Plastic Bodies: Sex Hormones and Menstrual Suppression in Brazil
Conclusion: Limits That Do Not Foreclose
Hormonal menstrual suppression, as a chemical means of choosing nature, is a peculiar kind of purification, situated within a Bahian esthetic preference for artificiality. The conclusion engages with anthropological debates on the tension between biological contingency and technological possibility opened up by the incursion of biotechnologies. It explores the prolificity of excess that is unleashed when the scope of intervention is not capped by reference to what is naturally given. Although bodies occupy a prominent place in Brazilian social life, they are not imagined as fixed or immutable. To the contrary. Nature is understood to be plastic. Given this plasticity, and its potentially “explosive” character, how should the good of bodily interventions be assessed? The conclusion proposes a critical reading of biomedical intervention that that does not mourn for the loss of a natural referent or invest too much hope in an endlessly flexible promissory future.