The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon: a review
some non-fiction up next! i debated doing this or not, but figured why not be thorough!
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‘The Gendered Brain’ focuses on ‘shattering the myth of the female brain’, but really it’s about dismantling all myths/psychobabble/neurobullshit/etc. relating to the role of sex (and gender, and all the many crossovers)
I loved this read. It was thorough, analysing and criticising methods and perspectives from as far back as some of the origins of such [mis]conceptions. Allowing for both the ‘hard’ science of biological contributors, and the role of environment, social influence- ‘softer’ scientific arguments. Both are equally important (well, debatable) and Rippon discussed both in great detail, referencing and critiquing relevant studies when applicable.
The breadth, and in times depth, covered by ‘The Gendered Brain’ made for a fascinating read the entire way through- providing what feels like quite the comprehensive report on gender bias, beliefs, and the impact on each respective sex. It covers the science, the life impact, and everything inbetween.
Admittedly, there were times I felt I’d heard some of this before, or that it could do with less explaining- which is how I get to the only criticism I really had for this book: the target audience feels somewhat unclear.
On one hand, the language used and terms references are specific to certain fields of study (scientific in nature) and aren’t explained in enough detail for the layperson- however, enough explanatory detail is given in other circumstances that would feel unnecessary for a target reader who is studied in a relevant subject. As such, a middle ground is established where the explanations can feel like either too much or too little.
In spite of this, it still makes for a brilliant read that unpicks many common gender-difference misconceptions, and explains how these beliefs and ‘findings’ came about. Balanced, yet with clear direction and argument (supported thoroughly by the science) I’d recommend this to anybody with an interest in gender and neurology!