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Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance Paperback – January 22, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
A subject this large cannot be adequately covered in a book this short. But, within the constraints of space of a single book, I think that the author makes a reasonable case. There is definitely some truth in this book.
Sadly, many people reject the thesis because it appears to conflict with desirable social goals. I fully endorse the fundamental goal of absolute equality for women in EVERY corner of our society. I am deeply disturbed by the misogyny appearing here and elsewhere on the Internet. The ghastly and disgusting campaigns waged by misogynists against such figures as Kathy Sierra (see http://www.wired.com/2014/10/trolls-will-always-win/) leave me shaking with anger. But the evils committed by misogynists do not justify a denial of truth in any form; Mr. Goldberg's book must be evaluated on its own merits or failings, not because of its political implications. Indeed, if his thesis be correct, I think that our society would be advanced by bringing our attitudes into conformance with the thesis. This does not mean that we should condone one iota of gender bias, one brusque dismissal of a woman's ideas, or one sexist slur. The world is a complicated place, and we do not achieve social justice by denying truth.
I would say Marie Curie was comparable to Edison, not Einstein, which means under Goldberg's terms she was not a genius. Goldberg supports his argument that there are only male geniuses when it comes to high-level abstraction with the fact that there are female geniuses in other areas - "If an exceedingly high-level ability to deal with abstractions is a condition for genius in mathematics, philosophy, and chess, but not for genius in literature or the performing arts, we would expect women to attain the level of genius in literature or the performing arts, but not in mathematics, philosophy, and chess. This is precisely the case." I think it's a wee tad tricky to compare literature - scientific accomplishments are much more easily defined - but if you accept Goldberg's argument that there have been female geniuses in literature (as I do), this strengthens Goldberg's argument that women have less natural aptitude when it comes to dealing with high-level abstraction. If all the social constraints on women did not prevent them from producing literature, why are there no female geniuses in mathematics?
Goldberg makes a brilliant case that in every society "males occupy the overwhelming numbers of upper hierarchical positions... [there is an] association of high-status roles - whichever they happen to be in any given society - with males... [and an] association of dominance in male-female encounters and relationships with the male." But when in his last chapter he then concludes that male aggression makes men more childish than women, and when he argues that "Few women have been ruined by men; female endurance survives. Many men, however, have been destroyed by women who did not understand, or did not care to understand, male fragility" I begin to wonder what planet he lives on.
I'm not going to argue that women can be just as childish as men (although IMHO this is the case), but I will point out that 89 percent of all murders are committed by men, and female endurance, whatever that may be, gives you no edge when you're dead. Even when you get down to less easily measured methods of destruction, men rape more women than women do men, and the destructive impact of rape on women as a whole is considerable. I don't doubt there are men who "have been destroyed by women who did not understand... male fragility," but I strongly doubt that the number of men destroyed by women is considerably greater than the number of women destroyed by men. I rather suspect that more men have been destroyed by other men than have been destroyed by women.
As someone here said, much of this book reads like mathematical proofs. When Goldberg sticks to that sort of thing, he does very well. His arguments are lucid and precise, if sometimes repetitious. I frankly don't see how anyone who follows his arguments can remain unconvinced (every unconvinced review I've read thus far misrepresents - and thus presumably misunderstood - his arguments). Unfortunately, when he wanders from his thoroughly researched thesis, he sometimes drifts right into nonsense - but a couple of nonsense statements after more than two hundred pages of clear thought is livable.