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Delusions of Gender: The Real Science behind Sex Differences (2010)

by Cordelia

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Member:Cath.Blaauwendraad
Title:Delusions of Gender: The Real Science behind Sex Differences
Authors:Cordelia
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Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine (2010)

  1. 00
    The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both about science being used to shore up the status quo, and unexamined bias tilting what should be objective query into the brain
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Just as the title makes it sound, this book debunks many of the popular theories on the differences between men and women, girls and boys and their respective brains. The main message is that gender is social, not biological. In the end, there is an admittance that it may one day prove to be biological, but no compelling evidence currently exists that cannot be debunked and was not influenced by the researchers in some way instead. Culture drives gender roles and gender stereotypes so well that there is virtually no way to really know how soon such things start. There are some unique examples of families that have found ways around stereotypes of gender, but they are very few.

This book is definitely recommended for anyone who writes about or is interested in gender roles and stereotypes as well as pretty much all parents. It is important to understand the genderscape as a parent because it is parents who will shape the next generation’s views on gender. It is highly informative of where these concepts come from in our children and how they are policed.

My favorite point in the book is that children learn so much more from the way that people act than from what they say. It relays the message (in my opinion) that if you want your children to disregard traditional gender roles, you will have to do this in your home first. It also doesn’t seem to be about each gender specifically going against stereotype as much as each person in the home sharing each of the house chores evenly. If the child sees that the person who takes out the trash is whoever saw that it was full, they are less likely to associate it with a gender role. Likewise with doing the dishes. This is where it can start and it doesn’t have to stick with gender roles, this holds true for all the places where life intersects with differences. ( )
  Calavari | Apr 5, 2018 |
I probably would have finished this book, but I had to return it to the library 2/3 of the way through. What I liked best was that the author used humor when discussing what otherwise might have been very dry material. However, I doubt this material will be earth-shattering for anyone who's had a few women's studies classes in college.

On p. 91 she summed up the problems I have with some of the "complimentarian" views, especially those expressed in conservative religion:

"When a child clings on to a highly desirable toy and claims that his companion 'doesn't want to play with it,' I have found that it is wise to be suspicious."

It seems a little too convenient that the most powerful and prestigious positions in society just happen to be the kind of jobs that men are "made" to do.
1 vote JodiLEK | Mar 31, 2018 |
Cordelia Fine is a scientist, feminist, and a mom. Her book debunks studies that purport to be solid science, but ultimately just support gender stereotypes. She discusses how gender neutral parenting is nearly impossible in today’s society. And how this, along with neuroplasticity, mean that brains cannot possibly be hard-wired by gender. (Neuroplasticity = brain’s ability to change.)

Many more details in my review at TheBibliophage. ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
5 for importance.
Fine began this project to explain the ways 'brain science' is abused and misconstrued in popularisations, of the Men are from _insert planet_, Women are from _other planet_ genre (don't expect me to record such titles accurately). But she found she had to extend her critique into actual scientific use of the data too, and likewise take apart reputable papers and the bases of experiments.

Brain science has let old-fashioned sexist ideas in again by the back door, disguised in a scientific aura. So we see the pinkification of girls continues apace. Fine explains how the science can and can't be used at this stage; secondly, she looks at how that science infiltrates society and has its effects. Not only, of course, through popular science paperbacks on gender. Some ways you wouldn't think of until an examination like this. ( )
  Jakujin | Mar 7, 2018 |
Don't let anyone tell you that men and women must necessarily be different. ( )
  picklefactory | Jan 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Can we stop talking about brains now? Those who can’t, and anyone else who would like to know what today’s best science reveals about gender differences – and similarities – could not do better than read this book.
 
As Fine argues in this forceful, funny new book, the notion that gender accounts for differences in minds and behavior through some biological, brain-based process is an idea as popular as it is unproven.
added by zhejw | editBoston Globe, Kate Tuttle (Sep 5, 2010)
 
“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.

The author, Cordelia Fine, who has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from University College London, 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.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Katerine Bouton (Aug 23, 2010)
 
Fine's book is a remarkably researched and dense work that, even while tackling highly complex subject manner, retains a light, breezy touch.
 
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Of all difficulties which impede the progress of thought, and the formation of well-grounded opinions on life and social arrangements, the greatest is now the unspeakable ignorance and inattention of mankind in respect to the influences which form human character. Whatever any portion of the human species now are, or seem to be, such, it is supposed, they have a natural tendency to be: even when the most elementary knowledge of the circumstances in which they have been placed, clearly points out the causes that made them what they are.
—John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (1869)
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For my mother
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393068382, Hardcover)

A brilliantly researched and wickedly funny rebuttal of the pseudo-scientific claim that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393068382, 0393340244

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