Human Variation

The caption to the photo says: Four-legged Myrtle Corbin, who bore two children from her first vagina and three from her second.

The whole article – photos of circus “freaks” by Charles Eisenmann from the 1800s – is fascinating.

And yes, there are people in the collection who have non-normative genders.

Here is what fascinates me & always has: I’ve never read anything written by people who worked as “freaks”. I really want to know how they thought about humanity – it couldn’t have been good, right? – and about their own ability to make a profit off their difference. If anyone out there has resources, I would love to read them.

If you haven’t yet checked out io9, do. They publish some really really great stuff.

2 Replies to “Human Variation”

  1. freak shows and the like are much-discussed topics in disability studies. Check out Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Eli Claire’s work for starters. Both write about the intersections of disability, gender, and sexuality.

  2. I assign both of those autors, benjaminadam – I was thinking more accounts from when freak shows were still around, turn of the last century, people Barnum hired, etc.

    They were so disempowered and fetishized, exoticized, etc., that I don’t expect many, and maybe not any, but I can hope.

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