The Myth of Two Minds

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

When Beryl Benderly set out to write THE MYTHS OF TWO MINDS, her intent, she notes, was to survey the new evidence for three currently accepted tenets: first, that men and women think, feel, and act differently; second, that these differences have definite physiological bases, and third, that physiology explains the very different male and female roles observed in many cultures. The more Benderly researched the subject, however, the more she came to the inescapable conclusion that these tenets are false. She also found that differences perceived in intellect, emotion, and personality are in fact related to culture, experience, and expectations.

The gender stereotypes so familiar to us were established and continue to be maintained in this male-dominated society. This fact becomes clear when one compares sex stereotypes in other cultures: In Bali, men are characterized by their aesthetic appreciation, and in Africa, women carry the heaviest load.

In her odyssey through the most current research and findings on gender, the author discovers that the real differences between men and women count for much less than people think. Despite numerous scientific studies, gender remains an enigma. Modern science has not yet been able to determine whether gender resides in the genes, hormones, or in the brain--or even why it exists. In the end one becomes aware of the ultimate truth: At the heart of the debate are the great issues that face our society--how to apportion power, work, and responsibility in late twentieth century America.