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

Cordelia Fine
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a methodical and devastatingly effective manner, Fine eviscerates the recent trend in attributing society’s gender-based differences to biology. The sheer girth of her analysis is staggering as she addresses everything from scientific studies going back more than a century to the latest assertions of “Mars and Venus” author John Gray. Fine pivots from studies on gender-based clothing and toys to a discussion of education, and reviews recent Caldecott Award-winning children’s books, noting that one gender is consistently described as “beautiful, frightened, worthy, sweet, weak and scared.” (Guess which one.) Fine also explains how experiments are manipulated to provide desirable results and how results are presented without necessary caveats (such as the fact that men were not part of the study). This is social science at its hard-working best as Fine uses solid references to refute the notion that biology trumps pervasive stereotyping, and offers a sterling rebuttal to agenda research and the lure of pseudo-science. --Colleen Mondor

Review

“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 - USA Today)

“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 - Jezebel.com)

“[Fine] effectively blows the lid off of old tropes… Weaving together anecdotes, dense research and quotes from numerous experts, she offers a well-balanced testament to the many ways in which cultural rules inform behaviors often mistaken as organic to our brains, as opposed to learned… [An] informative and often surprising study.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Starred Review. With a fabulous combination of wit, passion, and scholarship, Fine demolishes many of the common theories offered to explain the construction of gender in contemporary society…. She shows that the fact that we spend our lives in environments that promote gender differentiation makes those differences nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecies. This marvelous and important book will change the way readers view the gendered world.” (Publishers Weekly)

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 - The New York Times)

“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.” (Uta Frith FBA, FMedSci, FRS; Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London)

“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.’” (William Ickes, author of Everyday Mind Reading: Understanding What Other People Think and Feel)

About 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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