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The Mismeasure of Woman Paperback – February 26, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0671797492 ISBN-10: 0671797492 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (February 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671797492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671797492
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Men are normal, women are deficient" is the tacit message our culture instills, asserts California social psychologist Taviris. In a valuable, enlightening roadmap to sanity for women and men, she argues that there is far more substantial evidence for similarity between the sexes than for differences. She refutes ecofeminists and other theorizers who claim that women are more empathic and peace-loving than men. She disputes feminist historians who argue on shaky grounds for worldwide prehistoric matriarchies centered on Mother Goddess worship; she debunks feminist psychoanalysts who, she says, reinforce Freud's notion that men and women are inevitably worlds apart psychologically. Rejecting the notion that women are less sexual, Tavris deflates the stereotype of the "coy female" propagated in sociobiology and pop psychology texts. Her lively study explores how society "pathologizes" women though psychiatric diagnoses, sexist divorce rulings and images of females as "moody," "self-defeating" or "unstable." She also presents evidence that women's expectations about premenstrual syndrome, a stigmatizing label for a natural set of bodily changes, may actually influence their symptoms. First serial to Redbook, Mademoiselle, Woman's Day and Self; BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Tavris, a social psychologist best known for Anger ( LJ 1/1/83) presents a considered and comprehensive analysis of how women are measured against men in society. She examines why women are not inferior, superior, or the same as men. Comparisons have led to labeling men as "normal" and women who do not perform physically, sexually, mentally, or emotionally like them as "abnormal." Tavris argues that the costs of these measurements have been, and continue to be, substantial for women. She also presents careful and convincing critiques of Carol Gilligan, author of In a Different Voice (Harvard Univ. Pr., 1982) and other works on the psychology of women such as codependency, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . Tavris articulates and synthesizes convoluted philosophical arguments easily. The result is an accessible, thorough, and enjoyable feminist overview of women in society. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/91.
- Melody Burton, York Univ. Libs., Toronto
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Carol Tavris is a social psychologist, writer, and lecturer whose goal is to promote psychological science and critical thinking in improving our lives. She is coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by ME): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts." Her other major books include the landmark "Anger: The misunderstood emotion," a book well known for its critical look at unvalidated notions about the inevitability of anger and the need to "ventilate" it, and how anger can best be expressed constructively. She is also author of the award-winning "The Mismeasure of Woman: Why women are not the better sex, the inferior sex, or the opposite sex," and coauthor of two widely used textbooks, with Carole Wade, for introductory psychology. She has written hundreds of essays and book reviews on topics in psychological science, and is a highly regarded lecturer who has spoken to groups around the world, from New Zealand to Finland. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Charter Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a member of the editorial board of the APS journal "Psychological Science in the Public Interest."

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sound and well researched.
kolleen bowers
The way she gets her point accross with sarcasim, statistics, and personal examples makes this book reach out to so many different groups of people.
erica monson
You will wish you would've read it sooner.
Martha M. Bleeker (bleekerm@esuvm.emporia.edu)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kate McMurry TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Carol Tavris, Ph.D., is a social psychologist who lectures and writes on many aspects of psychology. Her brilliant book, Anger: the Misunderstood Emotion, is a classic, and this book promises to become one, too.
In Mismeasure of Woman, Dr. Tavris carefully exposes the origins and structure of the prevailing habit of virtually all societies, even our so-called "enlightened" one, of describing men--particularly socially powerful men--as the "norm" and derogatorily measuring women in comparison to them. Dr. Tavris's direct, concise, highly readable prose is filled with documented examples showing that the differences between men and women are not primarily biological. Instead, they are created by socially mandated discrepancies in power, resource allocation and life experience.
Though many feminists have written about the relegating of women to penis-envying, second-class men, I consider Dr. Tavris one of the most clear and persuasive of those speaking out against this "mismeasure of woman." In this book, I believe she does a better job of describing the extent of the problem, and is very inspiring in brainstorming possible solutions.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ollie Nanyes on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be well reasoned, well written and thought provoking. I am not saying that I agree with everything (I completely disagree with her assertion that same-sex schools are ok for women but not for men) but in most cases I found her insight to be refreshing.
An example of such insight: it is often claimed that women students have poor self esteem due to the fact that males score higher on "self-esteem" inventories. She points out that this could well be due to the fact that women mature quicker and therefore have a more realistic picture of themselves; that is, this is a case in which it is wholly inappropriate to compare women to the *men's* standard.
In short, she has helped me understand that "equal treatment" is not always the same as "fair treatment".
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in seeing a feminist point of view that is NOT inherently anti-male.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ada Kerman on October 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
An analysis of the way science views women, this book has three main points: Women are not inferior to men, women are not superior to men, and women are not the same as men.
I read this book in college and almost immediately used a small portion of it in my final project for Human Sexuality. From my own research, I learned that the author's analysis of my topic (the G-Spot) agreed with the primary sources. I do not doubt that the rest of the book is just as accurate.
The reviewer who said that the author does not address the issue of abuse properly doesn't understand what the book is really about. It certainly is not about abuse, incest, or the like, nor what to do when you are recovering from it. It is about SCIENCE, and examples of biased interpretations of the same.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Martha M. Bleeker (bleekerm@esuvm.emporia.edu) on December 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a college student majoring in psychology and ethnic/gender studies, I have read numerous books about psychology and gender. Tavris has written one of the best. She looks at each side of every argument she brings up, and is not afraid to make new arguments that go against status quo beliefs. Every reader will learn something new about discrimination against women in areas such as medicine, education, and science while reading this book. Open your mind and open Tavris's book. You will wish you would've read it sooner.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bonam Pak on June 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read the original 1992 hardcover edition. If you happen to hold the same in your hands, here's the warning that the dustjacket tends to disintegrate at the edges, not matter how careful you will hold the book.

While some feminists celebrate supposed sex differences, Carol Tavris is a minimalist on most such issues. She dismantles popular and mainstream scientific beliefs concerning imagined differences of intellectual ability, brain function, competence, morality, empathy, hostility, greed, the need for intimacy and attachment, love, grief, and the capacity for sexual pleasure.

I would be amazed, though, if she would still write about the very last issue in this list in the very the same manner, as today the opposite of her statements have become irrefutable. However, leading to the same conclusion of "same difference". She avers that there would be no such thing as the G-spot and its different kind of orgasm. At the time she was writing this, the quest for that magical spot somewhere "down there" was usually described in such a mysterious and vague manner that I don't blame her for that theory. In the meanwhile women have written very clear do-it-yourself instructions for every woman and offered very clear workshops for further help. If all of that should be imagined, I guess, I'd preferred the illusion of that very pleasurable orgasm over someone's "fact", that it doesn't exist any time. Read for example: Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot: Not Your Mother's Orgasm Book! (Positively Sexual). What really flabbergasts me is her statement that there's no connection between the pc muscles and orgasm (not politically correct muscles, but "pubococcygeus").
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