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Taking Sex Differences Seriously

Publisher: Encounter • 2005 • 362 pages

In little over a generation, the consensus of millennia — and of common sense — that there are inborn differences between the sexes has been overturned. The new consensus is the opposite: sex differences are learned, mere “social constructions” of a “patriarchal” culture — which it is society’s obligation to breed out of future generations through social engineering.

But now, tradition and common sense are back, supported by a raft of scientific data. In “Taking Sex Differences Seriously,” Steven Rhoads presents compelling evidence that inborn sex differences are large, deeply rooted and consequential — and that denying or attempting to erase these differences can lead to great social harm, especially for women and children.

Focusing on the three fundamental human drives — sex, nurturing, and aggression or competitiveness — Rhoads shows how sex differences are “hard wired” into our natures. These differences range from the subtle (men get a chemical “high” from winning, while women get one from nursing) to the profound (women with high testosterone levels are more promiscuous, more competitive, and more conflicted about having children than those with average levels). Rhoads also explains why, rather than try to wish or legislate these differences away, we should take them into account when we think about our culture and public policies.

A few of Steven Rhoads’ extraordinary revelations:

  • Unmistakeable distinctions that appear, from the earliest ages, between boys’ and girls’ desire to nurture
  • How testosterone levels are associated with levels of assertiveness in both males and females. How estrogen induces cooperation
  • The biological basis for males’ greater love of competitive sports — and the implications for Title IX policy
  • How mixing modern careers with the often inexplicable need to bond with their young can bring heartbreaking torment to women
  • Implications of recent research indicating that there are two kinds of women, but only one kind of man
  • Why men have a stronger libido — and why the male desire for sex with multiple youthful partners can have disturbing effects, especially in low-income communities
  • The Sexual Revolution: why it has not produced “gender-neutral” results — causing far more harm to women than men
  • Why young women are far more likely than young men to find in time that they are hurt by casual sex
  • Why a return to traditional breadwinner/homemaker homes would be a benefit to children

“Provocative, compelling, entertaining . . . Rhoads weaves together the findings of hundreds of new research studies with personal anecdotes in a lively refutation of 40 years of feminist cant. . . . Taking Sex Differences Seriously should help to restore social sanity to a nation still disoriented by extended exposure to feminist ideology.” — National Review

“Rhoads shows how denial of sex differences has helped to create the sexual revolution, fatherless families, and policies such as Title IX, and the call for universal day care. An important, fascinating, ground breaking book.” — Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“Scintillating and utterly persuasive. For several decades, gender ideologues have aggressively promoted the view that ‘gender is a social construction.’ Rhoads marshals massive amounts of evidence showing why they are wrong.” — Christina Hoff Sommers, American Enterprise Institute

“Men and women are different: It should be blindingly obvious, but to many people–including those who influence social policy–it isn’t. Professor Rhoads’ case for ‘la difference’ is comprehensive and persuasive.” — Danielle Crittenden, author of What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman

“The Empress of Androgyny has no clothes. . . . a responsible, clear, exhaustive, and convincing description of human sex differences and what they mean for social policy and personal life. … a generous-minded but hard-headed corrective to ideological fatuities.”– Lionel Tiger, Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University

“An exceptionally brave book that uses a mountain of empirical evidence to show what each of us knows intuitively but are usually afraid to say out loud: that men and women are different, and that these differences are in important respects rooted in nature rather than being socially constructed.” — Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins University

“Overwhelmingly establishes the case for nature — that is, for natural sex differences. . . . a major contribution. — The American Spectator

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