Review of “Why Gender Matters” by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD

The Zeitgeist of 2015 includes the high-water mark for “social constructionism”, the belief that male-female differences derive exclusively from social expectations with little or no input from biology- witness the SCOTUS legalization of gay marriage, the media obsession with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and Target’s recent decision to remove all references to gender in their toy departments.
As one who has had three decades of experience as a single parent, roughly the same time with a son as with a daughter, I believe I’m in good position to evaluate Dr. Sax’s contentions.

Ch. 1 Sax maintains the now-controversial view that boys have a hearing deficit and that many referrals for boys as having ADHD are based on the widespread ignorance of this deficit among classroom teachers.
Ch. 2 He did an extensive review of relevant research to conclude that male-female brain differences are more fundamental than gay-straight ones, even in the areas of sexual attraction and behavior.  A decade ago Larry Summers resigned from the Harvard University presidency due to the outrage over his referring to these well-established brain differences.
Ch. 3 He shows that boys have a far greater risk tolerance than girls, which is also clearly evident in primate species such as monkeys, baboons and chimpanzees.
Ch. 4 He cites the CDC to show that boys today are four times more likely to be overweight than they were 40 years ago and recommends steering boys toward active and aggressive sports such as soccer, football and hockey.
Ch. 5 He finds that sex differences are acute when it comes to handling stress: girls prefer to be with others while boys prefer to be alone.
Ch. 6 He notes that girls often drop out of sports because they feel that they are being stared at by boys (and even men), so this may be a good reason to establish girls-only sports and PE classes.
Ch. 7 He makes the strong case that eating supper with one’s kids promotes stronger bonds and helps both boys and girls avoid the peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
Ch. 8 He contends that it is important for parents to be authority figures and not merely friends with their kids: this is particularly true for girls 12 and under and boys 14 and under.
Ch. 9 He refers to the “anomalous male syndrome” and states that much of their behavior can be traced to having an over-protective parent. This becomes even more important because 40% of American kids (50% of Hispanic and 72% of black ones) are born into single-parent homes.
Ch. 10 He quotes psychologist Jean Twengy: ” Kids today are significantly more depressed than kids were in the 50’s and 60’s: in fact, the average child today is more anxious than the typical child referred to a psychiatrist in the 1950’s.” Sax feels that this is partly due to today’s gender-confusion as evidenced by Facebook’s choice of over 50 “genders” one can choose to identify with.

In conclusion, Sax states that “trying to understand a child without understanding the role of gender is like trying to understand a child’s behavior without knowing their age.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: