torachan: arale from dr slump dressed in a penguin suit and smiling (arale penguin)
Title: Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference
Author: Cordelia Fine
Number of Pages: 338 pages
Book Number/Goal: 30/40 for 2010
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: 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.

Review: This book does a really good job at shooting down all the evolutionary psychology crap that is so popular, as well as showing how ev-psych is basically a backlash against feminism. She also debunks the whole "but we tried to raise our kids in a gender-neutral environment and my daughter still likes Disney princesses so it must be in her genes!" thing by showing how near-inescapable gender socialisation is and how early it begins. It's a really easy to read book, which is always a plus for me, as I tend to get bogged down by a lot of non-fiction.

My main complaint is that this is really a book about white heterosexual people. There were many times when I was reading and I thought "your argument is good, but it could be so much better if you mentioned this or that". For example, when she talks about ev-psych guys who write books about how men are just hardwired to not be able to cook a meal or take care of a baby or remember the milk at the grocery store, so it's only right that their wives should do those things instead (their ladybrains are so much better suited to it!), she rarely brought up the fact that non-heterosexual (or even non-heteronormative) couples exist or that other cultures do X differently. Like, even if there hasn't been a study on children raised by gay couples (which surely there has; there's been studies on everything!), she could at least bring up the fact that gay couples with children exist and seem to be able to take care of babies just fine (also there are single fathers). It felt like she was really missing an opportunity to make her points even better.

Still, I really enjoyed this overall and highly recommend it.


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