Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

4.1 11
by Cordelia Fine
     
 

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“[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 children—boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks—we failed. Even though the glass ceiling

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Overview

“[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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Katherine Bouton
…Cordelia Fine…is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness, as the title itself suggests. Academics like Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr. Louann Brizendine will want to come to this volume well armed. So would Norman Geschwind if he were still alive. Popular authors like John Gray (Men are from Mars), Michael Gurian (What Could He Be Thinking?) and Dr. Leonard Sax (Why Gender Matters) may want to read something else.
—The New York Times
Wray Herbert
…irreverent and important…Fine offers no original research on the brain or gender; instead, her mission is to demolish the sloppy science being used today to justify gender stereotypes—which she labels "neurosexism." She is no less merciless in attacking "brain scams," her derisive term for the many popular versions of the idea that sex hormones shape the brain, which then shapes behavior and intellectual ability, from mathematics to nurturance.
—The Washington Post
Boston Globe
“Forceful, funny. . . . These are the right questions to be asking.”
Dan Vergano - USA Today
“Fine turns the popular science book formula on its head. Chapter-by-chapter, she introduces ideas about innate differences between the sexes… and then tartly smacks around studies supposedly supporting them.”
Anna North - Jezebel.com
“Cordelia Fine’s thorough (and funny!) Delusions of Gender punches a giant hole in the idea that women's brains are somehow ‘hardwired’ for nurturing and domesticity.”
Katherine Bouton - The New York Times
“Delusions of Gender takes on that tricky question, Why exactly are men from Mars and women from Venus?, and eviscerates both the neuroscientists who claim to have found the answers and the popularizers who take their findings and run with them… [Fine] is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness… [R]ead this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.”
USA Today
“Fine turns the popular science book formula on its head. Chapter-by-chapter, she introduces ideas about innate differences between the sexes… and then tartly smacks around studies supposedly supporting them.”— Dan Vergano
Jezebel.com
“Cordelia Fine’s thorough (and funny!) Delusions of Gender punches a giant hole in the idea that women's brains are somehow ‘hardwired’ for nurturing and domesticity.”— Anna North
The New York Times
Delusions of Gender takes on that tricky question, Why exactly are men from Mars and women from Venus?, and eviscerates both the neuroscientists who claim to have found the answers and the popularizers who take their findings and run with them… [Fine] is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness… [R]ead this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.— Katherine Bouton
Uta Frith FBA
“In Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine does a magnificent job debunking the so-called science, and especially the brain science, of gender. If you thought there were some inescapable facts about women’s minds—some hard wiring that explains poor science and maths performance, or the ability to remember to buy the milk and arrange the holidays—you can put these on the rubbish heap. Instead, Fine shows that there are almost no areas of performance that are not touched by cultural stereotypes. This scholarly book will make you itch to press the delete button on so much nonsense, while being pure fun to read.”
William Ickes
“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.’”
USA Today - Dan Vergano
“Fine turns the popular science book formula on its head. Chapter-by-chapter, she introduces ideas about innate differences between the sexes… and then tartly smacks around studies supposedly supporting them.”
Jezebel.com - Anna North
“Cordelia Fine’s thorough (and funny!) Delusions of Gender punches a giant hole in the idea that women's brains are somehow ‘hardwired’ for nurturing and domesticity.”
The New York Times - Katherine Bouton
“Delusions of Gender takes on that tricky question, Why exactly are men from Mars and women from Venus?, and eviscerates both the neuroscientists who claim to have found the answers and the popularizers who take their findings and run with them… [Fine] is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness… [R]ead this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.”
FBA - Uta Frith
“In Delusions of Gender Cordelia Fine does a magnificent job debunking the so-called science, and especially the brain science, of gender. If you thought there were some inescapable facts about women’s minds—some hard wiring that explains poor science and maths performance, or the ability to remember to buy the milk and arrange the holidays—you can put these on the rubbish heap. Instead, Fine shows that there are almost no areas of performance that are not touched by cultural stereotypes. This scholarly book will make you itch to press the delete button on so much nonsense, while being pure fun to read.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393079258
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/08/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
280,803
File size:
474 KB

Meet the Author

Cordelia Fine, the author of A Mind of Its Own and Delusions of Gender, is a research associate at the Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics at Macquarie University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Psychology. She lives in Victoria, Australia.

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Delusions of Gender 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
dayzd89 More than 1 year ago
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.
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