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Mismeasure of Woman

Why Women are Not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex

When "man is the measure of all things," woman is forever trying to measure up. In this enlightening book, Carol Tavris unmasks the widespread but invisible custom -- pervasive in the social sciences, medicine, law, and history -- of treating men as the normal standard, women as abnormal. Tavris expands our vision of normalcy by illuminating the similarities between women and men and showing that the real differences lie not in gender, but in power, resources, and life experiences.
Winner of the American Association for Applied and Preventive Psychology's Distinguished Media Contribution Award

Carol Tavris, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in social psychology from the University of Michigan. She was senior editor for several years of a then-new magazine, Psychology Today, and went on to develop a career as a teacher, lecturer, and psychology writer. She is coauthor (with Carole Wade) of The Longest War: Sex Differences in Perspective and an introductory textbook, Psychology. In addition to writing the "Mind Health" column for Vogue magazine, she has written many articles and book reviews on diverse issues in psychology for a wide variety of magazines, including The New York Times, Discover, Science Digest, Human Nature, New York, Harper's, Geo, Ms., Redbook, and Woman's Day. While living in New York, Tavris taught at the Human Relations Center of the New School for Social Research, and in Los Angeles she now teaches from time to time in the department of psychology at UCLA.

Susan Faludi author of Backlash Tavris' bracing insights...demonstrate that women are measuring themselves with a rigged yardstick -- one designed to measure (and exaggerate) the stature of men.

Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D. author of The Dance of Anger Original, provocative, and utterly fascinating, this splendid book will change profoundly the way we think about the sexes -- and sex differences.

Sam Keen author of Fire in the Belly By destroying destructive myths about the inferiority and superiority of women, The Mismeasure of Woman provides the ground for a new dialogue between men and women.

Booklist What Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique did to raise the social consciousness of women, Tavris' book is certain to do for the public awareness of medical and mental health issues as they affect women....Captivating and well documented.

The New York Times Book Review [Written with] wit, erudition, and moderation....The great virtue of this book is that its author never confuses the very real differences in women's and men's experiences -- pregnancy and childbearing being the most obvious -- with the cultural artifacts surrounding these undeniable facts of life.

Toronto Globe and Mail By examining with microscopic attention everything from PMS to sexual abuse survivor groups, from the G spot to theories about women, war and peace, Tavris makes just about everyone pretty uncomfortable. Many sacred cows are brought to their knees if not to actual slaughter; all the emperors and a few empresses turn out to be, well, naked.

Susan Faludi (author of Backlash), in the San Francisco Chronicle In the good humored and commonsense approach that has typified her work, Tavris shows how both men and women use dubious standards of measure....[Women can start to change] by arming themselves with Tavris' bracing insights.

Publishers Weekly A valuable, enlightening roadmap to sanity for women and men.

Kirkus Reviews The author's unusual ability to winnow out deeply embedded errors in thinking makes this an especially important, stimulating, and timely work.

Philadelphia Inquirer Tavris' lucid analysis is sharpened by a wit that punctures the pretensions of "experts."...This provocative book covers an impressive range of topics [and is] a thoughtful, challenging contribution to the debate on gender and its social meaning -- a humane plea for understanding between men and women.

More books from this author: Carol Tavris