Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MALE AND FEMALE by Margaret Mead


by Margaret Mead

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1929
ISBN: 0060934964
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Sub-titled "A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World", this tri-partite analysis, based on anthropological insights, examines firstly the differences and the similarities of the bodies of human beings on which our concepts of sex are built; secondly the problems of sex in society, in family life; and finally, the sexes in contemporary America. The first part, which concerns the anatomical differences between male and female, the vulnerabilities and handicaps, limitations and potentialities of these sex differences is drawn from Margaret Mead's already well known observation of South Sea societies. Here there is little cause for controversy. But as she extends her survey of patterns, attitudes, into contemporary life, the "scientific" method often relaxes into loose generalization and seemingly easy conclusions. These sections show modern man- and modern woman- at work and at play; the male parental role; the struggle of men over women, now shifted to the struggle of women over men; questions of sexual potency and receptivity; human reproduction- how many children, how few; the expected childhood experience (this is most certainly the "expected childhood experience" of the 1920's, not the 1940's); patterns of marriage, family life, the home; and the success standard which motivates all behavior in America today ... An extensive, expansive study which is not a flattering one, but will find its audience among those who liked Geoffrey Gorer's The American People (Norton), etc.