Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

Reviewed by Ingrid

: 2006

It's about: This book is about how girls' brains work. Brizendine believes that girls' and boys' brains are inherently different. Her argument is basically this: "Girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys. Their brains are different by the time they're born, and their brains are what drive their impulses, values, and their very reality." She then goes and lays out, chapter by chapter, how the chemical structure of a woman's brain fluxes and changes through different stages of life.

I thought: I don't usually read science-y books like this, but it came recommended by a good friend, and I generally like to know what's going on in the world of gender studies. And I liked it. This book was written for a broad audience, so it was easy and even entertaining to read. I appreciated that every one of her statements about the nature of the female brain was backed up with facts, statistics, and examples from her own work experience. It was generally a pretty good book.

Verdict: In between. Not an absolutely thrilling read, but if you are interested in women's studies, women's issues or women in general, it's worth picking up.

Warnings: Sexuality is mentioned, but discussed in scientific terms. Definitely nothing racy here.

Favorite excerpts: "A study by the Stanford University psychologist Eleanor Maccoby showed that girls learn to tell the difference between reality and fairy tales or 'just pretend' play earlier than boys. By adulthood, modern females have fine-tuned their superior ability to read emotional nuance in tone of voice, eye gaze, and facial expressions."