Msnowe's Blog

Literary Libido Loser

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on September 9, 2009
This is your brain on poor research and skewed agendas

This is your brain on poor research and skewed agendas

Best Seller. Riddled with errors. All the worse because some of these errors actually reverse maybe thirty-odd (and even) years of feminist gains. m.snowe has many issues with this book, The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine (and she hasn’t even finished it yet!). But here’s a quick run down: The audience is clearly only women, and the author writes as if she’s talking to her girlfriends. Also, she and her girlfriends are still in highschool. Because women are the obvious audience, this book is peddling “science” as a confirmation of many stereotypical, sexist, completely un-feminist notions that seemingly want to survive like cockroaches in nuclear winter (which actually is kind of a lie, too, by the way). What is m.snowe talking about? All that “no honey, not tonight” business. Or that “the bitch just won’t shut up” crap. In fact, this book has already received press and fake accolades for its scientific errors, including one that error that claimed women said 3 times as many words on average as men each day. False. So this book even won the 2006 Becky Award, that “goes to people or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation.” Congrats!

It really makes m.snowe mad when people promote this kind of 50’s era backward thinking. It makes her even more mad when even women claim “it’s science.” This is the same argument used against women in sports, in the workplace, and guess what: even math and science! But what’s even, even, even worse about this book is not that the misinformation could make women feel like what their grandmothers told them about sex was true–it’s the serious lack of foresight and research that could really cause women harm. Even the author admits that 4 in 10 women have suffered some kind of sexual abuse, whether during childhood, or later on (we haven’t confirmed these numbers with any actual outside sources, but m.snowe thinks its fair to say that this is probably pretty close). So let’s say you are one of these 4 out of 10 women. Let’s say, even, that you were raped. Now, please read the following quotes from Dr. Brizendine’s chapter, “Sex: The Brain Below the Belt.”:

“Female sexual turn-on begins, ironically, with a brain turn-off. The impulses can rush to the pleasure centers and trigger orgasms only if the amygdala–the fear and anxiety center of the brain–has been deactivated.”

“The fact that a woman requires this extra neurological step may account for why it takes her on average three to ten times longer…”

“If you’re not relaxed, comfortable, warm, and cozy, it’s not likely to happen.”

Okay, so that’s the Brizendine take. But there have been many instances where people who are sexually abused actually reach orgasm. m.snowe’s guess is that while they were being raped or abused in some way, these women were not in a comfort zone, and their feet were not being kept warm and cozy (really? scientific research on cozy feet?) As a legitimate scientific journal explains: “A woman can become aroused, her body can produce natural lubrication, and she can even experience orgasm(s) against her will while being raped.” (Roy J. Levin; Willy van Berlo (2004-04). “Sexual arousal and orgasm in subjects who experience forced or non-consensual sexual stimulation – a review”. Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine ( 11 (2): 82-88.)

This is more a factor of the woman’s body protecting itself–these processes are necessary so that all a lady’s lady-parts don’t get really damaged during a sexual encounter–be it rape or an actual consensual event. As a “neuropsychiatrist” or whatever the hell this lady is, Brizendine should know better than to suggest you “must be” one way in order to orgasm, unless she is really looking to create more patients, as the women who read this and did experience some form of orgasm during an abusive situation are completely distraught by the fact that they were “comfortable” or “cozy” with their rapist. Quick, marry him!

Really, should we be surprised? Apparently this doctor is more than just that, she’s a product herself. Just take a gander at her website, if you dare. m.snowe won’t judge her by her pictures, some of which are too similar to Sarah Palin for comfort, but she doesn’t mind if the more shallowly-inclined among you do. (Disclaimer: Brizendine has advanced degrees, has done well for herself and obviously one of her goals must be advancing and improving the lives of women–and for that, m.snowe respects that. But that doesn’t mean we have to agree with her opinions, agenda, or the way she writes!)

Postscript: m.snowe couldn’t find out if the good doctor is religious, but her whole “if you’re in a loving and committed relationship you’re more likely to have better orgasms” sounds a bit too much like: “Married sex is totes the best!” Also, it grates against the doctor’s other claim, that women are similarly likely to go out and look for hot sex with “more symmetrically pleasing” guys than the ones they are in said committed love-nests with. Sigh.

7 Responses

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  1. Danielle said, on September 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Did you read this? Pregnancy makes you retarded and motherhood is the cure! Thanks, Louann, for freaking me the fuck out.

  2. msnowe said, on September 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Clearly whoever wrote that study was pregnant at the time. I also contend Louann is in a state of constant Baby Brain.

  3. msnowe said, on September 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    And yes, I realize whoever wrote it is male.

  4. fictionadvocate said, on September 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Ron Burgundy: “I’m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am. You’re just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It’s science.”

    Neuroscience keeps getting abused and misinterpreted in order to appeal to popular audiences. Somehow we persist in believing that A) we can understand the brain, B) correlation between brain activity and behavior is indicative of a causal relationship, and C) the brain is the “control center” for the entire body, mind, and spirit. All of which is just wrong. In addition to being surprised and disgusted at the conclusions Brizendine is drawing about women, we should be surprised and disgusted by the way she’s perpetuating popular misconceptions about the uses of neuroscience.

    Also, I like the movie “Anchorman.”

    • msnowe said, on September 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm

      Bartender: You know, times are changing. Ladies can do stuff now and you’re going to learn how to deal with it.

      I agree to A, B, & C. It’s a sad, sad day for ladies and neuroscience when smut like this gets printed. Of course, to me, writing about neuroscience in the way this author does is just about as “science-y” as literary analysis. Sure, maybe we will be able to discover every single fact about the synapses, hormones, etc. in the brain, just like we could define/map every sentence in fiction–but there is no way to completely understand or evaluate the brain, and what comes out of it onto a page. Neuroscience has become it’s own form of critical literary and social analysis, and I’m not really a big fan–didn’t we discount psychoanalytic exegesis of texts years ago?

    • Danielle said, on September 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      My control center is located in a secret, hidden sack behind my left knee.

  5. […] discredits crap like “The Female Brain,” which, if you don’t remember, m.snowe didn’t respect. Mostly, the idea that “my hormones made me do it” made […]

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