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In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development

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This book started a revolution. Published decades ago, it made women's voices heard, in their own right, with their own integrity, for virtually the 1st time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate & continues in the academic world & beyond. Translated into 16 languages, with over 750,000 copies sold. In a Different Voice has inspired new rese This book started a revolution. Published decades ago, it made women's voices heard, in their own right, with their own integrity, for virtually the 1st time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate & continues in the academic world & beyond. Translated into 16 languages, with over 750,000 copies sold. In a Different Voice has inspired new research, new educational initiatives & political debate--& helped many women & men to see themselves & each other in a different light. Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently & systematically misunderstood women: their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth & their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology's misperceptions & refocus its view of female personality. The result is a tour de force, which may reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience. Acknowledgments Introduction Woman's place in man's life cycle Images of relationship Concepts of self & morality Crisis & transition Women's rights & women's judgment Visions of maturity References Index of Study Participants General Index


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This book started a revolution. Published decades ago, it made women's voices heard, in their own right, with their own integrity, for virtually the 1st time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate & continues in the academic world & beyond. Translated into 16 languages, with over 750,000 copies sold. In a Different Voice has inspired new rese This book started a revolution. Published decades ago, it made women's voices heard, in their own right, with their own integrity, for virtually the 1st time in social scientific theorizing about women. Its impact was immediate & continues in the academic world & beyond. Translated into 16 languages, with over 750,000 copies sold. In a Different Voice has inspired new research, new educational initiatives & political debate--& helped many women & men to see themselves & each other in a different light. Gilligan believes that psychology has persistently & systematically misunderstood women: their motives, their moral commitments, the course of their psychological growth & their special view of what is important in life. Here she sets out to correct psychology's misperceptions & refocus its view of female personality. The result is a tour de force, which may reshape much of what psychology now has to say about female experience. Acknowledgments Introduction Woman's place in man's life cycle Images of relationship Concepts of self & morality Crisis & transition Women's rights & women's judgment Visions of maturity References Index of Study Participants General Index

30 review for In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

    Very thought-provoking and led to some of the better discussions I had in my first year of college, but I reject many of the premises Gilligan launches from, namely, that there's some essential nature to female psychology and male psychology--or at least the type of highly specified nature she ends up positing. I think human psychology is a much more fractured and varied set of phenomena than this and that the landscape of large-scale generalizations about gender traits (though sometimes useful Very thought-provoking and led to some of the better discussions I had in my first year of college, but I reject many of the premises Gilligan launches from, namely, that there's some essential nature to female psychology and male psychology--or at least the type of highly specified nature she ends up positing. I think human psychology is a much more fractured and varied set of phenomena than this and that the landscape of large-scale generalizations about gender traits (though sometimes useful if done carefully and based on solid empirical findings) is an area to tread very cautiously through. Gilligan does not tread so cautiously. Big, big, big methodological problems with her research. She basically drew gigantic conclusions from extremely small samples of psychological questionnaires. She also never submitted her research and subsequent interpretations for pre-publishing peer-review, which even back when this was written raises a bright red flag and goes against a very important standard of scientific protocol, even for the so-called "soft-science" of psychology. Peer-review is one of the things that separates the rigor and integrity of science from the wild guessing games of other styles of inquiry. This book essentially trades some negative over-generalizations about women for flattering ones--and visa-versa for males. Much of it sounds really great at first, but then you leave your thinking cap on a little longer and much of it unravels in your hands, right before your eyes. An important work, no doubt, but I think it's incredibly dated and ultimately unhelpful as a piece of the gender equality puzzle. (It should also be said that I should read this again, though I suspect it might result in an even more negative review than this one. My memory of the book on the whole is still a little fuzzy, but I certainly recall enough of it to write this much.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bookshark

    I will start off by noting that of course this book is dated and eminently critique-able in a number of ways: it's binary, essentialist, complementarist, heteronormative, prescribes a normative view of psychological development that may do damage to any number of abnormal subjects, blinded by whiteness, inadequately class-conscious, generally lacking in intersectionality, rooted in standpoint epistemology, etc.... BUT. It is also profoundly generative and important, and it strongly resonated with I will start off by noting that of course this book is dated and eminently critique-able in a number of ways: it's binary, essentialist, complementarist, heteronormative, prescribes a normative view of psychological development that may do damage to any number of abnormal subjects, blinded by whiteness, inadequately class-conscious, generally lacking in intersectionality, rooted in standpoint epistemology, etc.... BUT. It is also profoundly generative and important, and it strongly resonated with me. It reminded me how much my supposedly enlightened post-structuralist sympathies articulated in relation to (primarily male) theoretical "greats" may in some sense just be a new language for rediscribing what Gilligan contends "women have already known." There's so much here that speaks to me - the idea of the self as embedded in and constituted by a web of social relationships with others; the care of the self as mutually-reinforcing and not necessarily conflicting with those of others; intimacy and identity as inextricably linked; the importance of context over abstraction in moral reasoning, especially when this need for detail is driven by an expansive moral imagination; morality as resolving conflicts in a way that ideally allows us to avoid hurting anyone; the hypothetical moral dilemma as a kind of violence which causes anguish through its positing of conditions of inevitable conflict between moral imperatives while refusing the moral agent the opportunity to try to change the conditions of choice such that everyone can be aided or at least not hurt; moral nihilism as the negation of the self resulting from the negation of social ties; the self as delineated from others on the positive basis of connection rather than the negative basis of separation; the self as the layering of increasingly intimate others with a dubiously-existing and ambiguous core self...for all my dis-identification with traditional femininity I feel this "women's" perspective on morality so strongly that I can't help but love this book on some level.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    I have studied about this book in three of my classes. The context was different each time and the way it was explained was very different as well. So I figured that this is a good book to read to get an insight into my classes (you might think this shows how dedicated I am but really, this is an elaborate way to procrastinate). In Political Science, we went through feminism and brought this up as the difference between feminism that says women are exactly like men and feminism that says that wo I have studied about this book in three of my classes. The context was different each time and the way it was explained was very different as well. So I figured that this is a good book to read to get an insight into my classes (you might think this shows how dedicated I am but really, this is an elaborate way to procrastinate). In Political Science, we went through feminism and brought this up as the difference between feminism that says women are exactly like men and feminism that says that women are different than men and deserve their own space. In my PPE course, we talked about this as a contrasting opinion to Rawl's theory of justice. And in Ethics, we studied about this as a side note for virtue ethics. So my expectations for this book were very high as it felt like it was important. Gilligan's main claim is the idea that women hold a different perspective of ethics. Men talk about ethics as an objective thing that should treat everyone the same. Equality and fairness matter to men when talking about ethics. Women, however, apparently see ethics as contextual. We all have a dependency to those around us which leads to a responsibility. Women ask, "is anyone hurt by this?", according to Gilligan. Ultimately, ethical choices are influenced by human connections and this can't be ignored. When we studied about this in Politics, I thought it was awesome. It's such a great idea, to create policy based on making sure that everyone feels like they are part of the game. I genuinely do feel like if we were to care more about those around us, we'd be able to do so much more in our politics. Like, taking it to Israeli politics, clearly the Arab parties are left out and we've got to let them into the political game in order to improve something. Our lecturer talked a lot about how women change this ethical perspective as they grow. That is, as a woman reaches adulthood, she conforms to the masculine view of ethical judgement. This is also spoken about in the book itself, in Gilligan's abortion study which describes how women grow up being told to care for others and ultimately, feel stuck between the lessons of femininity and the lessons of adulthood. He was really careful about clarifying that it doesn't mean that all women think inherently different than all men. However, the exact same idea annoyed me greatly when we talked about it in Ethics. I entirely disagreed. After class, a few friends and I were all annoyed and interestingly enough, from entirely different reasons. It's probably worth noting that all of my philosophy friends from class are guys. They seemed to think that ethics of care are close to preferring women over men, that feminism has gone overboard. We ended up staying an hour after class arguing about it. The conclusion was that I'm a radical feminist apparently and that Law students have an inferiority complex. I was annoyed by our lecturer making sexist jokes when teaching about this. I felt like he was emphasizing that women see ethics differently when I can't help but feel that the important part of this theory is that we have been ignoring the influence of contexts when discussing ethics. I don't think the biggest idea Gilligan has is that women inherently are different, I think the biggest idea here is that fairness doesn't necessarily mean ethical. I generally feel like this book doesn't quite manage to hold up methodologically if we try to claim that it's this huge generalization about gender. I mean, Gilligan bases herself on 3 studies which are all interviews with around 20 participants. That's hardly valid. Now, if she wishes to claim that there's a different way of looking at ethics, that works but come on, you can hardly say that's valid about all women with that tiny amount of empirical research. I realize this is a psychology book and not a philosophy book but this idea holds up in 2020 only if we ignore the weak empirical evidence Gilligan brings and focus on the ethical implications of ethics. In many ways, this reminded me of that quote about how Chinese philosophy doesn't focus on problems like the Trolley Problem because it's unrealistic and can't give you anything useful for real life problems. You can definitely say that ethics of care also wouldn't be invested in such questions because yes, there is a difference if the people on the train tracks were your family or not. When talking about work, I usually say something like, "I help out" and the other day, my manager was like, "Roni, you don't help out, you're literally managing this". I'm sure Gilligan would suggest that growing up as a woman has led to me feeling like I can't be controlling. However, before I became a manager, I volunteered and maybe the reason why I don't say I'm a manager has to do with that. Or maybe it's an understanding that as a manager, if this goes terribly wrong, I'm responsible (this is a fun understanding that occasionally keeps me up at night). My point here is that everything is so multilayered and I don't understand the benefit of connecting this to gender. And that, shit, can you believe that I'm actually responsible for a thing? I also can't help but think that this connection also leads to ethics of care being taken less seriously or alternatively, being taught in classes just so students will be able to be like, "yay, we studied about women, good to know they did something" and professors will feel good about being "progressive". In conclusion, I'm a little confused as to why this book showed up in so many of my classes. Like, there's constantly a connection between Politics and Economics and this was the first time that there was a connection between Philosophy and Politics. I have to admit that I'm disappointed. I can't say that I actually recommend this book to anyone, reading the Wikipedia article on Ethics of Care will probably be more interesting and provide more information. What I'm Taking With Me -Did you guys know that the Trolley Problem was invented by a woman? - Although I wholeheartedly disagree with Gilligan's work, this isn't going to stop me from citing her in my Political Science essay and claiming that countries are built in such a way that doesn't provide room for ethics of care and that that's a shame because maybe what we need isn't a conversation about equality but rather a conversation about making sure everyone has a seat at the table and figure out who doesn't and why. - Or in other words, would Black Lives Matter exist had there been more black politicians who felt their voices were being heard and acknowledged? - I'm definitely all about people having the room to make their choices about their own bodies but in the same time, this book made me pause and think about abortions. I don't think I've ever considered just what a terrible decision that is and how scarring that can be.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)

    I completely devoured this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This is one of those books that I want to like but just... can't. I'm with her on the idea that we need to include women's perspectives in analyses of developmental psychology, rather than just relying on men's experiences/perceptions/language etc. But she veers soooo close to essentialism in her extended discussions of women's language and emphases on attachment, etc. I was more on board with her argument that "maturity" should include incorporation of both "rights" and "care" positions, where This is one of those books that I want to like but just... can't. I'm with her on the idea that we need to include women's perspectives in analyses of developmental psychology, rather than just relying on men's experiences/perceptions/language etc. But she veers soooo close to essentialism in her extended discussions of women's language and emphases on attachment, etc. I was more on board with her argument that "maturity" should include incorporation of both "rights" and "care" positions, where men became more aware of the value of attachment and women learned to include themselves in the ethics of care (i.e. be able to attend to themselves as well as to others). BUT: have read Arlie Hochschild (and, from a different point of view, Jeanne Boydston's Home and Work) and having thought about emotional labor, I see a big gaping hole there: women continue to be responsible (a word used over and over and over again) for "care" and for maintaining relationships. In the "mature" configuration, they've learned to consider themselves and to practice self-care as well as care for others... but the impression I'm left with is that all the labor involved in "care" still falls to the woman. The woman cares, and others are cared for; does the woman ever receive care from anyone other than herself? Not considering the actions/labor involved in "care" seems to keep women in the position of always being responsible for emotional labor. Additionally, I was bothered by the move Gilligan kept making from "women focus on attachments" to a definition of interdependence that strikes me as problematic and, frankly, naive: the move from a focus on attachments to a belief that all humans are interconnected and we must love everyone. She does acknowledge that the injunction to "never hurt anyone" leads to paralysis. But the blanket "love everyone" model also seems paralyzing, and also erases the reality of preferences by conflating all kinds of love into one giant "love of all humanity." I kept thinking of Gavin de Becker's "Gift of Fear" with its emphasis on how women are socialized into not being allowed to have preferences or to set limits, and how that socialization can make women vulnerable to manipulation. I'm all for attachments being good, but I think much depends on other factors besides just the fact of attachment: who are you attaching to? Can you say no when attachment doesn't feel right, or is attachment in the abstract more important than attachment to specific people? I do think that this was an important book in the early 1980s, and I also think that Gilligan's work has evolved since then in ways I've found interesting and useful (I bought this book after hearing Gilligan speak on the "relational paradox," a term important to my own research, in 1991). I remember arguing about this book several years later with a philosopher friend (a woman) who found it maddeningly essentialist, and it's interesting to find that I now agree.

  6. 4 out of 5

    h

    i am hitting the jackpot on timely reading lately. this ties in to a lot of things i've been thinking about and illuminates some interesting patterns. gilligan's central point (and be aware, this book is about thirty years old and we're talking in broad generalizations that do not apply to everyone) is that the societal paths of development for men and women differ in that men develop along a path measured by individualism and absolute justice while women develop along a path of connectivity. th i am hitting the jackpot on timely reading lately. this ties in to a lot of things i've been thinking about and illuminates some interesting patterns. gilligan's central point (and be aware, this book is about thirty years old and we're talking in broad generalizations that do not apply to everyone) is that the societal paths of development for men and women differ in that men develop along a path measured by individualism and absolute justice while women develop along a path of connectivity. the discrepancy arises in that our societal systems measure women by the same standards as men. and everyone loses out. women do not develop the skills to navigate between their internal value systems that emphasize relationships and collective success and their external value systems that emphasize absolute morality and individual success. men do not develop the tools to integrate a rubric of care and concern into the value system of individual success. what a mess!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Willa

    This is a must for all women (and men....) as it gives a very clear insight in how much we misunderstand ourselves, being so trained to use male measurements and fit into a male world. Every page was a revelation to me, often painful and shocking in its obvious simplicity, about how stunted our understanding of ourselves is, how much we mirror ourselves to a male world, how much we cover up who we really are, try to cope and haven't really taken charge of our own development yet. It leaves big q This is a must for all women (and men....) as it gives a very clear insight in how much we misunderstand ourselves, being so trained to use male measurements and fit into a male world. Every page was a revelation to me, often painful and shocking in its obvious simplicity, about how stunted our understanding of ourselves is, how much we mirror ourselves to a male world, how much we cover up who we really are, try to cope and haven't really taken charge of our own development yet. It leaves big questions with me as to where to go next as women... which of course is going to be our big task for the 21st Century, given that we now have the freedom to explore these questions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Everyone should read this book on ethics of care. Especially now in Poland and other countries which struggle with an abortion ban.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I am inclined to agree with many of the other reviewers in that Gilligan's findings are liberating but a bit shakey because of the small sample she uses to perform her research and for the gravity of the issues she researched such as abortion. While I will cite her work in my own thesis because my professor likes her, I'm not sure that I agree with everything she says. Being written more than 25 years ago, I think that I am living my life understanding the truths that Gilligan wrote about while I am inclined to agree with many of the other reviewers in that Gilligan's findings are liberating but a bit shakey because of the small sample she uses to perform her research and for the gravity of the issues she researched such as abortion. While I will cite her work in my own thesis because my professor likes her, I'm not sure that I agree with everything she says. Being written more than 25 years ago, I think that I am living my life understanding the truths that Gilligan wrote about while I was still in high school. And thankfully, only on very rare occasions have I every come across gender bias and I'm now in my mid-fourties. This is a quick read and it tends to be repetitive and a reader could get the crux of the issue by reading the last chapter.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    The overall premise was interesting, and, as a woman and a professional who relies on psychological developmental theories to inform my work, I appreciate the acknowledgment that women have been largely omitted from these theories. I really liked how Gilligan reconciled the two perspectives as interconnected and necessary to reach mature development. However, I was disappointed that the area of how these differences came to be was not even referred to or hinted at through a lot of the repetitive The overall premise was interesting, and, as a woman and a professional who relies on psychological developmental theories to inform my work, I appreciate the acknowledgment that women have been largely omitted from these theories. I really liked how Gilligan reconciled the two perspectives as interconnected and necessary to reach mature development. However, I was disappointed that the area of how these differences came to be was not even referred to or hinted at through a lot of the repetitiveness of the differences she found in her research, particularly when dealing with identifying differences of a group of people who have been and continue to be marginalized and the potential of negating the validity of the "feminine perspective" as she labels it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Super interesting--probably a bit outdated and maybe even overturned? It was very academic, but such an important analysis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven Fowler

    This book helped change the way I think about ethics and cultural backgrounds and even how one goes about research. Gilligan's book is not and should not be considered in any way supportive of an essentialist argument about what a man's man is and what the fairer sex is. While there are definitive biological and physiological differences, gender differences, those culturally based judgments are rooted not in nature but in fact they come about through nurturing; what we are taught to expect of ou This book helped change the way I think about ethics and cultural backgrounds and even how one goes about research. Gilligan's book is not and should not be considered in any way supportive of an essentialist argument about what a man's man is and what the fairer sex is. While there are definitive biological and physiological differences, gender differences, those culturally based judgments are rooted not in nature but in fact they come about through nurturing; what we are taught to expect of ourselves and others. Now Gilligan's critique, although presented for women, in principle applies to any culturally defined groups and the assumptions we make about them, us and our relations. In terms of scientific research, conclusions are often discovered because they were, perhaps unknowingly, expected from the start and the universalizing of such conclusions is suspect at best. This book, taking issue with Lawrence Kohlberg's research into the psychological development of ethics in the individual which culminates in a what he believed was a universal ethic of justice, shows how this supposedly universal ethic is in fact an artifact of a particular culture, in this case a very narrowly defined segment of American culture in the 20th century, namely straight, white, male youths from the upper-middle class socio-economic level. Her work here shows that there is potentially a fundamental moral developmental track that isn't so based in cultural biases and nurturing, i.e. what we teach our boys to be, but is discovered in the development of girls who, being girls and coming from middle and lower socio-economic levels of society, were largely ignored and developed then in a kind of absence of expectations. This track Gilligan discovered she calls the ethics of Care. I highly recommend this book for anyone doing any sort of research and in particular as an introduction to the pitfalls of not being aware of one's own and one's cultural expectations and presuppositions.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    After reading Carol Gilligan's novel, Kyra, and loving her female characters, I figured it was finally time to take this book off my shelf and actually read it. I had cited it in several college and graduate school papers, but had never taken the time to read the whole thing. As so often happens, it was the perfect book to read at this point in my life. I enjoyed the perspective her research provides of how differently girls develop than boys. Gilligan uses examples all throughout life to illust After reading Carol Gilligan's novel, Kyra, and loving her female characters, I figured it was finally time to take this book off my shelf and actually read it. I had cited it in several college and graduate school papers, but had never taken the time to read the whole thing. As so often happens, it was the perfect book to read at this point in my life. I enjoyed the perspective her research provides of how differently girls develop than boys. Gilligan uses examples all throughout life to illustrate these ideas; from playing as children, to navigating through crises and the workplace to maturity and harmony in relationships. Her thoughts and research help for a woman to not feel so out of touch, but rather more in tune to her own ways of seeing the world, knowing those ways are not unusual.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    A quick read and highly recommended. This book is Gilligan's response to years of academic study of moral development that had "just happened" to focus solely on males. Her critique is devastating and it is almost unbelievable that so much work was done with such a clear gender bias. Gilligan sets out a very believable "parallel path" of women's development that, satisfyingly, converges toward the same major issues that men struggle with, but from a different direction. I always like reading boo A quick read and highly recommended. This book is Gilligan's response to years of academic study of moral development that had "just happened" to focus solely on males. Her critique is devastating and it is almost unbelievable that so much work was done with such a clear gender bias. Gilligan sets out a very believable "parallel path" of women's development that, satisfyingly, converges toward the same major issues that men struggle with, but from a different direction. I always like reading books with extensive oral interviews with "regular people", where much of the author's work is simply to allow people to speak for themselves. She is not quite Studs Terkel in this dimension, but I think this is an inspiring piece of qualitative research nonetheless.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Helen Kantor

    It's hard to believe this book was written in 1982, and hard to believe I missed it then. I've known about Carol Gilligan regardless, but never went to the source to read her directly. All these years later, the book still offers invaluable insight about women, our differences in thinking, communication, values, and behavior. But she also sheds light on the history of being measured against men - and the fallacy of having men be the barometer of women's innate strengths. Excellent book, clearly It's hard to believe this book was written in 1982, and hard to believe I missed it then. I've known about Carol Gilligan regardless, but never went to the source to read her directly. All these years later, the book still offers invaluable insight about women, our differences in thinking, communication, values, and behavior. But she also sheds light on the history of being measured against men - and the fallacy of having men be the barometer of women's innate strengths. Excellent book, clearly written, making a great deal of sociological and psychological study completely accessible to the layperson.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan Graham

    As someone who now studies normative ethics, or the framework for values within morality, the author presents a practical and logical picture of variables which influence morality. Specifically, the author noted that by restricting the female voice, unwittingly perpetuated a male-voice civilization, which becomes a male perspective generalized to both male and female gender. Furthermore, despite differences between men and women, the author noted that it is not just about those differences, but As someone who now studies normative ethics, or the framework for values within morality, the author presents a practical and logical picture of variables which influence morality. Specifically, the author noted that by restricting the female voice, unwittingly perpetuated a male-voice civilization, which becomes a male perspective generalized to both male and female gender. Furthermore, despite differences between men and women, the author noted that it is not just about those differences, but differences in reality and truth which are matters of human relations. There are many takeaways from this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victor

    Honestly speaking, it is kind of difficult to review a psychology book that deals with gender to me. I was advised by someone to read this, and while I found some parts to be interesting, I can think of quite a few people who would completely rip on it. At the same time, there are some people who would really like it. This is something that you would have to read and decide what you think for yourself. I do not feel confident enough to rate this book properly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I picked this book up in the mid 1980s and found it really difficult to read. The first chapter is definitely the hardest. It is not a novel - it is a feminist book on psychology. I kept the book on my bookshelf (still have it) and picked it up and put it down many times until I was ready and able to get through it. So appreciate this work on behalf of women. And Gilligan was courageous to frame her theory within the moral dilemma of deciding whether to have an abortion or not.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book was a game changer for my career. As a young psychologist, I knew the famous theories didn't always fit but I didn't understand why. When I read this book, the lights came on. Over the years there have been significant issues raised about Gilligan's research. However, the fact remains, women do view the world differently than men (why is a different question) and this book lead the way in pushing researchers to consider the differences. This book was a game changer for my career. As a young psychologist, I knew the famous theories didn't always fit but I didn't understand why. When I read this book, the lights came on. Over the years there have been significant issues raised about Gilligan's research. However, the fact remains, women do view the world differently than men (why is a different question) and this book lead the way in pushing researchers to consider the differences.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Keegan

    I read this my sophomore year of high school, but I remember that it really made me think. I have the book and will go back and read it sometime . . . maybe when I have a daughter. I'm not sure that I agreed with everything from the perspective of being a girl, but there were some things that she expressed that I realized, "yeah, that has happened to me as I've grown up." I read this my sophomore year of high school, but I remember that it really made me think. I have the book and will go back and read it sometime . . . maybe when I have a daughter. I'm not sure that I agreed with everything from the perspective of being a girl, but there were some things that she expressed that I realized, "yeah, that has happened to me as I've grown up."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    The first REAL study of the differences between males and females that does not have an ax to grind - it doesn't try to justify one sex above another. The first REAL study of the differences between males and females that does not have an ax to grind - it doesn't try to justify one sex above another.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lori Pitts

    I read this in college in a women's studies course. It changed my life and it also helped me get out of a very verbally abusive relationship my first marriage. I read this in college in a women's studies course. It changed my life and it also helped me get out of a very verbally abusive relationship my first marriage.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charity Coffman

    This book is arguably the most influential book in the field of female psychology. Every page brings knowing nodding..

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cormac

    When this book came out in 1982 it was regarded as an epoch-making feminist study. It has since been in large part sidelined, and the author has shown a seeming reluctance to pursue the promising theses she then proposed. In a Different Voice brings out woman's distinctive mode of personal fulfillment. Its main premiss is that 20th century psychological reflection and investigation, in measuring human maturity, has followed standards (such as capacity for autonomous thinking, clear decision-mak When this book came out in 1982 it was regarded as an epoch-making feminist study. It has since been in large part sidelined, and the author has shown a seeming reluctance to pursue the promising theses she then proposed. In a Different Voice brings out woman's distinctive mode of personal fulfillment. Its main premiss is that 20th century psychological reflection and investigation, in measuring human maturity, has followed standards (such as capacity for autonomous thinking, clear decision-making, responsible action), which tend to leave women always in second place: "these stereotypes reflect a conception of adulthood that is itself out of balance, favoring the separateness of the individual self over connection to others, and leaning more toward an autonomous life of work than toward the interdependence of love and care" (17). Men develop independence (identity) before intimacy. With women it seems the other way. It is through relating - intimacy - that woman acquires her identity. If the male cycle is accepted as superior, then the danger is "that development itself comes to be identified with separation, and attachments appear to be developmental impediments, as is repeatedly the case in the assessment of women" (12-13) Psychologists educated in male-based standards of evaluation, are not capable of adequately appreciating the feminine mode of development. So Gilligan suggests the need for "an alternative conception of maturity" (22). "By changing the lens of developmental observation from individual achievement to relationships of care, women depict ongoing attachment as the path that leads to maturity. Thus the parameters of development shift toward marking the progress of affiliative relationship" (170). Accepting that men and women are different [indeed few questioned that in 1982], Gilligan comments, "since it is difficult to say "different" without saying "better" or "worse", since there is a tendency to construct a single scale of measurement, and since that scale has generally been derived from and standardized on the basis of men's interpretation of research data drawn predominantly or exclusively from studies of males, psychologists have tended to regard male behavior as the 'norm' and female behavior as some kind of deviation from that norm. Thus, when women do not conform to the standards of psychological expectation, the conclusion has generally been that something is wrong with the women' (14). "When maturity is equated with personal autonomy, concern with relationships appears as a weakness of women rather than as a human strength" (17). It is interesting to see how, while maintaining a detached professional stance regarding the moral aspect, she relates her thesis to abortion. A pro-abortion choice signals the prevalence of "independence" over "connection"; a choice, that is, marked by masculine values - which implies a betrayal of feminine identity. So in the abortion cases that Gilligan studies, one girl holds that the abortion decision means maturing in the right way, because "sooner or later you have to make up your mind to start taking care of yourself. Abortion, if you do it for the right reasons, is helping yourself to start over and do different things" (77-78). As against this she gives another case that illustrates the doubt whether "caring for oneself" enters legitimately into the innate feminine instinct of "caring": "Retrieving the judgmental initiative, the woman begins to ask whether it is selfish or responsible, moral or immoral, to include her own needs within the compass of her care and concern" (82). A woman having an affair with a married man faces the abortion dilemma: she sees her work threatened; but also sees "connection" in the baby. She regards the choice of abortion as "highly introverted"; it "would be going a step backward", whereas "going outside to love someone else and having a child would be a step forward". And Gilligan continues: "The sense of retrenchment that the severing of connection signifies is apparent in her anticipation of the cost that abortion will entail: 'Probably what I will do is I will cut off my feelings, and when they will return or what would happen to them after that, I don't know. So that I don't feel anything at all, and I would probably just be very cold and go through it very coldly. The more you do that to yourself, the more difficult it becomes to love again or to trust again or to feel again'... Caught between selfishness and responsibility, unable to find in the circumstances of this choice a way of caring that does not at the same time destroy, Ellen confronts a dilemma that reduces to a conflict between morality and survival. Adulthood and femininity fly apart in the failure of this attempt at integration, as the choice to work becomes a decision not only to renounce this particular relationship and child but also to obliterate the vulnerability that love and care engender" (89-90). A Catholic woman, in a similar situation, seeks to avoid self-condemnation by pretending that hers is not a free decision. "Her evasion of responsibility, critical to maintaining the innocence she considers necessary for self-respect, contradicts the reality of her participation in the abortion decision. The dishonesty in her plea of victimization creates a conflict that generates the need for a more inclusive understanding. She must now resolve the emerging contradiction in her thinking between her two uses of the terms right and wrong: "I am saying that abortion is morally wrong, but the situation is right, and I am going to do it. But the thing is that eventually they are going to have to go together, and I am going to have to put them together somehow". Asked how this could be done, she replies: I would have to change morally wrong to morally right. (How?) I have no idea. I don't think you can take something that you feel is morally wrong because the situation makes it right and put the two together. They are not together, they are opposite. They don't go together. Something is wrong, but all of a sudden, because you are doing it, it is right" (86). Gilligan's subsequent work has not shown a coherent development of the "different voice" approach, which promised to underpin a powerful and non-defensive feminism. In a 1993 re-edition of this book, she added a Letter to Readers. Its purpose is rather confused. On the one hand, she seems to wish to safeguard herself against feminist criticism on issues that had become radicalized since 1982. Nevertheless, she leaves the original text untouched; and appears to hold by her main conclusion that success in relationships is more important to women's growth in maturity, while failure in that area affects them more than men.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Griffin

    This book is very interesting for the ways in which it explores the differing socializations of different genders and the resulting effects on how gendered individuals interact with each other and society. It delivers an interesting and eye-opening exploration of a feminine worldview by rejecting and rebelling against prejudicial appraisals of femininity by the dominant psychological establishment and culture. However, as the book defines the feminine worldview only in the context of the western This book is very interesting for the ways in which it explores the differing socializations of different genders and the resulting effects on how gendered individuals interact with each other and society. It delivers an interesting and eye-opening exploration of a feminine worldview by rejecting and rebelling against prejudicial appraisals of femininity by the dominant psychological establishment and culture. However, as the book defines the feminine worldview only in the context of the western gender binary, there are many gendered worldviews, and many feminine worldviews, that this book ignores entirely. While it does contain interesting commentary and highlights interesting research, I feel that discussions about gender have in many ways have expanded to include more experiences than this book explores. That being said, this book is important for validating gendered experiences that do not conform to masculinity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Lear

    I majored in Women's & Gender Studies. And they never made me read this book. Which ... in my opinion, is fucked up! Rather, the chair of the psych dept lent me her copy and it blew my mind in so many domains - from abstract politics to concrete conflicts in my own life - they all related to these complimentary - yet incomplete on their own - systems of morality: the feminine ethic of responsibilities & the masculine ethic of rights. I'm in the process of trying to get my fox news grandmother to I majored in Women's & Gender Studies. And they never made me read this book. Which ... in my opinion, is fucked up! Rather, the chair of the psych dept lent me her copy and it blew my mind in so many domains - from abstract politics to concrete conflicts in my own life - they all related to these complimentary - yet incomplete on their own - systems of morality: the feminine ethic of responsibilities & the masculine ethic of rights. I'm in the process of trying to get my fox news grandmother to read it because honestly I don't see how she couldn't appreciate it from her lifetime of perspective as a woman with responsibilities. Maybe she'll grow a distaste for fox news after reading the book?

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Rereading this work to refresh my memory. I have a strong feeling that it is not what I remembered it was years ago. As we grow older, our moral reasoning does change. Complexity and responsibility are factors that play heavily into our life drama. Covid-19, for example, can make for an interesting situation. What decisions would I make today if given the chance to change the direction of my life? A terrifying thought, indeed. As of this last entry, I am sad that our world has to struggle so har Rereading this work to refresh my memory. I have a strong feeling that it is not what I remembered it was years ago. As we grow older, our moral reasoning does change. Complexity and responsibility are factors that play heavily into our life drama. Covid-19, for example, can make for an interesting situation. What decisions would I make today if given the chance to change the direction of my life? A terrifying thought, indeed. As of this last entry, I am sad that our world has to struggle so hard to see what path to take to save itself. As the Dalai Llama says, women should take the lead in the world now. So it is time to change our view of what success and moral correctness is. Think ethic of care.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Not sure if it was awful or just severely out of date, but even the studies she point to in order to highlights differences between the genders mainly use tiny sample sizes, aren't double-blind in any way, and are anecdotal more than scientific. My aunt suggested I read this as a 'classic' on gender differences, but perhaps I was just raised differently, because I didn't identify with the feelings that any of these women claimed. Not sure if it was awful or just severely out of date, but even the studies she point to in order to highlights differences between the genders mainly use tiny sample sizes, aren't double-blind in any way, and are anecdotal more than scientific. My aunt suggested I read this as a 'classic' on gender differences, but perhaps I was just raised differently, because I didn't identify with the feelings that any of these women claimed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    VĂ­tor Medeiros

    Even though some parts of Gilligan's work (which have been, at this point, ostensibly criticized) are, indeed, binarist, essentialist and overall rough around the edges, In a Different Voice provided the psychological and especially philosophical discourse a much needed reflection on morality traditionally viewed as feminine. Even though some parts of Gilligan's work (which have been, at this point, ostensibly criticized) are, indeed, binarist, essentialist and overall rough around the edges, In a Different Voice provided the psychological and especially philosophical discourse a much needed reflection on morality traditionally viewed as feminine.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kulwarn Parmar

    Required reading for men I highly recommend to men with young daughter. You'll gain insights to how girls make ethical and moral choices. They have different framework than boys and men which is equally good or better. The understanding you gain wil! Help you be better parent! Required reading for men I highly recommend to men with young daughter. You'll gain insights to how girls make ethical and moral choices. They have different framework than boys and men which is equally good or better. The understanding you gain wil! Help you be better parent!

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