Royal Society Science Book Prize 2017 WINNER: Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds by Cordelia Fine

Review published on September 20, 2017.

The gender issue is a hot topic at the moment; for decades we have been led to believe that ‘boys will be boys’, that pink and blue toys are entirely suitable for the appropriate sex and that men have evolved to take risks because of the extra testosterone swishing about and that the female brain is utterly different to the male brain.

Psychologist Cordelia Fine is having none of it.

The ‘nature versus nurture’ argument is dragged up frequently, but by using arguments from social history, psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary science, Fine takes apart all the old, entrenched evidence and goes a long way to explaining how what is between your legs doesn’t create male and female natures, but the elements that actually define us are a complicated mix of evolution, hormones, culture and sex.

Fine is not afraid to be controversial in some of her conclusions in this book, looking at the facts and assessing the evidence; pointing out the errors is not going to endear her to some readers. She has written an interesting and enlightened take on the role that testosterone has to play in both male and female bodies, and the effects that it has. She does not hold back as she obliterates the myths and cultural norms in society that still surround the gender issue. She is not afraid to get stuck into the science and statistics and evaluate the studies that have been done. It is a really good popular science, one of the few where I have actually laughed out loud at certain points of the book. Worth reading.

Paul Cheney 4/4

Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds by Cordelia Fine
Icon Books Ltd 9781785781612 hbk Mar 2017

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