Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review and Recommendation: Delusions of Gender

Author: Cordelia Fine
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 338
Warnings: Eh
Rating: 5/5

I can not recommend this book highly enough. This was one of the coolest books I have ever read. I wish everyone would read it! There's a wealth of information how we think that I find fascinating. Some of the theories suggested are a bit scary, and some feel like a missing piece of a puzzle falling into place. Beyond the arresting subject matter, I appreciated Cordelia Fine's excellent writing style and the sense of purpose it gives her book. This book is personally appealing to me, but I believe everyone could take advantage of it's demand to see gender as a much more flexible concept than our parents led us to believe.

First and foremost, as I said above, awesome information. I spent no small amount of time after reading this book  actually following the footnotes to studies. I'm not going to pretend I read them all, but I was emboldened to critically consider the methods used to collect data in popularization, even those that Fine referenced. I am also more aware of those really irritating assumptions about an entire gender's mental capacity. I really hate those. If I heard someone say that all Asian people are worse at math than white people, I sure and heck wouldn't just accept that.

Fine's writing style was also just what I wanted. Her prose is witty, interesting and her conclusions are unabashed. All of her theories are backed up with a chain of evidence presented in reasonable journal articles, but she takes time to pepper her prose with anecdotal evidence. These asides keep "Delusions of Gender" from being a dry textbook and make the ideas Fine endorses (that ladies aren't inherently empathetic to everyone, stupid or more irrational than anyone else) more accessible. After all, we're not talking about ancient history or hypothetical people. This book posits theories about people right now, about culture as you know it.

So, if you're a feminist, or if you don't call yourself that but get frustrated when someone suggests women are "just bad at math" read this book. You'll love it. If you may have said women are just naturally bad at math, but when asked why realize your only answer is "because", check out this book. You might like it.

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