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Araki, In the Realm of the Sense

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I discovered my gender’s form when I, a preteen, bought my first box of tampons. The instructions inside showed me, in drawings, how to unwrap them, insert them, and put them in the proper position. That which I had inside of me resembled a cave. Then, I suddenly realized to what extent the difference between the visible, exterior, manipulable genitalia of boys and the hidden, interior, genitalia of girls, which only have a sexualized tactile understanding, shaped the world. For me to see my genitalia, as was recommended by the gynecologist in “OK Magazine”, I was going to have to put a mirror below my spread legs. No aesthetic shock; my genitalia was not made to be seen.

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