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Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Differenceby Cordelia Fine
"In 1972, when I was ten, my mother co-authored a study on sex-stereotyping in children's readers entitled 'Dick and Jane as Victims.' The study's authors, who called themselves Women on Words and Images (WOWI), examined 134 elementary school readers from 14 different publishers all then in use in three suburban New Jersey public school systems, mine included." Jenny McPhee, Bookslut (Read the entire Bookslut review)
Synopses & Reviews
It’s the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex children—boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks—we failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it. And everywhere we hear about vitally important “hardwired” differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience that we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math; men too focused for housework.
Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men’s and women’s brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men’s brains aren’t wired for empathy and women’s brains aren’t made to fix cars. She then goes one step further, offering a very different explanation of the dissimilarities between men’s and women’s behavior. Instead of a “male brain” and a “female brain,” Fine gives us a glimpse of plastic, mutable minds that are continuously influenced by cultural assumptions about gender.
Passionately argued and unfailingly astute, Delusions of Gender provides us with a much-needed corrective to the belief that men’s and women’s brains are intrinsically different—a belief that, as Fine shows with insight and humor, all too often works to the detriment of ourselves and our society.
Book News Annotation:
Neuroscience used to support the hard-wiring of sex differences in the brain is not much different than earlier eras' beliefs in innate differences to justify the gender status quo, argues Fine (Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics/philosophy, Maquarie U., Sydney, Australia). From a review and cogent critiques of research studies, she concludes that gender inequality is based more on the mind (i.e., cultural beliefs) rather than on actual differences in male and female brains. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Fine presents a vehement dismantling of the latest pseudoscientific claims about the differences between the sexes.
A vehement dismantling of the latest pseudo-scientific claims about the differences between the sexes.
A brilliantly researched and wickedly funny rebuttal of the pseudo-scientific claim that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.
"Cordelia Fine has a first-rate intellect and writing talent to burn. In her new book, Delusions of Gender, she takes aim at the idea that male brains and female brains are 'wired differently,' leading men and women to act in a manner consistent with decades-old gender stereotypes. Armed with penetrating insights, a rapier wit, and a slew of carefully researched facts, Fine lowers her visor, lifts her lance, and attacks this idea full-force. Whether her adversaries can rally their forces and mount a successful counter-attack remains to be seen. What's certain at this point, however, is that in Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine has struck a terrific first blow against what she calls 'neurosexism.'"
As the variety and number of nontraditional families grow, so does the need for new models of family and parenthood. Diversity in Family Life discusses the relationship between shifting gender identities and the processes of family formation, examining non-traditional family structures, including asexual couples, child-free couples, living-apart-together couples, single parents, and homosexual and transsexual parents. Calling for bold reformulations, it argues that it is possible to live, love, and form a family in an astounding variety of ways.
About the Author
Cordelia Fine, the author of A Mind of Its Ownand Delusions of Gender, is a writer and Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
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