Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men

Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men

Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men

Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men

Excerpt

In August 1991 I received a phone call from a reporter: Did I know about a forthcoming article claiming that homosexual and heterosexual men had different brain structures? Would I comment on it? After receiving and reading a fax of the article (it was still available only to the press), I discussed it at length with the reporter. As it turned out, this phone call was the first of many, and as the time I spent talking about this three-page scientific report stretched from hours to days, I grew increasingly frustrated.

My frustration had at least three components. First, the public discussion was not only about homosexuality but about gender and sex differences as well. The logic was that men and women had different brains; therefore gay men might have brains that looked more like those of women and lesbians might have brains more like those of men. The question of sex differences in cognition was one I considered in extenso in the first edition of this book, and thus to see it leap once more to the forefront of public discussion made me weary. Second, I knew that the public debate was really about the question of social equity. Should gay people have full civil rights? Should they be treated as if they had a disease? Should little girls be expected to perform well in mathematics and become engineers? After more than ten years of conservative government, ongoing feminist activities, and the rise of militant gay activism, the backlash was upon us. Having fought such battles for several decades, I did not relish having once more to leap into the fray. But as one of a handful of scientists equipped to fight this particular battle, I felt that I had no choice. Finally, as an intellectual problem the question of examining alleged biological differences has ceased to interest me. I dealt with it when I wrote the first edition of Myths of Gender and have since moved on to other things. Being forced back into a discussion of bodily differences has diverted me from my current intellectual endeavors, and I can hardly hide my resentment.

There is no denying the issue, however. As the press calls and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.