding the microstructure of human biology can have a holistic impact that can change view of a human body as a whole.
Studying the microstructure of the human gut goes well beyond just our digestion...