The Five Sexes, Revisited

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The reading The Five Sexes, Revisited was about the misrepresentation of today’s two-sex system in society. The central issue Anne Fausto-Sterling addresses is that there are people born outside of dimorphism and most people do not understand this (pg. 122). The most important point or central argument is that the two-sexes, male and female should no longer be accepted. Instead, five-sexes should be accepted: male, female, “herms”, “merms”, and ferms” (pg. 121).

An important fact the author makes is, “…we calculated that for every 1,000 children born, seventeen are intersexual in some form” (pg.

122). This bit of information proves that there are infants born between the sexes male and female. It is important for people to realize that mixed babies are in existence. Anne Fausto-Sterling also shares a story of a born intersexual. “Consider for instance, the life of Max Beck: Born intersexual, Max was surgically assigned as a female and consistently raised as such.

Had her medical team followed her into her early twenties, they would have deemed her assignment a success because she was married to a man.

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Within a few years, however, Beck had come out as a butch lesbian” (pg. 124). It all comes down to society and this story proves it. If the world were more open to these sex issues, then we would not have these issues in the first place. In Max’s case, being born intersexual would not have been an issue in Max’s life. Instead, the doctors chose Max’s sexuality without any consent from Max.

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Another interesting fact that Anne Fausto-Sterling uses to back up her argument is “The logical structure of the commonly used terms “true hermaphrodite,” “male pseudohermaphrodite” and “female pseudohermaphrodite” indicates that only the so-called true hermaphrodite is a genuine mix of male and female…Because true hermaphrodites are rare – possibly only one in 100,000 – such a classification system supports the idea that human beings are an absolutely dimorphic species” (pg. 124).

The author makes her argument stronger with this fact because she is implying that those who have hidden male and female parts are not “true” mixes; therefore, the small percentage of “true” hermaphrodites is so minute that the only sexes that should be considered are male and female. The issue is, however, is that there are still many people with hidden parts inside them that the society does not take into consideration, which is demeaning to those “merms” and “herms. ” The Five Sexes, Revisted helps make it evident that gender is not an issue if society would not make it an issue.

The author makes it clear that gender is socially constructed, interpreting the differences between sexes, ranking males higher; however, there are women just as masculine as some men. It is true that many highly masculine people are in fact women, and some of the most feminine people are men. There are many misconceptions with the sexes and the stereotypes associated with them. The boundaries separating men and women are not easy to define, which implies that men should not be considered overpowering or have more privileges than women.

Cite this page

The Five Sexes, Revisited. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved from

The Five Sexes, Revisited

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