creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

18 Jan 2011

Delusions of Gender - Cordelia Fine

How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference
As might be inferred from the second title-thing of this book, the entire premise of this very interesting 239-page-long read is that

  • seriously peeps, gender essentialism is sexism; menfolk and womenfolk are not monoliths;
  • the differences between "male" and "female" brains are really pretty tiny, and mostly exaggerated by people who report them (which, btw, includes not only The Media but also the scientists who publish the results in the first place),
  • and in any case, most of these differences (such as different neurotransmitter secretion levels) can be explained due to brain overall size, which makes neurons act slightly differently so that the end result'll be the same;
  • the slight differences between female and male cognitive performance (which are, let me stress this, SLIGHT) can mostly be explained by psychological phenomena and "subject priming", and NOT by any innate biological eternal truth;
  • wow, as a society we put SO MUCH emphasis on gender and sex (as in genital organs, not activities), it's a bit impressive, honestly. But not in a good way.
  • Also, we do not live and grow in a vacuum; we're exposed to messages from the media, explicitly from what people say, and implicitly from how people act and react all the time - it's bound to have an effect on our self-perception and on our own (and children's own growing) psyches.
Or, in my own words:
Men aren't from Mars, women aren't from Venus, all of humanity is from Earth (you buffoons). And people who persist in trying to justify their sexist beliefs with pseudoscientific, neurosexist crap are total assfaces.

Seriously, this book combines neuroscience, psychology and anti-sexism (it is both anti-misogyny and anti-misandry) in a way that's interesting, thought-provoking and funny all at the same time. You really should read it.

Oh, and it's decimal classification number is 612.82, so it's about Applied Science - Medical Science - Human physiology? Or at least, so it is according to my public library.

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