Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences sets out to unpick scientific and traditional attitudes that in the author’s opinion perpetuate the male/female divide. She addresses aspects of new and old theories and pours cold water over a number of strongly held beliefs. She acknowledges that we are often so bound in our thinking by traditional values and social mores which have become embedded in our different cultures that we no longer recognise them as being outside of our thinking.
Her point, I think – because I have found this book very difficult to follow – is that the brain, whether belonging to a male or female, is malleable and is therefore continually open to changes, should we allow changes to occur. It seems we are led into an avenue of prescribed reason more than we are aware. There should be no real reason why men or women are more successful at some things than others.
I have attempted to read this book as an unbiased individual but my feministic views did not fully recede. The arguments Cordelia Fine puts forward are the same ones I remember using to suggest to my students back in the eighties that we should not be shackled by tradition but should be willing to become who we want to be despite our gender. It is a case of flexibility rather than hardwiring our brains and, I would suggest, attitudes, that allows for change to seep through.
Cordelia Fine is a cognitive neuroscientist of some distinction in Australia. Whilst I did not find her views to be different from my own, it is refreshing to discover that research continues into the very sensitive male/female debate.
This is a book worth dipping into if only for the multitude of references and notes offered at the back of the book. Students of human behaviour would benefit from reading this.
Fine, Cordelia (2010) Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences