Do radical feminists have extreme male-pattern brains?

Lizzie Cornish’s comments about a possible link between feminism and autism brought to mind my own reflections on the matter, some of which were contained in my book David and Goliatha (2010). It’s now out of print, but all the content is in The Glass Ceiling Delusion (2011).

Many years ago Simon Baron-Cohen, a world-renowned psychology professor at Cambridge University – and author of The Essential Difference – revealed that autism is an expression of an extreme male-pattern brain. Autism is far commoner in males than females, and in Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning autism) the gender imbalance is even higher.

We strongly recommend the book We Are Our Brains by a renowned Dutch neuroscientist with an unfortunate name, Dick Swaab. In the book he explains there are now known to be ‘many hundreds’ of differences between male-pattern and female-pattern brains. Also, both ‘mental’ gender identity and sexuality are determined at a different point in pregnancy than ‘physical’ gender identity.

A small minority of women are autistic, having extreme male-pattern brains. A small minority of women are radical feminists. A poorly developed sense of humour is common among autistic people, as Lizzie explains. If there is a link between feminism and autism, we would expect radical feminists in particular to be humourless, and of course they reliably are. We shouldn’t be surprised to find many radical feminists are lesbians, and of course lesbians have always been disproportionately influential in feminist circles. We shouldn’t be surprised to find many women with male gender identities are angry at their condition, and anger is as much a defining characteristic of radical feminists as humourlessness.

It would be a simple task to establish experimentally whether radical feminists have male-pattern brains, through FMRI scanning. If they do – as I strongly suspect – we need to start treating radical feminists as women with a condition that may require professional support, rather than turning the world upside down in an utterly futile attempt to placate them.

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