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The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages? Hardcover – 4 Oct 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition, First Printing edition (4 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199214476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199214471
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

immensely readable (Red Pepper Magazine)

a brilliant and timely book. (Katharine Viner, The Guardian)

I sensed early on in this delightfully spiky book that Deborah Cameron - an Oxford professor of language and communication - would give a first-class kros, and enjoy it, too. (Susannah Herbert, The Sunday Times)

Cameron, skilled at deflating the sweeping generalisations of others. (Susannah Herbert, The Sunday Times)

[A] vigorously argued book (The Guardian)

Fascinating, insightful, comprehensive...you'll just have to read it for yourself. (www.thefword.org.uk)

short and enjoyable read (Sarah Ensor, Socialist Review)

About the Author

Deborah Cameron is Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford. An internationally-known researcher in the field of language and gender studies, she is the author / editor of several academic books on the subject, as well as many articles.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Like the previous reviewer, I read extracts of this book in the Guardian. Normally with excerpted books, even if I enjoy the extract, I figure they've printed the most interesting bit and don't bother reading the whole book. In this case I felt almost desperate to get my hands on it- and wasn't disappointed. The book is both scholarly and very readable, sometimes humorous, but rightly angry and disturbing in parts. It is full of tips drawn from real research that you can use to counteract anyone spouting Mars & Venus type myths about men and women. If you grew up, as I did, in a non-sexist family, in a very anti-sexist country (New Zealand) and came of age at the peak of feminist consciousness, you may be as dismayed as I am about the return to intensive gender stereotyping in the world. This book helps counterbalance some of that. That said, there is a weird dissonance between the design of the book itself and the content- the cover makes it look like some piece of chick-lit, and the funky-friendly fonts inside really jar with what the words are actually saying. Deeply ironic given the subject matter. Bizarre decision by the publishers.
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Format: Hardcover
Extremely accessible and enjoyable, this book is an important read for anyone frustrated with the pop-science arguments which have become so popular to justify notions of difference between the sexes. For me the basic point made is an epistemological one. The book explains how many pop-science arguments take myth, conjecture or unprovable assumptions as their starting point before making ingenious arguments which simply lead full circle to explain the assumptions/prejudice they started out with. But the text is brilliantly simple without any academic jargon (like 'epistemology') AT ALL and many humorous and warm points. This book is a fun, accessible and important read for anyone who feels bamboozled by sexist pop science, as well as anyone who is not quite sure what feminists are still going on about.
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Format: Paperback
After years of the media digging up every gender stereotype conceivable and labelling it "science" we finally have someone who actually has the sense to not only debunk the myth but really be honest about why the myth of Mars and Venus has been given such attention in recent years.

For anyone who looks at the "stupid male" stereotypes on TV and blames it on feminism they should read this book because they will see that the Mars/Venus revival is actually responsible for such awful stereotypes and that feminists like Cameron challenge gender stereotypes regardless of the gender they are targeting.

I also loved Cameron's sense of humour - very sharp and to the point. My only disagreement is that whilst she argued extensively against the cultural relativism of Deborah Tannen's "You just don't understand", their arguments at times seemed very similar. Excellent book though.
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Format: Paperback
If you have always found those books which attempt to say men and women cannot communicate properly unless one of them makes changes in the way they use language then this is the book for you. The author writes with an accessible style and draws on a great deal of research which has been carried out into gender differences and similarities. One of the main points she makes is that research studies showing little difference in the way men and women use language do not make headline news - only the ones which appear to show differences.

She demolishes many of the myths about the differences but she also suggests that many of us - and the media - have an interest in maintaining those myths. We've all heard the one about women talking more than men but in fact most studies have shown that the opposite is true. Women gossip more than men? Not true - both men and women gossip but men think of it as an exchange of information.

The author points out changes in society have caused anxiety for some people and these are the ones who are likely to fix on gender differences as being fundamentally unchangeable in an attempt to turn back the clock. It's the syndrome of nailing everything down to stop it changing. The overall message from this book is that there are more differences between members of the same sex in the way they use language or the style of their communication than there is between the sexes. What the research undertaken in this area does tell us is far more interesting than the `familiar Mars and Venus platitudes'.

This very readable and thought provoking little book refers to many less well known research studies and provides notes to each chapter and index. There are plenty of references for listed if readers want further information.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating and engagingly written riposte on the deluge of self-help books focussed on differences between the genders. Plenty of science and reputable evidence to back up the claims made, this book should be mandatory reading for anyone who's read Mars & Venus or any books of that ilk, if only to see the other side of the story.
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Format: Paperback
I thought I'd enjoy this more than I did. I studied English Language at university and I'm interested in gender differences so thought a book about language and gender would interest me.

It isn't a bad book and is probably worth reading if you previously thought there was a large difference between how men and women communicated, but for someone like me - who is used to more academic books - I wouldn't recommend it.

It wasn't a terrible book, but while the writer complains about how writers talking about differences in men and women's speech don't back their arguments up with facts, I felt that there weren't enough documented studies in this book. I know that finding studies that report 'no differences' aren't often reported, but I would have enjoyed deeper descriptions of the studies that were mentioned. Some of the studies I'd previously read myself, but most people won't have.

The book focused on speech, hardly touched on writing and didn't even mention internet communication as far as I remember. Despite my moans there were interesting parts; for example, I didn't know that in some other cultures women are the ones associated with swearing and directness and it is men lauded for their subtleties of speech.

This is likely a very good book for dispelling untruths about the differences between men and women's communication with some interesting points, but could do with a slightly more structured, academic approach.
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