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Taking Sex Differences Seriously Paperback – May 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Professor Rhoads’ case for ‘la difference’ is comprehensive and persuasive." -- Danielle Crittenden, author of What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman.

"Rhoads provides a responsible, clear, exhaustive, and convincing description of human sex differences...." -- Lionel Tiger, Rutgers University

"Scintillating and utterly persuasive…Rhoads marshals massive amounts of evidence showing why they are wrong." -- Christina Hoff Sommers, American Enterprise Institute

"This book demonstrates in a host of ways how awareness of these differences will have important implications for social policy." -- Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man and Our Posthuman Future

About the Author

Steven E Rhoads

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159403091X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594030918
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Bill Muehlenberg VINE VOICE on June 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It might seem odd to have to pen a book like this, but we live in odd times. Throughout history people have known that men and women are different. But recently we have been told that men and women are not different after all. Perceived differences are due to society, not biology, and sex and gender differences are both interchangeable and malleable.
In this view, gender is a social construction. Moreover, one can change one's gender like one changes one's clothes. Male today, female tomorrow, bisexual one day, homosexual the next. This is the brave new world of the gender benders.
The thesis Rhoads offers is simple: men and women are different, and these differences are basic, profound and rooted in our very nature. With a wealth of documentation and research, Rhoads sets the record straight, informing us of the clear scientific and biological case for male-female differences.
Hormones and other chemical/biological determinants cannot be dismissed when assessing gender. Their very presence means that nature has hotwired the human species into two clearly different sexes, and these differences cannot be wished away by social engineers.
And these changes can be found from our earliest moments, refuting the notion that social or environmental factors are the sole explanations for such differences. For example, day-old infants will cry when they hear a recording of another infant crying, but girls will cry longer than boys.
Women tend to be more communitarian, more nurturing and less aggressive than men. Researchers have found that there are universal constants running throughout every known human society, including division of labour by sex, women being the primary child carers, and the dominance of men in the public sphere.
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52 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on January 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
We should all applaud the generation of feminist rhetoric and bombast we've endured. The repeated charge that "patriarchal" society has kept women in a subdued role has led to a wealth of studies investigating that assertion's validity. The result has been the generation of a string of books granting us enlightenment. We are beginning to find out just who we are as a species. Rhoads' fine book is an assemblage of many of these studies, organised and presented with clarity and verve. The message is: men and women aren't "the same" and that the differences go deeper than mere plumbing. We need to understand what distinguishes men and women. We then need to apply that knowledge realistically.

The difference in brain functions between men and women have long been known. Rhoads shows that those distinctions are expressed in behaviour patterns. Men don't act the same as women, nor should they be expected to. The approach to sex and relationships, no matter how much women have tried to feminise men, are by very diverse routes. The male genetically-urged drive to spread their genes is fundamental. To deny or disparage this, as many feminist writers have done, is self-defeating. It has led to grave misunderstandings and worse judgements. Rhoads wants this outlook rectified - which can be accomplished by "taking sex differences seriously" through a more scientific approach. Ironically, the thrust of this research has been done by women wishing to confirm the feminist rhetoric, which they found refuted by empirical data.

Rhoads outlines the many findings of behavioural differences among men and women across many cultures. Although little in human behaviour is firmly "hard-wired" into our genetic definition, there clearly are patterns manifested from our evolutionary past.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Luckily, on the occasions when we find ourselves under fire for our own personal choices or the choices of our ancestors, which is what political correctness demands from anyone born male, blasphemers like myself can find sanctuary in Steven E. Rhoads's delightful new book, Taking Sex Differences Seriously. Upon finishing Rhoads's work, many readers will discover that they have renewed respect for the nature of women, and, perhaps, unexpected esteem for the nature of men.

I should warn that Taking Sex Differences Seriously is not a chatty, self-help book. It is a highly erudite work in which the author examines study after study and author after author, yet, at the same time, it is very accessible (just as was the case with Why Men Don't Iron). It was written with the average person in mind even though it voluminously surveys contemporary scholarship. There is less focus here on statistics and experimental procedure than there is in works like The New Science of Intimate Relationships, The Mating Mind, or The Red Queen.

The study of sex difference can be quite precarious for the academic, and it is with some relief that I noted that Rhoads already has put in thirty years of service at the University of Virginia. For those without tenure, such a book could spell unemployment. The author cites the opinions of heavyweights like Gloria Steinem and Gloria Allred on the topic of sex research. They believe that making inquiries into the discrepancies between men and women is downright dangerous to all women and anti-American in spirit [!]. Yet, one could make a strong case that unearthing what others purposefully ignore is intrinsic to what it means to be an American.
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