Myth of Two Minds

Beryl Lieff Benderly, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-385-19672-7
Gaining favor in conservative academic circles, sociobiological theory unearths Darwinian concepts of sexual selection to buttress a physiological basis for cognitive, psychological and behavioral differences between men and women. A cultural anthropologist and science writer, Benderly provocatively turns the sociobiological argument on its head and employs the same evolutionary logic to reassess the very gender stereotypes that the sociobiologists strive to maintain. Exploring an array of African and Indian cultures where division of labor, spheres of dominance and sex-specific natural selection reveal equitable alternatives to our Western model, she argues that the classic distinction made between the aggressive/acquisitive male and the nurturing/conciliatory female stems from ""cultural templates'' rather than genetic ``hard-wiring.'' This is an astute handling of a complex scientific subject charged with theoretical potholes and vital political implications. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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