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Cambridge University is a Women's Kindergarten: a review of The Essential Difference, by Simon Baron-Cohen*

© Peter Zohrab 2009

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This book is interesting and well-written.  However, the point of this review is to discuss the dumbing-down of Western universities which has resulted from the political power of Feminists in such institutions.

Even a Kindergarten child has, I assume, the intelligence to avoid self-contradition.  This intelligence is ironed out of them, as children progress through feminised Western education systems, and as they learn that what matters is to agree with Feminist women.


The Politics

This book first makes claims about the differences between the average male brain and the average female brain and then explains autism as an extreme version of the average male brain.  What I am interested in discussing here is the first part of the book  -- the differences between males and females.

Ideologically, Baron-Cohen (professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cambridge University) makes it clear that he is in favour of "equality" between men and women, but that he fears that Feminists may react negatively to the fact that he is claiming that male and female brains are, on average, different from each other.  From a Men's Rights point of view, I should perhaps commend him for criticising not only sexist jokes about women, but also sexist jokes about men.  He may think me ungrateful for feeling that that is not enough!

What we have here is an academic who appears to have the courage to stand up to political pressure from Feminists in a university context.  This commendable courage is less startling when seen against the background change in intellectual fashions which he himself describes, whereby it is now relatively common for genetic, and not just environmental, differences between men and women to be researched into. 

Nevertheless, the scenario appears to be one where an individual male academic is making a more or less courageous stand against more-or-less organised Feminist pressure.  By this I mean that Feminists are organised into networks, associations and institutions such as Women's Studies departments.  In addition, it appears from what he says that Baron-Cohen's colleagues are mainly female.  So he is dependent, on a day-to-day basis, on not offending too many of these females too severely or too often in his writings.  Psychology is a female-dominated field, anyway.

Right after outlining the book's main thesis (see below), Baron-Cohen plunges straight into the politics of the issue:

Will this theory provide grist for those reactionaries who might wish to defend existing inequalities in opportunities for men and women in society?  The nervousness of those readers might not dissipate until they are persuaded that this theory can be used progressively. 

Why does an ostensibly scientific (albeit popular-scientific) work have to give such prominence to political issues?  The answer, of course, is that academia is a generally left-wing, totalitarian environment, which runs on the antithesis to Deng Xiao Ping's famous slogan, which (antithesis) I formulate as follows:

Who cares if a cat can catch mice, as long as it is red?

The terms reactionaries and progressively are left-wing, politically biased terms.  I am sure that many Feminists regard me, for example, as reactionary and themselves as progressive, whereas I regard myself as progressive and not reactionary, and I apply a lot of other, negative epithets to Feminists.




One of the best features of this book is that it states its main thesis on page1:


The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy.  The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems.


So the female brain is an empathizing brain and the male brain is a systemizing brain, according to him.  Naturally, I wanted to see how he defined these crucial terms, and this is where the book trips up and falls over rather heavily.  Either it falls over because Baron-Cohen's brain (as he admits himself) is not a systemizing brain, or it is because his working or publishing environment is such that he has to say nice things about women.

On page 2, he states:

Empathizing is the drive to identify another person's emotions and thoughts, and to respond to them with an appropriate emotion. 



Note the word appropriate, which is a crucial sticking-point.  He does not define appropriate.  You may think that is unnecessary, since the word apparently has a totally straightforward meaning, viz:

suitable, proper (Concise Oxford English Dictionary, tenth ed., revised).

However, Feminists often use a "mother-talk" version of this word, whereby appropriate means morally suitable/proper.  This appears to be what Baron-Cohen means -- strange as it may seem, in a scientific context.

For example, on pages 26-7, after mentioning sympathy as being one form of empathy, Baron-Cohen goes on to say:

But in other empathic reactions there is a different, still appropriate, emotional response to someone else's feelings.  Perhaps you feel anger (at the system) in response to the homeless person's sadness, or fear (for his safety), or guilt (over your inability to help him):  these feelings are based on empathy.  Feeling pleasure, or smugness, or hate towards him would not be empathic reactions, since none of these emotions is appropriate to his emotion.

So Baron-Cohen is really using the word appropriate as a synonym for nice.  From a detached, scientific point of view, it is perfectly appropriate to feel pleasure or smugness in reaction to someone else's sadness -- but it is certainly not nice or morally proper.


Nice Women

I don't see why I should have to expend so much effort to work out what a Cambridge Professor (no less !) should have made clear himself.   What Baron-Cohen appears to mean by empathizing, then, can be made clear by rewriting his definition as follows:

Empathizing is the drive to identify another person's emotions and thoughts, and to respond to them with a morally proper (nice) emotion. 

Here is another crucial point:  Baron-Cohen is saying that the female brain (unlike the male brain) is hard-wired to be nice.  That is a Feminist tenet if I've ever seen one ! 



Now we get to the self-contradiction which I referred to at the start of this article.  Baron-Cohen maintains that the female brain is hard-wired to be nice.  Since I experience, day-to-day, how women treat you in Western societies if you dare to have opinions that they don't like, I find that notion utterly ludicrous!  The notion that women are nice and men are evil is a central feature of contemporary Feminism, and is closely linked to Feminist lies and half-truths about Domestic Violence, for example.

On page 35, Baron-Cohen says the following:

... it is ... the case that indirect aggression (the more female kind) needs better mindreading skills than does direct aggression (the more male kind).  This is because its impact is strategic: you hurt person A by saying something negative about them to person B.  Indirect aggression also involves deception: the aggressor can deny any malicious intent if challenged.

It is hard to see why indirect aggression is a form of empathy, if feeling smugness, hate or pleasure at someone else's sadness is not an example of empathy.  Having stated on pages 26-7 that the female brain is intrinsically nice, Baron-Cohen gives an example of its greater nastiness (than the male brain) on page 35!



So Cambridge University, like most other Western universities, is a women's kindergarten.  Whether involuntarily (because they have been brainwashed by their Feminist environment) or deliberately (because they are Feminist activists, or merely afraid for their careers), academics churn out slipshod and even self-contradictory drivel which pleases their Feminist mistresses.  This has severe implications for the ability of non-Feminist men to succeed in higher education.   

On page 26, Baron-Cohen discusses what he calls the "cognitive" component of empathy (as well as the "affective" component).  It seems clear that the female brain's empathy has a much less impressive cognitive component than does the male brain's systemizing, which does not seem to have anything other than a cognitive component.  Add to this the fact that the female brain is smaller than the male brain (even after body-size is taken into account), and that anthropologists routinely interpret hominid brain-size as a measure of intelligence.  Maybe anthropologists are making simplistic assumptions (after all, we keep hearing stories about the intelligence of several bird species), or maybe the Feminist universities and the Feminist Psychology industry are designing IQ tests that conceal from us the fact that women are just (comparatively) dumb!


* Baron-Cohen, Simon, The Essential Difference: Male and Female Brains and the Truth About Autism, 2004, New York : Basic Books.


See also:




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

25 January 2021