Exposing the pseudoscience, ideological agendas, and biological determinism behind a disturbing new trend in gender development.
Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett are widely praised for their analysis of women, men, and society. Their "uncommon storytelling grace" led the Boston Globe to name their book, Same Difference: How Gender Myths Harm Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs, one of the best of 2004. The New York Times has called Barnett "one of the researchers who is re-drawing the map of women's psychology," and the New York Review of Books has commended their confronting of public policy "with less superstition and sentimentality than is currently the case."
The Truth About Girls and Boys tackles a new, troubling trend in the theorizing about gender: that the learning styles, brain development, motivation, cognitive and spatial abilities, and "natural" inclinations of boys and girls are so different, they require completely different styles of parenting and education. Ignoring the science that challenges these claims, those who promote such theories make millions, frightening parents and educators into enforcing old stereotypes and reviving unhealthy attitudes in the classroom. Rivers and Barnett unmake the pseudoscientific rationale for this argument, stressing the individuality of each child and the uniqueness of his or her talents and desires. They recognize that in our culture, boys and girls encounter different stimuli and experiences, but encouraging children to venture outside their comfort zones keeps them from falling into old, fossilized gender roles that can suffocate their potential. Educating parents, teachers, and general readers in the true nature of the gender game, Rivers and Barnett help future generations transform if not transcend the parameters of sexual difference.
Caryl Rivers is professor of Journalism at the College of Communication at Boston University. A nationally known author and journalist, she was awarded the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished achievement in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. Her articles have appeared in the The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Saturday Review, Ms., Mother Jones, McCalls, Glamour, Redbook, Rolling Stone, and Ladies Home Journal. She writes for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune, and is the author of Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women, among other works of fiction and nonfiction.
Rosalind C. Barnett is a senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Her pioneering research on workplace issues and family life in America has been sponsored by major federal grants, and her she is often invited to lecture at major venues in the United States and abroad. Dr. Barnett has a private clinical practice and is the author of both scholarly and popular books and articles that have appeared in Self, Working Woman, McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Working Woman. She is the recipient of the Radcliffe College Graduate Society's Distinguished Achievement Medal and the Anne Roe Award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, for her contribution to women's professional growth and the field of education.