The Psychology of Sex
Glenn Wilson on Female Truth
Apart from different interests, it seems that women operate with a rather different belief system from men. While men value logic and empirical fact, women often prefer mystical, magical views of life and the world. For example, in a survey I conducted of over four thousand ordinary British adults, women emerged as much more superstitious and religious than men. Thirty-nine per cent of women believed in astrology, compared with 22 per cent of men, 18 per cent of women believed in palm-reading, as opposed to 7 per cent of men, and 42 per cent of women believed in life after death, compared with 29 per cent of men. On the other hand, more men than women believed in UFOs (30 per cent as opposed to 26 per cent of women). As in many aspects of life, men and women often seem to think differently.
As more women enter the social sciences, there are signs of pressure towards redefining the concept of truth in female favour. In a recent book called Feminism and Freedom, New York philosopher Michael Levin (1988) argues that many feminists begin by evading the evidence of innate and profound male-female differences and then proceed to deny the concept of truth itself. He quotes feminist academics as follows:
‘Truth, reality and objectivity are all in trouble from our point of view; we see a male-created truth, a male point of view, a male-defined objectivity.’ (Ruth Bleier in Science and Gender)
‘The postulate of value-free research, of neutrality and indifference towards the research objects, has to be replaced by conscious partiality...’ (Renate Klein)
‘Feminism withdraws from the patriarchal construction of reality.’ (Blanche Dubois)
Levin gives many other examples of the feminist argument that scientific truth as we once knew it must give way to new female-centred modes of thinking in which objective facts are treated as less important than intuition, values and political ends.
Glenn Wilson, The Great Sex Divide, pp. 142-143. Peter Owen (London) 1989; Scott-Townsend (Washington D.C.) 1992.