Monstrous Distractions from That which should Shock and Appall Us: In Response to Marchal’s Appalling Bodies – Susannah Cornwall
Throughout Appalling Bodies Marchal seeks, without over-identifying present-day identity categories with ancient ones, to ask how we might reread Paul’s letters in conversation with those whose sexual identities and gender presentations continue to be understood as threatening today. How can sex- and gender-expansive people in today’s world – actively as readers and implicitly as cultural touchpoints – influence how readers interpret those in Paul’s world? In this response article I reflect on Marchal’s key themes of monstrosity, consent, and testimonial injustice, holding that, like Paul, present-day Christian commentators on sex and sexuality often seek to deflect attention away from sexual abuse and toxic underexamined norms and onto those unjustly figured as deviant or transgressive.
Keywords: Trans people, sexual abuse, testimonial injustice, monstrosity, consent