Delusions of Gender : The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
A vehement attack on the latest pseudo-scientific claims about the differences between the sexes. Sex discrimination is supposedly a distant memory. Yet popular books, magazines and even scientific articles increasingly defend inequalities by citing immutable biological differences between the male and female brain. That's the reason, we're told, that there are so few women in science and engineering, so few men in the laundry room - different brains are just better suited to different things. Drawing on the latest research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology, Delusions of Gender powerfully rebuts these claims, showing how old myths, dressed up in new scientific finery, are helping perpetuate the sexist status quo. Cordelia Fine, 'a cognitive neuroscientist with a sharp sense of humour and an intelligent sense of reality' (The Times) reveals the mind's remarkable plasticity, shows how profoundly culture influences the way we think about ourselves and, ultimately, exposes just how much of what we consider 'hardwired' is actually malleable. This startling, original and witty book shows the surprising extent to which boys and girls, men and women are made - and not born, empowering us to break free of the supposed predestination of our sex chromosomes.
Shortlisted for John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize 2010.
'Impeccably researched and bitingly funny - both sexes should rejoice at [this] vitriolic attack on - sexism masquerading as psychology.' Evening Standard 'Bold ... Timely and provocative ... [Fine's] well-stocked armoury ... includes extensive research, sharp wit and a probing intelligence, and refuses to be satisfied with the delusional myth-making that often passes for popular science.' Metro 'Fine writes with bravura. She takes no hostages. She rejoices in demystifying the compellingly seductive false colour images provided by the MRI scanners ... a book that sparkles with wit, which is easy to read but underpinned by substantial scholarship and a formidable 100-page bibliography ... every page of Fine's brilliant, spiky book reminds us that science is part of culture and that the struggle against sexism in the neurosciences and the struggle against sexism in society are intimately linked.' Hilary Rose, Times Higher Education Supplement 'Fine invites her readers into a passionate, insightful and often funny discussion about how gender identity is all in the mind, not the brain.' Globe & Mail, Canada '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.' Boston Globe 'An irreverent and important book' Washington Post 'Read this book and see how complex and fascinating the whole issue is.' New York Times 'A timely warning against taking too seriously the deluge of books and articles that would have us believe that men are biologically advantaged when it comes to mathematics, racing driving or map reading - and that women are naturally more intuitive and nurturing, so better at childcare and multitasking.' Guardian 'Dr Fine is a brilliant tour guide - making light, fun and engaging work of the research. By debunking the rubbish, this book opens up possibilities for a (slightly) clearer vision of the future. Not to be missed.' www.fat-quarter.co.uk 'Men may be from Mars and women from Venus but if you put blokes and sheilas on each other's planet they will work out how to manage - An excellent book that puts the old nature-or-nurture debate in the context of the new science on the way our brains work.' The Australian 'For two millennia women have heard how our brains are too small, our wombs too big, our blood too thin or too cold, or how we are too weak/excitable/nervous (supply your own adjective) to do whatever it is we were thinking of doing. Since the 1970s we have been getting even and getting equal, but just when you thought it was OK to do rocket science, along comes neuroscience to tell us it's all in the hardwiring of our brains, and really, women don't have the connections - and I don't mean the ones in the boardroom. Cordelia Fine's brilliant book Delusions of Gender (Icon) debunks the likes of Simon Baron-Cohen, dressed up in one of his brother's outfits as a mad scientist, waving mobiles at newborn babies to see if the boys are more "interested" than the girls.' Jeanette Winterson, Books of the Year, Guardian
Cordelia Fine is a Research Associate at Macquarie University, Australia, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her previous book, A Mind of Its Own (Icon, 2006) was hugely acclaimed and she was called 'a science writer to watch' by Metro.