Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes Hardcover – Jul 1 2009
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"Callahan does a good job of exploring intersex individuals, who are neither male nor female, and argues that they need to be accepted for what they are and not viewed as defective." —Publishers Weekly
"Immunologist Callahan takes a fascinating look at the biology and human experience of intersexuality, a state in between male and female." —Discover Magazine
"Callahan's writing style is both accessible and engaging; it reads more like creative non-fiction, a la Malcolm Gladwell." —Ms. Magazine
"This is a fascinating, easily understandable journey into why we are born male or female and examines our age-old obsession with sex." —Fort Collins Coloradoan
"There are lots of interesting nuggets here—for example, Callahan's description of biological sex as a spectrum, not a binary system." —Double X
"The book is really beautifully written, highly accessible, and visionary in its own right." —Feministing
"This book takes readers through an alphabet of gender and gender variations. Callahan shows readers that rather than either/or scenarios, there have always been variations; his book shatters our society's take on pink and blue." —Advocate.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a good book if you want a primer on the subject of intersexuality, either for yourself or as a gift.
I recommend this book, even though I thought it could have been better written. The information is substantial and crucial to our understanding of gender.
Callahan spends a lot of time debunking the myth of the two sexes - there's slightly more in the book about that than there is about disorders of sexual development or intersex. If you're looking for a really in-depth read that focuses on intersex, this isn't that book. But if you're looking for some more general stuff about the science of the differences between men and women and genetic variations that will tweak your concepts of "men" and "women", this book is very much worth your time.
Callahan was able to write a very readable book that didn't bore me or confuse me at all, even when he writes about chromosomes and karyotypes and stuff. In addition to good content about human sexuality, he devotes a good amount of time to writing about hermaphroditic animals, which is fascinating stuff and will further erode your notions of a two-sex model. The case studies of intersex people included in the book are also engaging, though also pretty heartbreaking.
If you are up for something heavier, more theory-laden and more advanced about the differences among the sexes (see what I did there? implying that there are more than two sexes with grammar?), check out Anne Fausto-Sterling's Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men. That book was originally published in 1987, updated in 1992 - so some of the science is a little our of date, but it's a really great and challenging read.
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