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Evolutionary Psychology meets Oprah
on November 23, 2008
Is it possible to discuss evolutionary psychology in a completely detached, scientific way, without the accompanying cultural notions, emotion, and judgment? The answer is yes -- but female authors, in my experience, have a particularly hard time doing this. They have this Oprah-esque, prissy tendency to make everything "feel good" and politically correct and sugarcoat the facts, rather than bluntly state them -- no matter how unpalatable.
This female-written book, which reads more like a Cosmo article, falls into the same trap. It does cover the fundamentals of mating behaviors and flirting (although you probably already know them if you're an evolutionary psychology buff), and has some statistics not found elsewhere (such as worldwide male/female preferences for casual sex). But there's a tinge of judgmental eye-rolling and tsk-tsk'ing here whenever the behaviors being described go against the author's view of what is appropriate or culturally acceptable, particularly when she talks about males, whom it turns out she really doesn't understand all that well despite her background in evolutionary psychology.
If you can get past this prissy uneasiness on the author's part to face the facts, it may be worth adding to your collection (I find that every book on the subject covers something that others don't).