What the reviewer writes here about 21st Century Boys could be said of the popular gender-babble so popular among people who want to make female led relationships somehow scientific.
There are, of course, interesting arguments to be had about the innate differences between boys and girls, but I wouldn’t recommend Palmer as a guide to them. At times, she writes like someone standing at a pick’n’mix counter of educational, social and psychological research, grabbing the biggest and shiniest things she can see.
She draws on the work of Simon Baron-Cohen, the Cambridge psychologist and expert on autism, who theorises that there is a male S-Type (systemising) brain and a female E-Type (empathising) brain.
Playing up this gender difference argument, she neglects to comment that Baron-Cohen’s theories are contested, and far from being accepted as factual in his field. Baron-Cohen himself is pretty game about this …
Dazzled with questionable facts, tiny selections from complex research, and prejudices dressed up as reasoned argument, the reader is left like a spectator after a fireworks show: it all seemed very impressive at the time, but nothing of any substance is left behind.
Originally posted 2009-07-29 05:29:37.