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Aristotle said that "all of the male organs are similar in the female except that she has a womb, which presumably, the male does not." Laqueur believes that men and women were seen as comparable variations of one type of sex; that there were many genders at this time, but there was only one sex.
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In the two-sex model though, these experts wanted to create a link between biological sex and theoretical gender and anything transgressing these boundaries was seen as being abnormal.
Although it was thought in the one-sex model that feminine men may lactate and that "almost all the men have a great quantity of milk in their breasts", the notion of interconvertibility of fluids among men and women was thrown out the window in the two-sex model.
The one-sex and two-sex theories are two models of human anatomy or fetal development discussed in Thomas Laqueur's book Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud.
He theorizes that a fundamental change in attitudes toward human sexual anatomy occurred in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
According to Laqueur, prior to the eighteenth century it was acknowledged that there were physical differences between the sex organs of men and women, but these differences were never made to be of significance; "no one was much interested in looking for evidence of two distinct sexes, at the anatomical and concrete physiological differences between men and women, until such differences became politically important." Until the beginning of the eighteenth century, Laqueur claims, the one-sex model dominated medical and philosophical literature and there was a web of knowledge to support it.
Laqueur uses examples from ancient thinkers to help support his claim to the dominance of the one-sex model prior to the eighteenth century.
The vagina was often depicted as long, phallic and almost indistinguishable from a penis.
Representation of the anatomical difference between men and women were independent of the actual structures of these organs and "ideology, not accuracy of observation, determined how they were seen and which differences would matter." Often, the only way to distinguish a female set of organs from a male set of organs would be if the illustrator were to cut away the front of what appears to be a womb in his drawing to reveal a child inside.
Michel de Montaigne, a writer during the French Renaissance, writes in his Travel Journal, about a group of young girls who dressed up like males and led their lives as males.