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The Science and Social World of Sex and Sexuality

The Science and Social World of Sex and Sexuality

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The Science and Social World of Sex and Sexuality
Grasswick, Heidi E.
Hypatia, Volume 19, Number 3, Summer 2004, pp. 203-208 (Review)
Published by Indiana University Press
For additional information about this article
Access Provided by University of Edinburgh at 10/12/10 6:28AM GMT
 
BOOK REVIEWS
Th Si ad Sial Wld  Sx ad Sxualiy: A Rviw  
Sexing the
Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality
by ANNE FAUSTO-
STERLING. Nw Yk: Bai Bk, 2000; ad
The Mismeasure of Desire:
The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation
by EDWARD STEIN.
Oxd: Oxd Uiviy P, 1999.
Heidi E. Grasswick
O  h may l  b daw m mii i udi i ha hl a aa  iif udy i  huma ad hi ial wld, ad h
more politically charged the research implications, the more likely it is that the
aa  iif ah will b pblmaially hapd by ial aumpi.Thugh mii hav agud ha w mu id h l  bakgudaumpi i all aa  i— xampl, by xamiig h hi  pual maph mplyd i phyi ad hmiy—h i  dubha m  h g ad m viig xampl  adi adgd-biad i hav b idifd i h ial ad li i, aally lad  u huma ial wld. W a xp, h, ha iifah i h pliially hagd pi  h au ad igi  humaxualiy ad x di will b bh diful  d wll ad augh wihmpliai mmig m h iai bw h ial wld adiif kwldg.Bh A Fau-Slig’
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Con-struction of Sexuality
(2000) ad Edwad Si’
The Mismeasure of Desire:The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation
(1999) p ambiiuamp  dlv i h difuli  xuig ad aig iifah  x ad xualiy. Si aw hi u  xual iai,iially gagig wih bh mm  pi  xual iaiad h  pliai  iif ah  h au ad au  xual iai. Fau-Slig,  h h had, ak up h badpi  h ui  xd bdi ad xualiy, xamiig h hii-al dvlpm  val ah pgam  dma “hw h ialbm mbdid” (7). Bh auh giz h pliial ak i hiu aa  iif ah, ad bh iv  ah a idi-ipliay ad gal audi. Thy di, hwv, i h agi hymply  vi ad  h l laihip bw h plii ad
 
204 Hypaiah i  xualiy. Si,  xampl, mply a  ad uu haval a amp  daw i h ad wh wuld maiai ha w ad gd bjiv i wihu bigig valu ad ial aumpi ih ah, hugh m  hi aalyi ugg hwi. Fau-Slig,hwv, wk wih a m phiiad y adial udadig  iad i ay iai wih valu ad ial aumpi.I
The Mismeasure of Desire
, Si aim  dma ha “muh  wham ppl hik abu xual iai i pbably wg,  a lamiguidd,” ad h laim ha wha m ppl hik i ha xual ia-i i “ib i h  ha a p’ y l i ib.” A h pui, mpay hi  h au ad igi  xual iai, “i,
mismeasure
di” (5). Th bk i gaizd i h qui diii: maphyi, i, ad hi. Whil h f w i u
on demonstrating that the case or a biologically based understanding o sexual
iai i wak, h fal i agu ha v i hi viw  xualiai i u, i ha l lva  lbia ad gay igh ha mayhav uggd.
Although Stein clearly identifes his subject matter and resources as multidis-ciplinary, he takes his method to be primarily inormed by philosophy (7). Rely-ing mostly on conceptual analysis, Stein hopes to clariy many o the conusions
that have plagued discussions o sexual orientation. For example, in true analytic
yl, h dvlp a xdd hyphial a  h “Zmia iy,”
wherein people are categorized according to sleep position patterns—“ronters
ad “bak.” H h u h xampl  vaiu Zmia aiud wad ad bak a a aalgy  xplai h paalll pii ad a-
ing associated with various attitudes and belies concerning sexual orientation.
By ig hi paalll y hyphial a, Si hp  guid hi adbyd hi dp-ad aumpi abu xual iai  aiv a ala udadig  h iu.Si’ u i h pig i  maphyi i  uli h di-
ferences between essentialism and constructionism with respect to sexual
iai, ad  y  ia h plauibiliy  a uii viw h  iiially ilid  ak uh a viw iuly. H haaiz h
divide between essentialists and constructionists in terms o whether or not they
ak xual iai  b a “dp agy  huma au” (71),  a hla ay, a “aual huma kid”—a “huma kid ha play a ai   l i iif xplaai ad law” ( 84). Ciuig wih hi pual
analysis, he clarifes the dierences between nativism and essentialism, arguing
ha alhugh h uh  aivim (h pii ha xual iai haa gi  bilgial ba) ail h uh  ialim, h v d hld; h mai h pibiliy ha vimal a hap hdvlpm  xual iai, hugh iif law may apply  p hy hav dvlpd a dmia xual iai (102).

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