"GENDERMAPS: Social Constructionism, Feminism, and Sexosophical History" by John Money

"GENDERMAPS: Social Constructionism, Feminism, and Sexosophical History"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An arrogant and convoluted attempt to demolish and recreate gender studies. Medical psychologist Money (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) proposes to ""investigate manhood and womanhood in conflict,"" both privately as couples and politically as members of organizations, by exploring each individual's ""gendermap,"" or the ""developmental representation or template synchronously in the mind and brain depicting the details of one's gender identity/role."" Money analyzes the relationship between sex and gender and the (in his mind negative) consequences of the two terms being separated by social constructionists to mean entirely different things (sex referring to the biological and gender to the social). However, his reunion of the two terms is buried beneath technical language and even more new terms and definitions. His attempt to weave nature and nurture rather than isolate them--as much contemporary analysis does--leaves a static picture of just how gendermaps are formed and transformed. In addition, his causality is questionable and his evidence weakened by careless references to proposed characteristics of gendermaps. For example, Money repeats numerous times that men are aroused visually and women tactilely without conceding this could be due to learned behaviors rather than to biological determinism. Further, his evidence too frequently relies on observations of nonhuman primates. Money's countless typologies invariably end in overdramatic examples of what happens when various components of gendermapping go awry, such as when the ""me"" and ""thee"" gendermaps displace each other and result in ""full-blown transsexualism."" In fact, his discussion of gendermaps is little more than an extended glossary and list of complexes that arise out of dysfunctional partnerships or ""mismatched gendermaps."" Rather than engaging current debate about sex and gender, Money unsuccessfully tries to circumvent it, dismissing most feminist contributions in the process.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Continuum