Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3478259 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

The Female Brain (and other areas)
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (4)

Okay, so I was in Barnes and Noble today having a look around, and I came across Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain.

I think gender differences in neuroanatomy and cognition is a fascinating, if controversial, issue. So I pick it off the shelf and start having a look through.

If you follow the link to Amazon above, the first reviewer pretty much hits the nail on the head. The first stuff I came across was the stuff on infant gaze durations. The reviewer says:

The negative comments toward men are especially evident in the first third of the book. It seems like the author wants to take men down a few notches to make women feel good, if I'm not mistaken. I felt especially sad as the author discussed infants' facial gazing. She cited and over-interpreted research on facial gazing, projecting her issues onto her own son, who didn't gaze much at her face. I can say, having spent many years observing infants' looking behaviors, that infant boys are generally intrigued by faces, especially mothers' faces. If there are sex differences, they do not jump out. And if there are measurable differences, how does the author know that these things are innate?

Good question. A better one is, if there are measurable differences, how about citing some, you know, studies that measured them?

But this wasn't the most egregious stuff by a long shot. No, that would be the chapter on female sexuality. She starts out by talking about how complex female sexuality is and that traditional attempts to understand it have not gone very far. She talks about how "a recent anatomy book" spent several pages describing the penis, but only a paragraph on the clitoris. She doesn't say which book it is, but a single book is a pretty small sample size. How do the range of anatomy textbooks do giving equal time to male and female genitalia?

But then she starts talking about how fMRI studies show that a woman's amygdala (the part of the brain most associated with fear) must be mostly inactive for her to orgasm. She talks about how a woman must feeling relaxed, trusting, and calm before she can climax, and that things like "too much slobber" or bad breath can inhibit her ability to come.

Oh really? Gosh, that's a news flash.

Then she says (and I wish I had the exact quote, but I don't), something very much like "Whereas a climax for a woman is like a delicate convergence of the stars, for men it's a simple case of the right piece of plumbing being filled and ready."

Nice, huh? Now I'm willing to admit that female sexuality is different, and likely more complex, than male sexuality. But is she seriously saying that once we get erect, there's nothing that spoils the mood? Men don't give a shit if she's got bad breath?

She seems to be entirely discounting all psychological and neurological factors in male sexuality, and contrary to what the author might think, it's a little more complex than "have boner, will travel". There's a huge psychological component to male sexuality. The author manages to disregard it with a single flippant comment.

Nice scholarship.

Anyway, it's a real shame, since the subject is really an interesting one. The reviewer mentions Carol Tavris and Janet Hyde as excellent sources for good scholarship on the subject. I just might look them up. But for the love of Pete, this book is to be avoided.

Read/Post Comments (4)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.