The Natural Superiority of Women

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Rowman Altamira, 1999 - Political Science - 335 pages
3 Reviews
Among the central issues of the modern feminist movement, the debate over biology and culture over sex and gender, over genetics and gender roles has certainly been one of the most passionately contested. Making revolutionary arguments upon its first publication in 1953, The Natural Superiority of Women stands as one of the original feminist arguments against biological determinism. An iconoclast, Montagu wielded his encyclopedic knowledge of physical anthropology in critique of the conventional wisdom of women as the "weaker sex," showing how women's biological, genetic, and physical makeup made her not only man's equal, but his superior. Also a humanist, Montagu points to the emotional and social qualities typically ascribed to and devalued in women as being key to just social life and relationships. Subsequent editions of this book have provided additional support for Montagu's arguments, examining both biological and social scientific data of the late 20th century. One of the most broadly renowned and read scholars of our century, Montagu brings out this fifth edition with up-to-date statistics and references. A lengthy foreword by Susan Sperling contextualizes the book within the intellectual histories of feminism and anthropology, noting the huge social and intellectual changes that are spanned in Montagu's life and writing. Montagu's foundational book is an important addition to the library of all gender scholars.

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In the first ten years of publication, this book was available in every Australian university and public library. However, in my 60 years living in Australia, I have never seen it cited in any publications in Australia: academic, public press, (radio, tv, internet, forums, conferences, feminist-type groups, nor other of the many groups that I attended in three of Australia's most important cities (Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne).
This book can only be borrowed by inter-library loan now, or bought on the Internet for private use in Australia. Ashley Montagu seems to have made little impact on this planet. He remains however my favorite "idol" and role model.


The Natural Superiority of Women
The Subjection of Women
The Social Determinants of Biological Facts and Social Consequences
Who Said The Inferior Sex?
When X Doesnt Equal Y
The Sexual Superiority of the Female
Are Women More Emotional Than Men?
Women and Creativity
The Genius of Woman as the Genius of Humanity
Mutual Aid
Changing Traditions
Womans Task
United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
On the Origins of My Views on the Natural Superiority of Women

Was It True About Women?
The Intelligence of the Sexes

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Page 17 - The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shewn by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman- whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.

References to this book

When God was a Woman
Merlin Stone
Limited preview - 1978
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About the author (1999)

Ashley Montagu is a writer, editor, and anthropologist. He was born in London, England, on June 28, 1905. Montagu studied psychology and anthropology at the University of London and the University of Florence. For nearly twenty years, Montagu taught anatomy at New York University, Hahnemann Medical College, and Rutgers University. He became the chairman of the anthropology department at Rutgers. Montagu is the author or editor of more than 60 books. He has written articles for such magazines as The Ladies Home Journal and The Saturday Review. Montagu received numerous awards and honors, including the Distinguished Achievement Award of The American Anthropological Association and the Darwin Award of the Society of American Physical Anthropologists.

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