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Online Intersex Communities: Virtual Neighborhoods of Support and Activism By Brian ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Online Intersex Communities:

Chapter 1


Why a rhetorical analysis of intersex Web sites? Rhetoric, or “persuasion,” Judy Segal argues, “is a central element in many medical situations” (1). She writes, “Experts persuade the public to count some states and behaviors as pathological and others as not” (1–2). Medicine, therefore, is not just the application of unerring science in an antiseptic, objective environment. Its constructions, its meanings, its truths, who it privileges to speak, and what can be said—all of it is contingent to the situation that such rhetoric is produced by and also helps to produce. To study the rhetoric of such a system, especially related to intersexuality, from the perspective of the rhetoric produced online, makes a great deal of sense. If rhetoric is the art of persuasion, then rhetorical analysis is an examination of how such persuasion is created, what influences it, and what it, in turn, influences.