Louann Brizendine’s “The Female Brain”

This book is quite fun to read and highly accessible even to people that have no background in science or biology.  Although the research and the findings are serious, Louann Brizendine uses examples of her prior patients to explain her meanings and she is very good at this.  I am absolutely useless at science, but I was not baffled by anything she had to say.

This work has a hundred pages of references, which, on the surface, seems to reinforce its scientific findings, but the references are not easy to follow.  The book sometimes takes a tone of suggestion or theory rather than exact science, since no signifiers of a reference or footnotes are made within the main body of the work itself.  You therefore have to keep flipping to the back to see which of her statements are backed up by research and which statements are simply her own.  Without the distinction, which statements do we take as facts, and which do we take as her own theory?  Do we want to keep flipping to the back to find out?  Not really.

I therefore read this book with a pinch of salt, especially in light of her sweeping generalisations.  Although Brizendine mentions the nature vs nurture debate in her infant chapter, she carries on as if she has said nothing and focused only on nature, which is the core of my disappointment with this book.  The Female Brain may be a bit misleading. Personality and individuality has no place here, only hormones, genetics and what she calls the ‘Stone Age’ brain.  As I read through some of these chapters, I felt, once again that I was an outsider looking in on the usual stereotypical behaviours of women that I have little in common with.

There is very little detail in this book and may lead you to asking more questions than finding answers.  Brizendine focuses only on the stereotypical female and whilst she seems to understand and sympathise with males, there is still a tainted stench of female superiority in between the lines that I did not enjoy.  Having said that, it makes for a great light read and perhaps a good starting point if the subject matter interests you.  I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter on sex and forming romantic relationships as the theories were all new to me, but overall, it’s just too general and gliding to be taken that seriously.

Score: **********

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One Response to “Louann Brizendine’s “The Female Brain””

  1. I recommend reading the studies she references. THEY don’t, usually, back up her points. In lots and lots of cases she misrepresents the actual research, exaggerates its results or just distorts it beyond recognition.

    Beware of any writer who feels the need to wite “m.d.” behind his/her name on the book cover.

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