The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine

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Women have a biological imperative for insisting that  a new social contract take them and their needs into account.  Our future, and our children’s future, depends on it.

Okay, I’m getting to the point this season where I am starting to find books from all the corners of the house that my mum and dad have read so I can review them for Bookstravaganza.  It’s helping keep some variety in my book list.  This book The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine is unlike anything else I have read so far, so I figured it would be a good addition.

Louann Brizendine is a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California and founder of the Women’s and Teen Girl’s Mood and Hormone Clinic.  Through The Female Brain, Brizendine takes us on a journey through the female brain from infancy through to menopause.  I appreciated how Brizendine broke it down, explaining the hormones that are released at what time, the impacts of these hormones, and what irregularities can occur.   In order to show what is unique to the female brain, Brizendine also involves the male brain as contrast.   I learned a lot of fascinating facts about my brain, but upon the end of this book I still had a lot more questions.  What about the transgendered brain?  Or intersex brain?  I still wonder if this binary of female and male is completely useful still.

Reading The Female Brain, I realized how uncomfortable I was at actually reading her generalizations that all female brains dwell more on emotional and social aspects of interactions, whereas men are more solitary, less affected by others  — apparently baby girls are much more likely to be upset about another baby crying than a baby boy.  Female babies apparently are far more interested in the facial expression, reading emotion and desperate to bond; male babies are more interested in how things in their world work, not people.  And of course, later on, the difference between estrogen and testosterone affects a person in a multitude of ways – not only in libido, but decision making, judgment, listening skills, concentration and verbal processing.  

At the end of The Female Brain Brizendine tries to sooth my concerns, stating the only reason we are uncomfortable with emotional reality of womanhood is that the world we live in now is largely a man’s world, with expectations of women to not be overly emotional, to pursue more intellectual careers than social.  And in a way I have to agree with her.

Books Read: 15

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