Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Well my lack of blogging yesterday was due to being late home from work having seen Simon Baron Cohen talking about his newish book - which claims to explain the differences between men and women. Oh come now, not that difference. That one, should be obvious.

I like to think of myself as a feminist - as Rebecca West said 'People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.' I don't know how you can, in fact, not be a feminist. When I say feminist, I couldn't be further from the stereotype of ball busting bra less grumps. It isn't, for me about hating men at all. As they say, some of my best friends are men ;) When you think about all the women in terrible situations around the world, its impossible not to try to feel some solidarity. When you think of the women who are killed by their partners, two a week in the UK, it certainly has an effect on your personal politics. Or it does mine, at least. But its about being a woman supporter rather than a man hater.

SBC's theory is that male brains are better at systemising, and female brains are better at empathising. It might be an interesting theory, but it isn't backed up by the book. Plus, all the tasks that he gives as being empathising, i.e. verbal communication, are actually systemising skills - what's language, if not a system?

The talk yesterday was from a feminist perspective - which was interesting - but seemed strangely frustrating. Why? Because the book is primarily about autism, and whether or not autism is the extreme male brain. Its an interesting thought, actually, and as not just a bit of a feministe but a crip as well, certainly of interest. Unfortunately, it wasn't even mentioned. A missed opportunity all round, methinks.

Now do I want to go and see 'Capturing the Friedman's'? I think I might do, and can't be sure it isn't a bit voyeuristic.
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