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Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Miseducation of Women, by James Tooley

Mr. Tooley is a professor in England. He takes issue with the way in which feminists have steered education policies in the Western world for the past 30+ years. He distinguishes between those feminists, whom he calls 'equality' feminists, who believe there are no differences between men and women and therefore seek to make everything equal between men and women, and 'liberation' feminists who believe there are differences between men and women and that these differences ought to be celebrated. It is the 'equality' feminists who have had their way with education.

Mr. Tooley believes this educational direction is fundamentally wrong and helps lead to the Bridget Jones Syndrome: women reaching their thirties and realizing that they're not happy with the path they followed, that of career first and family second, and longing to get married and have children. Mr. Tooley argues that women aren't being prepared when they are young students for the fact that when they become women they might not want to have a high-flying career, or at any rate not at the expense of having a family.

Mr. Tooley analyzes the writings of prominent early feminists, such as Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Freidan, and Germaine Greer. He suggests that Mrs. Freidan and Ms. Greer have altered their original positions significantly, and that de Beauvoir wrote as she did in order to please Sartre.

He examines scientific evidence through the lens of evolutionary psychology, and concludes that there are biological differences between men and women, and that these differences ought to be celebrated.

I largely agree with the position he argues for, but find the idea of evolutionary psychology to be highly amusing. Mr. Tooley actually suggests that women have evolved an adaptation which suppresses their children's resemblance to mom and maximizes their children's resemblance to dad in order to 'enmesh' the fathers of their children, so the father will hang around and support mom and child.

I was most interested in this book in light of my interest in demography, in particular the reasons why birth rates are dropping around the world, and as it relates to such books as Manning Up.

My friend, who loaned this book to me months ago, will be pleased to receive it back shortly.


  1. Shrinking populations in Greece and the other nations of Europe is one of the main reasons why these countries are going broke. Their social programs such as 'free' gov't sponsored health care and early retirement is based on the premise of many, many young and healthy workers paying into the system to support early retirement and other social programs. The problem is that the populations are shrinking and thus there are less and less young workers supporting the social programs and more and more retirees accessing the benefits. The result: these countries are going broke.

  2. You're right. America is just about the only Western nation with a replacement birth rate. Practically all other Western nations are going to implode shortly.