Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex DifferencesWhy Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that, when I am finished reading, I wish I had read more carefully.  While I agree in part with the author's premise - that boys and girls brains and physiology are in fact different and it would behoove us to take note of the consequences of those differences, rather than deny or subvert them - there is a lingering uneasiness that perhaps the author is a bit too biased in his analysis.  Separate was not equal in terms of racial differences; I am worried that separate will not be equal in terms of gender differences (or religious differences, or socio-economic differences, or gender orientation differences, or ...) 

Another thing that worries me is the chapter on teen sex.  I am really alarmed that there isn't more support for girls to just say no to the degrading practice of "hooking up" and other aspects of teen sex that are exploitative of girls' natures.  What are girls getting out of "hooking up" and how do we empower them to fight back against this?

There are several things I would like to see explored in more detail:  what exactly are the differences in teaching boys and girls?  The brief examples he gives are simply not definitive enough for me.  In one of the ending chapters, he very briefly mentions that girls used to be concerned with their character, but nowadays their self-esteem (in coed schools) is largely based on how they look.  Coed schools are so prevalent in the US, and I am convinced that this will not change soon, given the current economic problems and the impending drastic cuts in education, how can we deal with education and socio-emotional issues?

I have ordered his next two books from the library.  Maybe I will find out more from them.

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