PODCAST EP.9 - CAITLIN MORAN

Posted: 21st November 2015

Didn't do one of these for Rob Delaney last week. No disrespect to Rob. I was just struggling to stay afloat so cut myself some slack.

Podcast number 9 features a conversation between myself and Cailtin Moran, fast talking writer of funny and thoughtful things about how we treat each other in the modern age.

There's other stuff too, but that's the stuff I like especially. Our convo was recorded in Caitlin's kitchen on a rainy November 5th afternoon in North London. We talked about driving lessons, making fearful judgements after terror attacks (though as we spoke the Paris attacks hadn't occurred obviously), feminism and Caitlin's 'Feminist Smile', wee wee dribbles, a tense encounter with Paul McCartney and a wonderful one with Lady Gaga.

RE. DIFFERENCES IN MALE/FEMALE BEHAVIOUR

Are men and women hard wired to think and behave differently or is it all Jordan and Jeremy Clarkson's fault? Trying to understand more about that question made me search for something to read that had some scientific basis to it but wasn't so dense that it would be impossible to understand without a degree in neuroscience.

After reading a lot of reviews I ended up with THE FEMALE BRAIN by Louann Brizendine, then having read angry criticisms of that book I bought DELUSIONS OF GENDER by Cordelia Fine. That book immediately made me embarrassed that I'd lapped up so many of Louann Brizendine's theories about why men and women act differently in certain ways. But perhaps I was just lapping too eagerly once again?! What am I, some kind of short hairy lap dancer? That's not a good analogy in this context, but you know what I mean.

This morning I got this message from a podcat called Jon: With reference to your comments about brain gender at the beginning of the Caitlin Moran podcast. The consensus within mainstream neuroscience and psychology is that brain gender is influenced by BOTH nature and nurture. Melissa Hines, Director of Cambridge University’s Hormones and Behaviour Research Lab (arguably the UK’s leading expert in this field) uses the Brizendine and Fine books you mentioned at the beginning of (a) panel debate (see below) to illustrate how the evidence is often distorted to support polemical arguments. There’s currently a poor public understanding of the science in this area which, as Hines comments towards the end of the debate, is partly because of mass-market books like these which are written to pander to people’s prejudices. In short, it’s fine to criticise Brizendine’s book, but I wouldn’t recommend Fine’s book in it’s stead, as it’s just as prejudiced, albeit in the opposite direction.

Thanks Jon. And here's that panel debate:

Well, that clears all that up then... The last word (here at least) goes to my daughter. I love you, bye. Adam

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Podcast music/jingles by Adam Buxton except outro music bed from 'Wario’s Woods' game (Dr Buckles remix. Music composed by Shinobu Amayake, Soyo Oka, 1994)

ILLUSTRATION BY SALLY GROSART

PS: Caitlin's Feminist Smile put me in mind of one of my favourite bits of video art: William Wegman's 'Stomach Song' (circa 1970)