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Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She (2005)

Antony Thomas  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Antony Thomas
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 17, 2006
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEVZ9Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,979 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Society and Diversity July 22, 2007
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well-made and informative documentary May 10, 2007
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Movie is irresponsible in it's (mis)representation February 15, 2011
By Indy
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.)
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT HELP FOR HOMOPHOBICS May 22, 2008
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a real eye-opener !!! July 11, 2012
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for sociology courses
I use this in the gender/sexuality unit of my Introduction to Sociology course and it is very well-received. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Chelsea Starr
4.0 out of 5 stars Informational and well done
I was introduced to this film via a Coursera Social Psychology course. It's well done and informative. However, some parts are too mature for a younger audience. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Preston
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for gender studies
I show this DVD in my feminist philosophy classes and (undergrad) students really engage with the material. Read more
Published 12 months ago by tri zappa
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend it to everyone I know!
I love this film, and I own it. Whenever complicated discussions around gender come up and someone is new to these concepts, I recommend this film.

Love Love Love it. Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by Life Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD
I am a sex educator and use clips from this DVD in my human sexuality courses. I received this DVD in a timely fashion. It did not have scratches and it played perfectly. Read more
Published on September 17, 2011 by HC
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary worth the money
I am currently pursuing a Diploma in Gender Studies and this documentary was very helpful in understanding how gender is socially constructed. Highly recommended!
Published on January 27, 2010 by Gersham Hayden Weekes
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but all over the place
This video is intriguing if you have a previous interest in the subject but was a little hard to get into and felt scattered. Read more
Published on November 10, 2009 by E. Lundberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Redefining reality to fit with a particular bias - Don't waste your...
This review is about the chapter in the DVD - Conformity and Release.

[The narrative about the Male son being given prominence gives the impression that women are... Read more
Published on October 6, 2009 by balance o oholic
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