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Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She
Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She sensitively explores the controversial subject of the blurring of gender as well as the serious social and family problems - even dangers - often faced by those whose gender may fall somewhere in between male and female. Narrated by noted author Gore Vidal and filmed in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America, Middle Sexes examines the ways different societies and cultures handle the blurring of gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation. Through interviews with transgender, intersexual and bisexual men and women, as well as experts from the scientific and academic communities, the film considers the entire spectrum of sexual behavior, personal identity and lifestyles among people of different backgrounds and cultures. From this, a theme of tolerance and appreciation of diversity emerges in the film.
||Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC|
|Number of Discs:
||Hbo Home Video|
|DVD Release Date:
||October 17, 2006|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 11 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 11 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Society and DiversityJul 22, 2007
By Bryan A. Pfleeger
Antony Thomas' Middle Sexes explores diversity within sexuality that makes all people unique. Focusing on transgender issues accross society that film helps to create the feeling that diversity is good and that one of the keys to peaceful coexistence is tolerance for all views.
The film's most powerful message is that there is no one real normal definition of human sexuality. All life is neither black nor white, male nor female. Everything and everyone is made up of shades of gray.
The film makes its point by intoducing the viewer to other cultures where the idea of transgender roles are more accepted than in our own. We travel to India to learn about the Hindu third sex and to Thailand to get the insights of the Ladyboy community.
This is a quite good documentary produced by Sheila Nevins for HBO. While it offers no stunning conclusions its message of diversity and tolerance is well appreciated.
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Very well-made and informative documentaryMay 10, 2007
By Z. Freeman
This 75 minute documentary delves into the topic of sexual identity and sexual orientation across cultures, ages, and even into the animal kingdom. What is revealed is that the border between male and female isn't as cut and dry as we are led to believe in our western society.
Middle Sexes addresses many controversial topics, including the development of human sex organs in the first trimester, hermaphroditic animals, transgender lifestyles, violence against people with differing sexual identities and many other related points of interest. What this documentary really points out is that while human nature and biology thrives on variance, society frowns upon it. By showing different cultures and the way they address sexuality, this documentary really provides some eye-opening insight into human sexuality.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Movie is irresponsible in it's (mis)representationFeb 15, 2011
By Jess I
First, I was confused by the title given only one intersex individual's story was told. I think it is very irresponsible to conflate the experiences of trans and intersex identified folks. I failed to see what the director, Antony Thomas', intentions were.
Second, I was extremely bothered by the fact that no one who was biologically born a woman and seeking to queer gender boundaries appeared in the film. I can only infer that this might be due to penis worship. This is summarized in the film by Mark, the man who left his wife and kids to be with a Thai Lady-boy: "it's one thing to have breast implants... but to have your tackle sawn off, it's just a big step". Translation: of course women want to have penises, but why on earth would a man ever want to be a woman?
Third, I found the presentations of non-American gender ideals, while typical, very exoticizing, reductionist, and offensive. The argument about nature is very understandable, given the western idea that if it is found in nature than it is Right. However, to use examples of animals in order to transition into discussing non-mainstream-Euro-American cultures, very... Walt Disney. That aside, the lack of context was by far the most offensive part of the film. Again returning to the Thai Lady-boy examples, where was an analysis of the historical treatment or cultural position of Kathoey. Sure one was a model and many are the subjects of touristic voyeurism, but what about Kathoey who can't pass as American 50's show girls? (To say nothing of the films claim that Thailand has never been colonized.)
(To practice what I preach: I am a college educated, white, middle-class, queer, American woman. While I have traveled, I do not claim to know much about cultures other than my own; and, where I have spent more extensive time, those experiences were viewed with the lens of my American experiences.)
9 of 12 found the following review helpful:
GREAT HELP FOR HOMOPHOBICSMay 23, 2008
By Raul Silva
I USED TO HAVE MANY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GAY,LESBIAN,TS,TG, ETC
I USED TO HAVE MANY ISSUES ACCEPTING MY GAY SON
THIS DOCUMENTARY OPENED MY EYES & MIND TO THEIR WORLD
I WISH IT WAS AVAILBLE IN SPANISH, THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT FACT TO ACCEPT IN OUR HISPANIC CULTURE, IF ANY BODY HAS TRANSLATED OR WANTS TO TRANSLATE IT OR AT LEAST SUB-TITLE IT, LETS DO IT !!! I WANT TO GIVE A COPY TO MANY "CLOSED MINDED" RELATIVES IN MEXICO.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
a real eye-opener !!!Jul 12, 2012
By Matthew G. Sherwin
This well done HBO documentary showcases the many sexual "shades of grey" between male and female, heterosexual and homosexual; there are more than just two sexes and there is an almost endless continuum of sexual orientations. This is amazing! For example, there are interviews with transgender, intersexual and bisexual men and women as well as experts in the fields of science and academia. There could have been more time spent on transsexuals going from men to women; this is a disappointment.
One message of the film is that Western psychiatry and prominent religious beliefs created a great deal of stigma when anything sexual was in a shade of grey (i.e., hermaphrodites); I learned that in fact 1 in every 100 persons is born either a hermaphrodite or a pseudo-hermaphrodite. In the past and even today people can have surgical procedures (often numerous surgical procedures) to have that "corrected" so that they are "clearly" a female or a male; but the chromosomes inside the person do not change. Even when science and Western medicine make their best efforts, nature rules.
Other interesting topics explored here include the "Ladyboys" of Thailand. Without excessive influence of Western culture, "Ladyboys" are often found entertaining tourists in packed nightclubs. Interestingly enough, many tourists from foreign countries are absolutely fascinated by the "Ladyboys" and want their pictures taken with them after a performance. In fact, we meet one man who left his wife and family to start a romantic relationship with a Ladyboy; the interviews with him and his lover are fascinating and insightful.
Another group of people in this film are those from the nation of Suriname. We see what happens when people begin romantic relationships with someone of the same sex after living with a member of the opposite sex.
The film also explores how animals in the wild don't necessarily discriminate when choosing sexual partners; there is a fair amount of homosexuality in the wild.
Although it may seem as if I've given it all away I assure you that I haven't. There's a lot more to this documentary than this!
One thing I did disagree with is how the film shows young men dancing together at an Indian wedding. True, while for some of them this may be somewhat erotic as the film tells us, I agree with people who believe that Indian culture would not want people of opposite genders dancing openly.
"Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She" is a real eye-opener. Although I didn't agree with every last point they made the film still has tremendous value both as an educational tool in the classroom and as a way to inform and teach people studying this topic more independently. I highly recommend this documentary for people interested in the vast spectrum of sexuality.
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