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The Natural Superiority of Women

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Among the central issues of the modern feminist movement, the debate over biology and culture over sex and gender, over genetics and gender roles has certainly been one of the most passionately contested. Making revolutionary arguments upon its first publication in 1953, The Natural Superiority of Women stands as one of the original feminist arguments against biological de ...more
Paperback, Fifth Edition, 336 pages
Published January 28th 1999 by Altamira Press (first published 1952)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  107 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
So I was totally skeptical of this book. I mean the title is pretty in your face and the one I read (which my awesome husband bought me, I think partly as a joke) was super dated (it’s the second edition, so was published in 1953) but I LOVED it! It was really, really interesting and doesn’t argue that women don’t need men or anything extremely radical like that, in fact, it argues against women trying to be like men and notes that the greatest achievement and most creative endeavor is to bear a ...more
Jenna Bryce
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ashley Montague was a giant in his field. As a teacher, he discovered he could not teach in class what he teaches in this book. Both male and female students would not hear him. The females were made uncomfortable. The males were made angry and derisive. So he wrote the book. It's common knowledge among biologists that mammals are all female, becoming male by some sort of imperative as they develop in the womb. Males are an adaptation of the female. It ought to be common knowledge by simple obse ...more
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Courtesy of the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Humanities' library, this book helped form the foundation of my interest in gender studies. Oh by the way, the writer is a man.
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I strongly urge all women to read this book, and men to. Do not let the title mislead you. It is not at all what you think. I found it very informative, empowering and gave me ammunition to deal with the stresses of life as a woman in this world. This would help men to correct how they see/treat women, and as a result save the people of this world from themselves. I am convinced; that should things remain as they are in our so called 'civilized societies', the people of this world shall never be ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, because it said what I really needed to hear at that time and that was that Women are AMAZING just look at what they can do.
Ki Longfellow
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book, merely on content, deserves 5 stars. But Montagu's fairly constant apology to males got on my nerves. Whilst it's true, the mind of a man can easily be equal to a woman's, his body cannot. This drives men crazy, so much so Montagu couldn't teach the biological truths (known to most leading biologists) of this book in a classroom. Men would boo him silent. So he wrote a damn book. And a damn good and fascinating book it is. But he's obviously still ducking the anger of males who can't ...more
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, which is written by a MAN! And that too Ashley Montagu, who is an anthropologist as well as an expert in other fields (e.g. Psychology). He also wrote the UNESCO statement on Race.
It addresses all the main capabilities of humans and shows a comparison between man and woman. He is not trying to pull down men, but wants them to realize that their insecurities is making them subjugate women. He puts forth, that love, kindness, gentleness, caring are more imp
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
A rather dry and obviously biased book, but I do love the subject matter.

Some basic ideas include that women recovery from illnesses better and live longer. Women use energy more efficiently, can withstand extreme conditions like cold and heat.
Karen Wako
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The title speaks for itself.
Natalie Kaufman
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Very interesting read and a quite intriguing argument. I am curious, however, what a book with the same title would look like if it were written by a woman. Some (most) of the argument seemed to lie in the fact that women are superior because they have the capacity to bring life into this world. While I agree that this is an incredible testament to the strength of women, it still seems a little archaic and sexist to place women's power in their ability to have children. Still, need to keep conte ...more
Donna Davis
Three stars is supposed to be "liked it". Actually, it pissed me off, but it is a classical read for students of women's history, and so it still graces my shelves.

Montagu essentially says that women are naturally better than men BECAUSE WE CAN HAVE BABIES. Everything good and decent about us comes from our hormones. It's a whole different way (somewhat) to stereotype women and make it sound like a compliment. He is scholarly in his approach, misusing science to make a case that actually falls a
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who still think males are better than females.
This book is understandably annoying.

I agree with female biological/genetic superiority.

What I find unseemly about it is the assumption of statism. Pick at my use of "unseemly" if you like; how is it any different from Ashley's title? I have had close ties with anarchism for many years now, only recently going slightly away from it. The predominant contention and reason for the provocative title, I imagine, is the historical subjugation of women. The origin of this subjugation is statism; it's p
I haven't seen this edition, and would like to, but I have an older edition.

A lot of people don't know that 'Ashley Montagu' was actually his surname. Not sure what the first names were--the initials were M F.

There's a concept of intellectual genaeology. Montagu was taught by people of Franz Boas' generation, and taught many in the generations after. In the acknowledgements to The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould comments that genes may be selfish, but there can be no gene for selfishness, a
Yvette Cole
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
'Required' reading for feminists of the 70's. Good read from an academic,anthropological viewpoint.
Need to re-read to see if it holds up today. When I would read it on the bus, men would be visibly and verbally shaken and upset......HA,HA,HA,.
Kenyatte Mack
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a British-American anthropologist and humanist, of Jewish ancestry, who popularized topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development. He was the rapporteur (appointed investigator), in 1950, for the UNESCO statement The Race Question. As a young man he changed his name to "Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu". After relocating to the United States he used the name "Ashley ...more