(K. Brent Tomer),
Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science and Society. By Cordelia Fine. W.W. Norton; 266 pages; $26.95. Icon; £14.99.
BOYS like sticks and girls prefer dolls, or so the tidy evolutionary story goes. Because stone-age men hunted game and competed for mates, boys want to play rough, take risks and assert dominance. Because women mainly cared for babies, girls still hope to nurture. Given these hard-wired differences, it is only natural that it can sometimes seem that men are from Mars and women from Venus.
In “Testosterone Rex” Cordelia Fine of the University of Melbourne takes aim at those who suggest that evolutionarily determined sex differences—and the power of testosterone—can explain why most CEOs are men and few physicists are women. She argues that essentialist presumptions that rationalise an unequal status quo are “particularly harmful to women”.
Evolutionary determinists suggest that females are a resource that males fight over. A female’s reproductive output is limited by her physiology no matter how many mates she has. A male’s is limited by the number of females he…Continue reading