Top critical review
Male-bashing, unreferenced tosh
on February 13, 2004
I had high hopes for this book.
I was excited at finding a genuine, factual book, explaining the psychological and biological differences between the male and female brain.
I was looking forward to understanding more about the human sexes at an unbiased level.
And then I started reading it.
And I wasn't excited any more.
For something portrayed as unbiased and fact-based, it's a purley just another male-bashing book. There are three main issues I have with it:
Firstly, most sources for their information are completely unreferenced and look like they're just there to prove their point. Common phrases
are "scientist have discovered", "research has found" and "experts now know" - all useless phrases, lacking substance to anyone with more
than one brain cell.
Secondly, it constantly repeats itself over and over. Usually in the form of annoyingly large key phrases dotted around every paragraph or
so. They would be a great way to sum up what's just been said, particularly if it was a hard concept to grasp, but they don't. They more or
less repeat the last sentence word for word. A good example can be found on page 7:
"Whether men and women are _equal_ is a political or moral question, but weather they are _identical_ is a scientific one.
[Then in large italicised writing underneath:]
The equality of men and women is a political or moral issue; the essential difference is a scientific one."
... and you feel like yelling at the book, "I KNOW, YOU JUST TOLD ME, STOP INSULTING MY READING ABILITIES".
Thirdly, and most importantly, it's heavily biased towards women. If it were marketed as such, I wouldn't have a problem, but it's not. And
let me point out at this stage that I have no problems at all with poking fun at male stereotypes. But every single page begins to wear you
down. Especially when there's not fun being poked at women.It's advertised as a biological insight into our brains and why men can and cannot
do some things and why women can and cannot do other things. Seems simple, and if they'd have stuck to the plan, it would have worked.
Instead, anything where women excel (multi-tasking etc.) is rammed down our throats time after time after time. Everything where women falter
(knowing left from right) is also blamed upon the male for not understanding the woman's brain. Anything the men excel (direction) at is
sparse, but played down when it's there and anything men don't do well at is the cause of much "jocularity" and usually subject to a
Here's a selection of some subject headings, cartoons and (annoyinglylarge and unnecessary italicised quotes):
Page xv: A cartoon entitled "A Sunday Drive" where the dad is at the wheel of a car. His wife is next to him, looking scared and the kids are
leaning out the back window with a sign saying, "HELP! WE ARE LOST BUT OUR DAD WON'T STOP TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS"
The text starts with a story about a family out for a drive where the dad gets angry because people are talking and he can't concentrate on
Page 4: [The first quote] How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper? It's unknown, it's never happened.
Page 17: Chapter two starts with a cartoon of a man complaining he can't find the butter in the fridge.
Page 22: [Quote] Women have wider peripheral vision, men have tunnel vision.
Page 23: [Subject] Why Women's Eyes See So Much
Page 25: [Subject] Men and Ogling
Page 27: [Subject] Why Women Have A Sixth Sense
Page 29: [Subject] Why Men Can't Lie To Women
and [Subject] She Hears Better To...
Page 30: [Subject] Women Read Between the Lines
Page 31: [Subject] Why Boys Don't Listen
Page 32: [Subject] Men Miss The Details
Page 36: [Subject] Why Men Are So Thick-Skinned
Page 41: Chapter three starts with the age-old cartoon of a cross-section fo a female's and a male's brain. The male's is full of Sex,
exaggeration and "lame excuses" as well as tiny "Asking for directions microns" and one single "Hearing children in the middle of the night
neurone". Predictable, page 43 has the womens brain full of "committment" and "lie detector"
Page 47; [Quote] Tests show [uncredited] that women rate three percent higher in general intelligence than men.
Page 52: [Quote] Ask men and women if their brains work differently. Men will say they think they do, in fact there was something they were
reading on the Internet the other day... Women will say, of course they do - next question?
... and it carries on in that vein throughout. The annoying thing is, it's all true and we all know that, but why is there such a heavy
emphasis on the women's point of view?
Credit where it's due, I'm only one-third of the way through the book. If it gets better, I'll let you know.
Sadly, I have a feeling this will be my last post...