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Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men
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Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

By carefully examining the biological, genetic, evolutionary, and psychological evidence, a noted biologist finds a shocking lack of substance behind ideas about biologically based sex differences. Features a new chapter and afterward on recent biological breakthroughs.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 30th 1987 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published 1987)
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Aug 20, 2009 Zach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism-gender
Biology is not a one-way determinant but a dynamic component of our existence.

A surprisingly funny (in a totally snarky way) attack on both positivist essentialism and the idea that science could exist in a political vacuum.
Les Howie
Oct 05, 2013 Les Howie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant demolition of the bad science behind gender-role-affirming memes like "men have better visual-spacial perception than women". While much of the book looks at work from the late 70s and early 80s, some of the ideas are still "common knowledge" today, and the sort of bad science (or at least bad science reporting) that perpetuates those myths is still being done.
Written by a medical doctor, Myths of Gender explores studies on 'gender', focusing on the medical aspects. Fausto-Sterling discusses genes, hormones, brain differences, animal behavior, homosexuality, and how science affects society. Succinct, objective, and fascinating.
Aug 12, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tons of evidence, plus some sharp insight into the weakness of many "studies" on gender difference. Fausto-Sterling dissects commonly held beliefs, neatly comparing what's produced as evidence, but also things that "experts" on gender difference spout from their perches in academia and media.

The writing is frequently dry and didactic, but readable. Occasionally, however, Fausto-Sterling shifts into a more conversational or even sardonic tone, and that's when the book comes alive.
Feb 11, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fausto-Sterling challenges the assertions of certain brain scientists and geneticists (among others), and offers a history of scientific misconceptions based on biology. Her main argument is that these gender myths are used to defend or protect the status quo.
Ronald Lett
Jan 10, 2016 Ronald Lett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-studies
An excellent overview and deconstruction of several often cited studies. Beyond the specific studies cited, it offers great extensive analysis on how the methodology of experiments can be both purposefully and unknowingly biased if they are not carefully designed. Citation of older studies especially is problematic when the language and words used have different intrinsic definitions. Although this book is a little older, and has some outdated ideas in the area of neuroscience (which has recentl ...more
May 12, 2014 kylajaclyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is crushingly hard to get through, but I had to for the sake of my Sociology of Women class. I understand what Fausto-Sterling is trying to do here - proving that the "differences of biology" between men and women are tenuous at best - but this book is so steeped in science and theories and that sort of talk that I often fell asleep. I am more interested in the differences between men and women from a psychological and women's studies point of view. Not that the sociological should be ...more
May 10, 2012 Aubri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting read and the author made many good points about research and methods used to enforce our "age old" myths about gender. My only complaint is the book's age; some of the content is outdated. I'd be very interested to read an updated version with commentary regarding new research.
Miranda Sofe Nelson
Some good information, a little bit research heavy for my taste (I do better with philosophy than fact, sometimes) but it was well written and persuasive. However, I think the nature vs. nurture debate, in any sense, is an impossible question to properly study. And even if we could find accurate information swaying one way or the other, does answering this question really help us? Part of being human involves the natural desire to fight your nature, to progress and become better. And if you beli ...more
Elizabeth Craig
It was way too academic-y for my personal taste, I felt like I was reading a science textbook. I thought it would be more about the psychology behind why transsexuals feel they don't belong to the gender they were assigned with at birth. My mistake, but this was not the book that I was looking for.
Oct 20, 2013 Jaden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book to read. It seemed very "textbook" at times, but the author does a wonderful job of throwing in snarky comments from time to time and elegantly shooting certain theorie down. This is the kind of book that I would suggest you only read if you have a genuine interest and some background in the topic.
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Anne Fausto-Sterling (born July 30, 1944) is the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University. She participates actively in the field of sexology and has written extensively on the fields of biology of gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and gender roles.

Fausto-Sterling received her Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from University of Wisconsin in 1965 and he
More about Anne Fausto-Sterling...

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