While Louann Brizendine analyzes the differences in male and female brains in the Male Brain and the Female Brain, in Delusions of Gender, you could say that author Cordelia Fine is up to just the opposite. She challenges many facets of the science of gender, or what she calls “neurosexism.”
We are taught from an early age that that men and women have different sets of innate abilities. With intellect, wit and studies to back it up, I ate up how Fine in effect says hogwash, because these differences have not really been proven. In addition to traversing the neurosexism terrain in detail with biting wit and humor, that style follows in a section where Fine dissects the so-called “causes” of gender differences in achievement, from corporations, to law, medicine, science, the military and more. And she goes to parents, and what is it that makes them believe the notion that sex differences are innate.
Fine takes a hard look at how culture, more than biology, drives the development of the belief of these differences, and because of our socialization and gender stereotyping, how easily gender differences can become self fulfilling prophecies. She boldly turns a lot of John Gray’s Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus on its head.
I love how Fine gives us an evidence-based invitation to free ourselves from feeling slotted into the behaviors and abilities we are “supposed” to have based on gender. As someone who has looked at how gender identity issues relate to and impact women who do not want children (which has been “the” key to female identity development) I find it refreshing how Fine smartly makes her case for freeing both sexes from the confines of long held definitions of what constitutes gender identity.