Popular assumptions about gender and communication - famously summed up in the title of the massively influential 1992 bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - can have unforeseen but far-reaching consequences in many spheres of life, from attitudes to the phenomenon of 'date-rape' to expectations of achievement at school, and potential discrimination in the work-place.
In this wide-ranging and thoroughly readable book, Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University and author of a number of leading texts in the field of language and gender studies, draws on over 30 years of scientific research to explain what we really know and to demonstrate how this is often very different from the accounts we are familiar with from recent popular writing.
Ambitious in scope and exceptionally accessible, The Myth of Mars and Venus tells it like it is: widely accepted attitudes from the past and from other cultures are at heart related to assumptions about language and the place of men and women in society; and there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women, often associated with social roles and relationships. The author goes on to consider the influence of Darwinian
theories of natural selection and the notion that girls and boys are socialized during childhood into different ways of using language, before addressing problems of 'miscommunication' surrounding, for example, sex and consent to sex, and women's relative lack of success in work and politics. Arguing that what linguistic differences there
are between men and women are driven by the need to construct and project personal meaning and identity, Cameron concludes that we have an urgent need to think about gender in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow.
A compelling and insightful read for anyone with an interest in communication, language, and the sexes.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 226 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 18 mm
a brilliant and timely book * Katharine Viner, The Guardian *
In this vigorously argued book, [Cameron] also combats the cliche by example, writing in an enjoyable mode of pugnacious sarcasm * Steven Poole, The Guardian *
Cameron, skilled at deflating the sweeping generalisations of others... * The Sunday Times *
Cameron's wry, measured dismemberment of these stereotypes makes for enjoyable reading * Ceri Radford, The Daily Telegraph *
this delightfully spiky book * Susannah Herbert, The Sunday Times *
this immensely readable book * Romy Clark, Red Pepper magazine *
Cameron blows through the fog of pop-psych gender 'research' like Afrin through swollen sinuses, shrinking the claims of sound-bite science on contact * Jan Freeman, Boston Globe *
This short and enjoyable read ... is very welcome * Sarah Ensor, Socialist Review *
Fascinating, insightful, comprehensive ... you'll just have to read it for yourself * Contemporary UK Feminism, www.thefword.org.uk *
Cameron cites a lot of literature, makes her points lucidly, and distinguishes nicely between scientific consensus and cultural assumption. She's also bitingly funny * Read for Pleasure *
Cameron does a great job * Feminist Philosophers *