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Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World

(The Routledge Series Integrating Science and Culture)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Sex/Gender presents a relatively new way to think about how biological difference can be produced over time in response to different environmental and social experiences.

This book gives a clearly written explanation of the biological and cultural underpinnings of gender. Anne Fausto-Sterling provides an introduction to the biochemistry, neurobiology, and social
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 18th 2012 by Routledge (first published October 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  169 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Tristan Bridges
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love Anne Fausto-Sterling. Sexing the Body is really an amazing book and this book does a great job of breaking down some pretty sophisticated debates about the relative influence of biology and social life on the body for a non-expert. She also has a great explanation of what's so problematic about the nature-vs.-nurture debate, illustrating how that debate is actually flawed. Aside from the fact that either position you take presumes that differences exist (and maybe that they ought to), it' ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Definitely useful, interesting, and very applicable. Got quite bored in the middle section, but when it got to pink and blue I gained interest again. Lots of the strict science bits lost me and I'm not a huge fan of the tone. However, unraveling the complexity of gender is a hefty task that I can't help but admire.
Sharad Pandian
I remember sitting in on a class on gender and sexuality as an undergraduate, when we smugly thought that labelling a certain practice a "social construct" was some sort of devastating critique. The instructor had to patiently repeat that this was at best the beginning of an argument, not an argument in itself (this fell on deaf ears).

This book by Anne Fausto-Sterling, whose background is in both biology and gender studies, can be thought of as a corrective for such intellectual slot
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, thought provoking read covering a variety of issues related to gender, sex, and human anatomy. It identifies and explains a variety of opinions and research on these diverse topics in a way that is graspable by readers of any background. Though short of words, each page is filled with a diversity of knowledge. A great read to challenge societal preconceptions and learn about the history, psychology, and science of all of us.
Megan Raulerson
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read, specifically for those who are trying to gain a greater understanding of the difference between sex and gender, and why these categories are considered socially constructed. I won't lie though, some of this book is genuinely boring but I'd consider it a foundational text and certainly worth the read.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, and will be recommending it to folks who want to understand more about what we know and don't know about the biology of gender and sex. I wish the section on trans stuff was longer and more nuanced, but I think that's the drawback of the format.
Tiffeni Russo
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sex and Gender

This book provides a understanding of sex and gender from a feminist perspective that doesn’t feel so laborious to read.
Hannah Crane
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
It was good. I didn't quite get what I wanted or expected out of it, but it was valuable nonetheless.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Don’t mind my review, I had to read it for class lol
Christine Peterson
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read summaries of past and present research. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in or confused by gender issues.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anne Fausto Sterling explain why it doesn't make sense to separte body from culture. And as she writes: "To understand sex and gender we have to study how sensory, emotional, and motor experience becomes embodied."
Paige Ellen Stone
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in gender studies/research
Recommended to Paige Ellen by: me
This is the 3rd book by Ms Fausto-Sterling which I have read. Without question, for me this was the easiest one to read. Ms Fausto-Sterling is by no means a light weight. She is a biologist, feminist and historian of science and is Professor of Biology and Women's Studies at Brown University. Putting it as an understatement, she knows of what she speaks.
And of what she speaks, with great authority, are the multiple factors that go into the formation of what is commonly called, "gender." M
Dino Wong
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gender-science
A thin book for everyone who is interested in Gender & Science. It attempts to cover most of the controversial topics such as sexual orientation, masculinity & femininity, and biological differences between male & female with sound scientific supports. It is especially suitable for those who have no science background or who just have to have an introduction of sexuality in science. It's a great book in general. No sophisticated jargons were involved I promise. Fausto-Sterling also t ...more
César Galicia
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
ENORME libro. En 160 páginas, Fausto-Sterling (bióloga) explica, con evidencia muy dura, todos los sesgos metodológicos que existen detrás de los estudios que intentan establecer relaciones causales entre naturaleza y género. A través de varios debates populares sobre el tema (el origen de la orientación sexual, la preferencia de niños/niñas por determinados juguetes, el misterio de la intersexualidad), Fausto-Sterling hace una revisión crítica sobre la forma en que medios y academia han abordad ...more
Jess Grayson
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-school
This book explored the complexities surrounding sex and gender within the medical/scientific sphere. And, while it was an interesting subject matter, it was a bit like reading a textbook due to all the scientific elements (which aren't really my cup of tea to begin with). Plus, the narrator was annoying at times - often switching between an informative and a conversational tone in a manner that came across as odd. Overall, this book basically concludes in saying that we know very little for sure ...more
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: school, non-fiction
I had to read this for my Feminist Theory class. Though interesting at times, a good deal of the detailed science went right over my head. I often struggled to fully understand what Fausto-Sterling was explaining (even though she said this was a simplified text.)
It felt like she was just saying, "this is all the research that's been done... and none of it is right. However, we'll know in the future."

In all, it was an okay read. I would give it two and a half stars if I could.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, queer
Even after reading about sex and gender in gender classes and news & magazines, this is the book i can say has been an eye opener on just how complex sex n gender are which we otherwise perceive them to be simplistic binary based on genitals.
And biologist writing this book has an authenticity unline SJWs who meddle with the science for their propaganda.
Christopher Roberts
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism, science
This book is very short but it covers all the basics of the "nature vs nurture"
debate when it comes to sex and gender and reveals it to be a false dicotomy. it amazes me how people seem incapable of understanding this stuff, especially when Fausto-Sterling puts it so well and so easily together.
David Lucander
Oct 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gender-studies
Pretty good book, but all the X and Y stuff confuses me just as much now that I'm a Ph.D. as it did when I was on the verge of flunking high school. A compact read, would be a nice companion piece for Intro. to Gender Studies or an anthropology class. Fausto-Sterling hammers home the idea: it's not nature or nurture, it's both!

this is a more intro-y version of "Sexing the Body" so its a good introduction to arguments about the relationship between chromosomes/sex/gender/embodiment from a critical scientific point of view that also covers (somewhat more scantily) debates concerning sexuality.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The subject matter was fascinating and the biology wasn't too far over my head, at least it wasn't explained too in-depth that I couldn't follow it. I definitely recommend and I will read the author again.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and comprehensive summary of sex and gender science

I greatly appreciated the author's unbiased knowledge, explanations accessible to a layman like me, and how she throughly covered the subjects.
Nov 08, 2014 added it
for such scholarly work, this was beautifully fun to read. that's pretty rare, so I had to make a note of it.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Margaret Adams
rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2013
Drew Adams
rated it it was ok
Aug 17, 2014
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Apr 04, 2016
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Sep 23, 2018
rated it really liked it
Mar 25, 2015
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Anne Fausto-Sterling (born July 30, 1944) is the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University. She participates actively in the field of sexology and has written extensively on the fields of biology of gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and gender roles.

Fausto-Sterling received her Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from University of Wisconsin in

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