Same Difference

Rosalind Barnett, Author, Caryl Rivers, Author Basic Books $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-465-00610-6
According to Rivers, a professor of journalism at Boston College, and Barnett, a senior scientist at Brandeis, there is no innate difference between the sexes; there are only varying behaviors that are determined by the degree of power males and females hold in a given situation. The authors earlier collaborated on She Works/He Works, which took issue with the idea that two working parents in a home was harmful to children. In this provocative study, they take on gender theorists ranging from Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice) to David Buss (The Evolution of Desire) and pop writer John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), picking on their arguments and their scholarship. The authors believe that gender difference theory rationalizes the discrimination still prevalent in society and is comforting in a time of great social change. Drawing on current scholarly research, Barnett and Rivers take on one""myth"" per chapter; they found little statistical support, for example, for Buss's conclusion that women choose mates on the basis of financial security and men prefer to marry younger, very attractive women. Although Barnett and Rivers make a cogent case, their conclusions will be subject to the same scrutiny as they give their targets.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
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