Testo Junkie

Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics – Journal #44 April 2013 – e-flux [WWW Document], n.d. URL http://www.e-flux.com/journal/44/60141/testo-junkie-sex-drugs-and-biopolitics/ (accessed 1.2.17).

The changes within neoliberalism that we are witnessing are characterized not only by the transformation of “gender,” “sex,” “sexuality,” “sexual identity,” and “pleasure” into objects of the political management of living, but also by the fact that this management itself is carried out through the new dynamics of advanced techno-capitalism, global media, and biotechnologies.

In order to distinguish this new capitalism from the nineteenth century disciplinary regime, I shall call “pharmacopornographic capitalism” this new regime of the production of sex and sexual subjectivity.

After World War II, the somatopolitical context of the production of subjectivity seems dominated by a series of new technologies of the body (which include biotechnology, surgery, endocrinology, and so forth) and representation (photography, cinema, television, cybernetics, videogames, and so forth) that infiltrate and penetrate daily life like never before.

When I take a dose of testosterone in gel form or inject it in liquid form, what I’m actually giving myself is a chain of political signifiers that have been materialized in order to acquire the form of a molecule that can be absorbed by my body.

I administer to myself a series of economic transactions, a collection of pharmaceutical decisions, clinical tests, focus groups, and business management techniques. I connect to a baroque network of exchange and to economic and political flow-chains for the patenting of the living.

In this way, I become one of the somatic connectives that make possible the circulation of power, desire, release, submission, capital, rubbish, and rebellion.

As a body—and this is the only important thing about being a subject-body, a techno-living system—I’m the platform that makes possible the materialization of political imagination.

I am a copyleft biopolitical agent that considers sex hormones free and open biocodes, whose use shouldn’t be regulated by the State commandeered by pharmaceutical companies.

The consumption of testosterone, like that of estrogen and progesterone in the case of the Pill, does not depend upon any ideal constructions of gender that would come to influence the way we act and think. We are confronted directly by the production of the materiality of gender.

What is happening to me could be described in terms of a “molecular revolution.” In detailing this concept in order to refer to the revolt of May ’68, Félix Guattari certainly was not thinking of cis-females who self-administer testosterone. On the other hand, he was attentive to structural modifications generated by micropolitical changes such as the consumption of drugs, changes in perception, in sexual conducts, in the invention of new languages. It is a question of becomings, of multiplicities.

It’s not a matter of going from woman to man, from man to woman, but of contaminating the molecular bases of the production of sexual difference, with the understanding that these two states of being, male and female, only exist as “biopolitical fictions,” as somatic effects of the technical process of normalization.