Cover image for The natural superiority of women
The natural superiority of women
Montagu, Ashley, 1905-1999.
Personal Author:
Fifth edition.
Publication Information:
Walnut Creek, Calif. : AltaMira Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
335 pages ; 24 cm
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" doesn't equal "Y" -- The sexual superiority of the female -- Are women more emotional than men? -- Was it true about women? -- The intelligence of the sexes -- Women and creativity -- The genius of woman as the genius of humanity -- Mutual aid -- Changing traditions -- Woman's task.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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HQ1206 .A68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.

Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Susan Sperling
About the Authorp. 8
Forewardp. 11
Preface to the Fifth Editionp. 41
Preface to the First Editionp. 43
Prologuep. 45
1 The Natural Superiority of Womenp. 49
2 The Subjection of Womenp. 65
3 The Social Determinants of Biological "Facts" and Social Consequencesp. 91
4 Who Said, "The Inferior Sex"?p. 111
5 When "X" Doesn't Equal "Y"p. 127
6 The Sexual Superiority of the Femalep. 141
7 Are Women More Emotional Than Men?p. 151
8 Was It True About Women?p. 181
9 The Intelligence of the Sexesp. 187
10 Women and Creativityp. 203
11 The Genius of Woman as the Genius of Humanityp. 229
12 Mutual Aidp. 241
13 Changing Traditionsp. 257
14 Woman's Taskp. 279
Appendix A United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Womenp. 291
Appendix B On the Origins of My Views on the Natural Superiority of Womenp. 297
Notesp. 303
Indexp. 325