Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Differenceby Cordelia Fine
Pub. Date: 08/08/2011
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
It’s the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex childrenboys who play with dolls and girls who like truckswe failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked,
“[Fine’s] sharp tongue is tempered with humor. . . . Read this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.”The New York Times
It’s the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex childrenboys who play with dolls and girls who like truckswe 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 differenta belief that, as Fine shows with insight and humor, all too often works to the detriment of ourselves and our society.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Table of Contents
Part I "Half-Changed World," Half-Changed Minds
1 We Think, Therefore You Are 3
Why You Should Cover Your Head with a Paper Bag if You Have a Secret You Don't Want Your Wife to Find Out 14
3 "Backwards and in High Heels" 27
4 I Don't Belong Here 40
5 The Glass Workplace 54
6 XX-clusion and xxx-clusion 67
7 Gender Equality Begins (or Ends) at Home 78
8 Gender Equality 2.0? 90
Part 2 Neurosexism
9 The "Fetal Fork" 99
10 In "the Darkness of the Womb" (and the First Few Hours in the Light) 107
11 The Brain of a Boy in the Body of a Girl ... or a Monkey? 118
12 Sex and Premature Speculation 131
13 What Does It All Mean, Anyway? 141
14 Brain Scams 155
15 The "Seductive Allure" of Neuroscience 168
16 Unraveling Hardwiring 176
Part 3 Recycling Gender
17 Preconceptions and Postconceptions 189
18 Parenting with a Half-Changed Mind 197
19 "Gender Detectives" 207
20 Gender Education 214
21 The Self-Socializing Child 226
Epilogue: And S-t-r-e-t-c-h! 233
Author's Note 243
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Delusions of Gender had been on my to-read list for a very long time, so I was more than happy to pick up a copy from my library. I really like how Cordelia writes in a way that is simple and easy to understand for the reader who might not be a neuroscientist. She writes with so much intelligence and isn't afraid to add humor in her discussion. I also like how she sprinkles a bit of sarcasm here and there. I find it extremely amazing that she was able to read The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, which I attempted to read before but found to be extremely sexist and guilty of false claims. Of course, knowledge is power, but like the saying goes, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. There are some parts in this book that made me pretty mad. Reading about women's experiences at work with sexual harassment and discrimination in the science and math fields is so infuriating and it's something I will never get used to. The fact that they are supposed to shut up about it or else they are seen as overly sensitive is just pure BS. The only thing that I'm disappointed about is the fact that she doesn't really talk about transgender women and transgender men. Sexism is definitely detrimental to the transgender community because it reinforced traditional gender roles, a topic that she spoke about extensively throughout the book. There is a mention of a transgender woman in the book, but it's a brief reference. I would have loved to see her discussion about how gender variant and transgender youth are affected by their environment and the media. But perhaps I will find that in another book. I really like how she tackles neurosexism and the gender binary by using hard science and a realistic, critical eye on information that is seen as golden and valid.