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Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women Hardcover – April, 1991

4.1 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

If men and women are equal, why have males been the dominant sex virtually throughout history? Here, geneticist Moir and BBC- TV writer-producer Jessel argue convincingly that the answer lies in the difference between the male and female brain. Writing with clarity and style, and documenting their data every step of the way, Moir and Jessel explain how the embryonic brain is shaped as either male or female at about six weeks, when the male fetus begins producing hormones that organize its brain's neural networks into a male pattern; in their absence, the brain will be female. Not surprisingly, there are endless variations in degree of maleness, and mishaps can lead to a male brain in a female body and vice versa. Moir and Jessel include a brain sex test that lets the reader discover just how masculine or feminine his (or her) brain is. For the nonscientist, they translate considerable research into the structural and organizational differences between male and female brains, demonstrating how these differences make men more aggressive and competitive and better at skills that require spatial ability and mathematical reasoning, and women more sensitive to nuances of expression and gesture, more adept at judging character. Women, it seems, are more people-oriented than men, who are more interested in things. Moir and Jessel assert that it is necessary to ``accept who we are before arguing about what we should be,'' and that denying gender differences means ignoring their value. A literate, entertaining, and, for some, surely wrath- provoking presentation of scientific data about the differences between the sexes. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Moir runs a television production company. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Lyle Stuart; 1st Carol Pub. Group ed edition (April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0818405430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818405433
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,387,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in truth. However, it does not necessarily contain a pleasant truth (neither to men nor women). The amount of fear stemming from this book is not to be unexpected. It does, after all, deal with one of the most controversial subjects you can find. Just reading over the reviews here after reading the book for yourself will reveal the amount of paranoia associated with the knowledge contained.

Many people are trying to break down the validity of this book by claiming it to be a pseudo-scientific product of sexism. I quote from one reader:

"There was once, in Germany, an incredible number of evidences suporting how physiologies of the pure race and "others" were different. In the USA, science, "inspired" by that time period and that time's politics, attempted to show how blacks (and immigrants and all others who were not a member of upper-middle class heterosexual male group) were inferior."

First of all, these so-called scientific attempts at justifying the superiority of one race over another were conducted during a time of hatred and oppression with support from the general population. In Germany, scientists were even commissioned by the government to create these falsehoods. To compare this book (which was reluctantly written by a geneticist living in times of a feminist uproar with the goal of shedding some research in a dark area) with that kind of racist-inspired nonsense, is ludicrous. This is the type of fear you find from readers who cannot accept this book's overall message: that men and women actually think and behave differently.
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Format: Paperback
It may not be politically 'correct', but this book shows us men and women really are different. Physically this is obvious for all to see. Psychologically it has also been obvious for all to see for the last few million years.
However in the last 30 years we have had a justified push for equality of all humans regardless of sex, sexual preference, race, belief, etc. In the process modern society has clouded the innate differences between males and females. And some put shutters over their eyes to make the facts fit their preconceived view of the world.
Brain Sex shows how we are all equal but we are also different. It shows how we can begin to try to understand each other and to complement each other. That is real equality.
A fantastic book, but it must be read with an open mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting, well written, provocative book which can be read easily in a couple of sittings. For the most part, it is based on what appears to be rigorous, although not uncontentious, scientific research. The 20 years that have elapsed since the publication of the book have, if anything, tended to confirm its main arguments about the importance of pre-natal exposure to sex hormones in 'brain sex' (or to be more precise 'brain gender') differentiation. The main weakness of the book is that it relies heavily (by its own admission) on statistical averages but then uses these to erect an elaborate ideological super-structure to justify traditional gender roles. From a theoretical standpoint, this is an illicit move. You can, for example, demonstrate that men are on average more aggressive and competitive than women, and conclude from this that the feminist effort to shoehorn women into 'male' roles in the workplace is doomed to failure. But you can't use this finding to argue that women should be financially dependent on men, or that there aren't millions of feminine men or masculine women. To be fair, the authors do acknowledge the limitations of their findings, and that the averages don't apply to everyone. The problem is that, once you do this, all generalisation starts to seem suspect. But the book does, in fact, contain lots of generalisations. For example, the authors state that males are inherently unsuited to marriage or monogamy. The implication seems to be that women should be more forgiving of infidelity. But many men are, in fact, monogamous, proving that we can and do make moral choices in areas affected by gender identity.

'Brain Sex' is certainly a thought provoking corrective to gender theorists (including most feminists) who emphasise gender as a social construct.
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Format: Paperback
I worked as a manager/leader in a traditionally male industry, engineering. Over the years women began to enter our workforce and struggled significantly. As more women entered I noticed that women approached the solution of technical problems different from men but similar to each other. Women had certain innate abilities, such as verbal, and communiation skills, that were superior to the men while men had superior analytical skills. Learning to use these strengths allowed us to become more efficient and produce better products. It is critically important to be able to understand people we work with or deal with on a daily basis. It is incredible how little we know about the drives and ambitions of the opposite sex. This book does an excellent job in explaining how the brain is physically different in males and females and how those differences affect how we think and act. The book is based on scientific data but does not engage the reader in the tedium of standard scientific analysis. Instead it uses simple easy-to-understand anecdotes to emphasize its points. In addition, it uses a provocative presentation style that rivets the reader to the text. This book may not be for the more scientifically inclined but it is an excellent primer and provides the necessary tools to help us understand what is an integral part of our everyday lives. It is what all of us should know.
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