Man and woman, boy and girl

The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity

The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity.

Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972 book that combines experimental and clinical data in this report on human development and the relation of sexual differentiation and social roles.

In Man and Woman, Boy and Girl, John Money and Anke Ehrhardt offer a comprehensive account of sexual differentiation using genetics, embryology, endocrinology and neuro-endocrinology, psychology, and anthropology. Their multidisciplinary approach to gender identity avoids the old arguments over nature versus nurture. Money and Ehrhardt focus instead on the interaction of hereditary endowment and environmental influence. Money and Ehrhardt’s work will lead many readers to the conclusion that the differences between man and man, or woman and woman, can be as great as between man and woman.

This was required reading in my human sexuality class in college. I thought it was well presented and researched. It defies some of the gender role and gender identification theories by explaining the gender spectrum in very graphic terms. It will make some people VERY uncomfortable, but it makes a valid point I believe, there are many ways to define gender and how individuals identify with their gender. It does not support the popular theory that we are born genetically predisposed to a particular sexual orientation. Instead the book suggests that regardless of how male or how female you may be genetically you may choose which sex you prefer in your physical or emotional relationships. Blasphemy to some, but it goes a long way to clearing up some of the ambiguity about gender roles and gender identification.

Jonathan Van Voorhees, August 4, 2015.

2 thoughts on “Man and woman, boy and girl”

  1. As a intersex person myself I have read about many of the theory’s John Money had expressed. Some of them were proven wrong, well at least to the extent that they harmed intersex people directly.
    As a young child I witnessed one of his theories being put to the test on a child I shared a hospital room with. The child was born with ambiguous male genitalia. Several surgeries were done on him and during the last he was changed into a girl. I happen to be in the hospital for surgery for an undescended testis but because of other female bits were found in my abdomen a similar surgery was almost done to me. It was desided to leave me as I was a male.
    The issue here is there is no need to rush in with surgery to intervene on sexual development. The child can and will tell you what their preferred gender is when they start to mature. This particular child was only maybe five and clearly had no input into the desition making process. In fact I was only ten years old and could see how wrong it was to impose this gender change on someone else. In reality this was done for gender conformity for the doctors and not for the child.
    Don’t get me wrong these surgeries have been done untold number of times on developing young children. Sadly the doctors are correct about 30% of the time. All they had to do is wait five ten years and the child could tell them with 100% accuracy what gender they prefer.
    As an adult I did marry and we even had children all though it was difficult to conceive. I also see myself as both male and female in mind and body. I even had stage three ovarian/testicular cancer to deal with.
    The rest of the world has to learn we who fall into this intersex world didn’t make this decision it was simply how we were born. Like it or not this is our world and I made the best of it.
    I often reflect of what I would have done had such gender change surgeries had been imposed on me. I’ve come to accept I am transgender/intersex and may have survived but the phycological costs would have been extremely high. Now as an older adult I’ve survived many many surgeries related to this. What male left in me has been damaged by chemotherapy and surgery. Those parts that were not damaged were simply underdeveloped sexually. But I did marry and we have been happy for forty plus years now as male female husband and wife. Now after all these years I’ve progressed to the point I could live as a wife and wife married couple if she would accept me. Or maybe I’ll just live as I am for the rest of my life.
    In either case it is our decision what we do.
    Oh I may have been a DES baby. Be extremely careful about what you expose your developing babies to during gestation.

Have your say! Share your views