Search - Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She on DVD

Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She
Middle Sexes Redefining He and She
Actor: Gore Vidal
Director: Antony Thomas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 15min

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 som...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Gore Vidal
Director: Antony Thomas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Documentary
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Dubbed
DVD Release Date: 10/17/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 15min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Society and Diversity
Bryan A. Pfleeger | Metairie, Louisiana United States | 07/22/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Raul Silva | USA | 05/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

Very well-made and informative documentary
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 05/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
Redefining reality to fit with a particular bias - Don't was
balance o oholic | Canyon Country , CA USA | 10/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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 not

In a male dominated economy, males are given prominence due to simple economics and survival of the family. This is no reflection on the culture or Religion. This is true the world over and was the case, here in the US before WWII allowed women the chance to enter the workplace in large numbers.

[The marriage scene asserts that there is "Little affection between Husband and Wife."]

The fact that in India couples do not show outward shows of affection such as kissing in public does not mean there is no affection. The claim and its' underlying conclusion assumes that people in other cultures should show affect the same way and if they do not, there is no affection. We disagree with this conclusion as there is no intellectual argument here. It is a claim which stereo types arranged marriages and judges them based through a bias cultural perspective of western relationships.

[Boys dancing with boys during the marriage celebrations claimed as proof that young Indian men are attracted to other men.]

Not everything is about sex. The conclusion is false. The current state of Indian social culture is that contact between young men and women in an unsupervised setting is frowned upon. It is not perceived favorably by family of young women. This is not unique and has been common amongst other cultures as well. We are not justifying any social inequity but fail to see how this can lead to the conclusion that Indian Men are attracted to other Men. A similar analogy could be made if a documentary was made showing youth in New York break dancing at street corners or at a high school prom where young women dance with other young women, without needing a male partner and reach same `conclusion' - that American men are attracted to other men or that American women are attracted to other women. Both of which would have been equally as absurd as the claim made on this documentary.

[The narrative claims that boys dancing at a wedding is 'eroticization of the space' ]

It's just some guys chilling out and dancing to music they like.

[The narrative claims at one point that there is no affection between men and women in India, and implies there is no love between genders.[

This is false and unsubstantiated. It fails to show how this conclusion has been reached and does not clarify that it is based social mores of a different culture. In Indian culture, showing public outward affection of a sexual nature or behavior that could be construed as being such, between a man and a women is crude and boorish behavior. It is seen to cheapen the emotion between the participants by making a spectacle of it. The documentary fails to take into account the perspectives different cultures have on the display of affection and displays a cultural bias with its' narrative.

[Mr Khan states that "Men cruise for sex at weddings, according to them it's not real, it's play, a fantasy..." ]

He implies that this applies to Indian Men in general. This is a very general statement. Which men? and what sample of the Indian public is he referring to? If he is referring to Gay Men only, that should be stated. The way it's presented leads to unclear and erroneous characterizations of Indian men.

["Men's first sexual contact tends to be with males because they don't have access to females"]

This claim is not true and is unsubstantiated. The Sex Industry exists in India and prostitution is prevalent due to poverty, illiteracy and ignorance. In as much as we abhor the existence of poor women being forced into prostitution, it exists and proves that the claim that there is no access to females is false. Add that to the surge in HIV/AIDS due to men catching the disease from prostitutes, Mr Khan's statement has no credibility. He seems to be speaking from a gay, and not a general Indian perspective.

[The Chapter shows an arranged Marriage and shows it in a negative context. There is no privacy.]

Arranged marriages have to be seen through a cultural context. They were the norm in many societies including America, Spain, England and other parts of Europe. Where young people were introduced to marriageable candidates of the other gender, chaperoned via church, dances, whatever.

As in any social relationship there is the danger of manipulation and abuse. Forced marriages are obviously wrong. But every country has it's own accepted way to introduce young people. Given that most people in India cannot afford large houses, the privacy issue is strictly due to economics so it's not clear what that has to do with arranged marriages.

[`Vijay' lives a double life because he is a homosexual and was pressured into Marriage. The documentary infers that this is due to his arranged marriage.]

The fact that Vijay is a closet homosexual and did not have the courage or integrity to say no to a marriage is no reflection of arranged marriages. It is a reflection that he has no integrity and that Indian society has not come to terms with Homosexuality in many contexts. In any case, one example cannot be extrapolated to Indian Society as a whole.

[Shiva - fell in love with the female aspect of himself.]

The statement about Shiva shows an ignorance of Hindu beliefs. The aspect of the Divine shown as Arda-Nareshware / Half Male and Half female as a personification of Shiva/Shakti is representative of the fact that the whole of creation has a male and female positive/negative) aspect. Like the Yin and Yang of Chinese philosophy.

[Hijras - Men who undergo a sex change. ]

What these men choose to undergo due to their personal sexuality is perhaps the only true aspect of this documentary about India. These are men who feel that they are women. This happens to men worldwide who decide on a sex change. Any difficulties they face are societal ills that exist and need to be addressed by Indians in India. What value there was in showing the operation is beyond me. Quite distasteful.

[Santoshi Ma. - Asks for Hijras to sacrifice their Genitals.]
This is not true and an ignorant belief. Whether the men who undergo the sex change operation believe it to make themselves feel better is another issue. It is not accepted Hindu belief.

The chapter representing India about male / female gender roles was not credible. Mr Khan appears to be Gay and if the documentary presented Gay Indian behavior and the Gay Indian perspective then it should have been stated. His opinions as a Gay man should not be extrapolated towards Indians in general and his perspectives about other things Indian, vis a vis male, female relationships and arranged marriages are narrow and suspect.