Inferior How science got women wrong and the new research that's rewriting the story

Angela Saini, 1980-

Book - 2017

"What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knew. For hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their minds feebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists--primarily men--claimed to find evidence to support this. From intelligence to emot...ion, cognition to behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. The new woman revealed by this scientific data is as strong, powerful, strategic, and smart as anyone else. In Inferior, acclaimed science writer Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating--and sorely necessary--new science of women. She takes readers on a journey to uncover science's failure to understand women and to show how women's bodies and minds are finally being rediscovered. Saini tells this alternate story of science with personal stories, controversial research, and an investigation into the gender wars in biology, psychology, and anthropology"--

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2nd Floor 305.4/Saini Due May 21, 2022
Subjects
Published
Boston : Beacon Press [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
213 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 184-200) and index.
ISBN
9780807071700
0807071706
9780807010037
0807010030
Main Author
Angela Saini, 1980- (author)
  • Introduction
  • Woman's inferiority to man
  • Females get sicker but males die quicker
  • A difference at birth
  • The missing five ounces of the female brain
  • Women's work
  • Choosy, not chaste
  • Why men dominate
  • The old women who wouldn't die
  • Afterword.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Prepare to be enraged. Journalist Saini dives deeply into gender science to find out why it has always been assumed that women were the weaker, thus the inferior, sex. In this deceptively slim yet exhaustively researched book, she wastes little time on talking tough, instead speaking on the record with male and female scientists, perusing correspondence, describing research, and relating the findings in dozens of historical reports on the female sex dating back to Darwin. Alternately bemused and appalled, Saini hangs in there while discussing how analysis from a study of newborn babies supported the idea that females were more empathetic and males more mechanically minded, how the smaller size of female brains (by five ounces) meant for decades that they were, of course, less intelligent, and how assertions about superior male hunting skills diminished the role of women in the history of human survival. In admirably subtle prose, Saini questions, considers, and refuses to accept traditional generalizations. A brilliant approach to a long overlooked topic, Inferior is impossible to ignore and invaluable. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Inferior deftly addresses previous perceptions of women made by science and provides thorough evidence to illustrate how these old views were profoundly incorrect. Saini, a renowned science journalist, explores past scientific justifications pertaining to the inferiority of women in a multitude of fields such as biology, psychology, and anthropology. Saini delves into historical scientific topics, such as the role of neurosexism, which was rooted in stereotypes concerning the differences between male and female brains. Discarding long-held beliefs, the author pushes the reader to understand women and their relationship to science in a new way. The author makes a highly politicized argument that she proficiently supports with solid evidence—it is very evident that her strong background in science journalism supports this endeavor. Overall, Saini covers a significant amount of ground on this topic with the far-reaching claims that are made throughout the course of the narrative. This work is thought provoking and cogent. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates.--K. J. Whitehair, independent scholarKristin Jan Whitehairindependent scholar Kristin Jan Whitehair Choice Reviews 55:03 November 2017 Copyright 2017 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knew For hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their mindsfeebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists--primarily men--claimed to find evidence to support this. From intelligence to emotion, cognition to behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. The new woman revealed by this scientific data is as strong, powerful, strategic, and smart as anyone else. In Inferior, acclaimed science writer Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating--and sorely necessary--new science of women. She takes readers on a journey to uncover science's failure to understand women and to show how women's bodies and minds are finally being rediscovered. Saini tells this alternate story of science with personal stories, controversial research, and an investigation into the gender wars in biology, psychology, and anthropology"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Describes how modern-day science has refuted the previous notions of women as the inferior sex and instead revealed them to be strong, powerful, strategic, and as smart as anyone else.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knewFor hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their minds feebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists—most of them male, of course—claimed to find evidence to support this.Whether looking at intelligence or emotion, cognition or behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or are, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. The new woman revealed by this scientific data is as strong, strategic, and smart as anyone else.In Inferior, acclaimed science writer Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating—and sorely necessary—new science of women. As Saini takes readers on a journey to uncover science’s failure to understand women, she finds that we’re still living with the legacy of an establishment that’s just beginning to recover from centuries of entrenched exclusion and prejudice. Sexist assumptions are stubbornly persistent: even in recent years, researchers have insisted that women are choosy and monogamous while men are naturally promiscuous, or that the way men’s and women’s brains are wired confirms long-discredited gender stereotypes.As Saini reveals, however, groundbreaking research is finally rediscovering women’s bodies and minds. Inferior investigates the gender wars in biology, psychology, and anthropology, and delves into cutting-edge scientific studies to uncover a fascinating new portrait of women’s brains, bodies, and role in human evolution.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knewFor hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their minds feebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists—most of them male, of course—claimed to find evidence to support this.Whether looking at intelligence or emotion, cognition or behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or are, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. The new woman revealed by this scientific data is as strong, strategic, and smart as anyone else.In Inferior, acclaimed science writer Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating—and sorely necessary—new science of women. As Saini takes readers on a journey to uncover science’s failure to understand women, she finds that we’re still living with the legacy of an establishment that’s just beginning to recover from centuries of entrenched exclusion and prejudice. Sexist assumptions are stubbornly persistent: even in recent years, researchers have insisted that women are choosy and monogamous while men are naturally promiscuous, or that the way men’s and women’s brains are wired confirms long-discredited gender stereotypes.As Saini reveals, however, groundbreaking research is finally rediscovering women’s bodies and minds. Inferior investigates the gender wars in biology, psychology, and anthropology, and delves into cutting-edge scientific studies to uncover a fascinating new portrait of women’s brains, bodies, and role in human evolution.