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In the context of the great gender debate, Dr. Deborah Soh’s new book, The End of Gender, is a positivist exposé with a clear and unwavering agenda: to defend biology and to refute gender fluidity. In Soh’s world, sex, gender, and sexual orientation are pre-determined by the two gametes: sperm and egg. If, like me, you view gender through a social constructionist lens, akin to theorists such as de Beauvoir, Foucault, and Butler, Soh’s binary mindset may read initially (and perhaps finally) as limited, and even regressive. If you are gender non-conforming or a member of the transgender community (which I am not, but do consider myself a strong ally), this book may be entirely unrelatable and possibly unbearable. From a meta perspective however, I’ve found benefit in interacting with Soh’s point of view about what science is revealing and how intense and polarizing the debate about sex and gender has become. Soh (PhD in sexual neuroscience from York University, Toronto, Canada) is on a mission to infuse scientific evidence back into the conversation, which she fears has been suppressed by culture and identity politics.
The End of Gender provides a detailed dissection of the controversies fueling this conversation, including pressing issues around transgender rights and embodiment. If you allow it, the book will likely push you to question how this polarization is hindering both our individual and collective ability to co-create a world where all bodies and identities are not only understood but welcomed…

Heatherjean MacNeil
Heatherjean MacNeil is a PhD Candidate at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Her research broadly examines entrepreneurial and organizational inclusion through the engagement of feminist research methods. She has launched multiple companies, and her work is informed by her personal experiences as a female founder and social entrepreneur.
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