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    Social Psychology

The Human Sexes Series (1997)

Desmond Morris turns his highly trained zoological eye on the differences in men and women, comparing different aspects of male and female biology and behaviour. Explore the human sexes and how we interact with each other. From issues such as monogamy, emotional equality and love, take a detailed look at the human persona as never seen before.

The Human Sexes was made in 1997 for The Learning Channel and consists of six episodes.

Episode 1: Different But Equal. Observe women who flaunt their femininity as exotic dancers, and female body builders who develop their muscles to the point of masculinity. Examine brain scans that show that men and women even think differently about the same problems. Different But Equal explores whether the amazing differences between men and women are based on biology or history.

About the presenter:
Desmond Morris was born in 1928, and is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist. He first came to public attention in the 1950s as a presenter of the ITV television programme Zoo Time, and his studies focus on animal and human behaviour, explained from a zoological point of view. He has written a number of books and produced a number of television shows, and his examination of humans from a bluntly zoological point of view has attracted controversy. His book "The Naked Ape" was one of the wonders of the 1960s, describing humans in the kind of language we were accustomed to use about the rest of the animal kingdom and explaining how we evolved to be the way we are. In 1994 he did a TV series called "The Human Animal" on the same theme.

About the series:
Although Desmond Morris allows that the way we look and act can be traced to a combination of genetics, biology and societal influences, he is especially on the alert for evolutionary factors. It is no accident, he argues, with examples from many cultures, that boys like to play football and girls like to play with dolls. Beneath roles that seem to be imposed by their cultures, he finds primitive needs.

For men, the basic need that the body remembers and transmits is hunting, and for women, rearing and food gathering. A lingering look at a topless beach makes the point in an agreeable way. Those fatty deposits so useful for childbearing and nursing also, happily, turn out to be stimulants to heterosexual romance. When women go in for heavy muscle building, the results displayed here are likely to seem grotesque to many viewers, perhaps a signal that this isn't what comes naturally. He introduces us to the differences in the body and the brain, sex-specific rituals, sex and parenting roles and the status of the sexes in different societies around the globe.

Some of the material here is familiar, some surprising; some is plainly chosen for color, yet is revealing; some of it examines serious matters, some just fools around. If the result sounds like Anthropology Lite, that is not too far off the mark. Whether biologically conditioned or telegenetically adapted, The Human Sexes makes for very easy watching.

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    Added to this shelf by: Melissa Ross, on 02-11-2014 4:16pm

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