Sunday, November 11, 2007


Posted By: Jessica Jordan

The presence of genetic discrimination in Gattaca is a good example of how superior values become an ideology that guides people’s behaviors in hopes of becoming successful. Genetically enhanced individuals known as valids, are engineered to be perfect and understood as normal compared to naturally born individuals referred to as invalids. The assumption that humans ought to be flawless becomes universally accepted and necessary in order to thrive in society. In effect, Gattaca carries out the reality of their world’s ideology by requiring routine genetic sampling in the workplace to ensure workers are of the required status. Naturally, in such a world, it follows that invalids face oppression and domination from their privileged peers in power and end up displaced in society. Hegemony comes into play as parents procreate with the help of science in order to conform to the social norm.

Gender differences in work/life can apply to Gattaca in the scene where Vincent’s mother, after giving birth, was overruled by her husband when she attempted to name her natural born child. Particularly, the scene presents the woman as being below the man and subject to his requests. It seems as if women are expected to know their rank and not over step their male counterparts. In regards to genetic identity verses gender identity as organizational performance, an example of this can be seen when Vincent uses Eugene’s genetics to overcome being a degenerate. Through micropractices, Vincent brings himself into character by presenting Eugene’s genetic samples of blood, hair, and urine in workplace tests to get ahead in life with his career and fulfill his dreams of space travel. He must act outside of his true character because it is the only way he can convince his world into believing he is a valid. Ultimately, Vincent becomes what others want to see in a person because it is the only way he will have a future.

Aspects of gender discrimination are similar to genetic discrimination when you compare the micropractices of Vincent to those of exotic dancers explained by Alexandra Murphy (pg.208). Dancers were found to take on forms of femininity in order to conform to male desires and workplace norms. Their work becomes a performance and they are often times left to prove their innocent identities to those around them that may have doubts. A good performance is needed to earn rewards or else unemployment will result and competition will take over. Indeed, there is a connection between the everyday struggles of Vincent and exotic dancers. All in all, the study by Murphy shows that gender discrimination is alive today as some women alter their behaviors to comply with the ideologies that define the workings of our society.

No comments: