Sex Differences In Book Dedications

Reader Joel emails:

Here is an observation I have made about book dedications and how they give some insight into the female mind. I would like your opinion about it. You may use it on your blog site, or not. I would like some of this to be made known to your readers.

Many of the younger men just don’t get the nature of women, until too late, that is. I suppose this is because the girls put up a good show, and virtually all of the young man’s socialization tells him very little but lies. I blame testosterone for a lot of male blindness to the female personality. It is hard think rationally about anything, let alone women, when your testosterone level is high.

But, clues are everywhere. For example, take book dedications. I work in the medical field. Many medical books, if authored by only one or two people (an increasingly rare phenomenon these days) will have a dedication by the author. Almost all medical books have been authored by men, and the dedications usually give recognition to a person or persons important in their life, like wives, fathers, and mentors.

A common dedication would be:

This book is dedicated to my wife, my loving companion and my constant inspiration.

Or in the older books, just a plain:

To my wife: Mary Alice Haagensen.

Fathers often get mentioned, eg:

To the loving memory of my father, etc.

My personal favorite from a giant in his field:

I dedicate this book to my father, whose love of truth inspired me in all my works.

This particular author was home schooled by his father. Just to show they don’t make them like that anymore, he was married to a nurse, and they both lived into their old age together. When she died, a friend asked him if he missed his wife or was depressed over her death. His response would be a nice epitaph for anyone:

To complain about her passing would be poor thanks for a lifetime of perfect companionship.

Often, the books are dedicated to their mentors, sometimes by name, sometimes generically. Also, sometimes to their students, who are given credit for inspiring the authors to greater efforts by their youthful curiosity.

So, now that women are starting to write books, and have been doing so long enough so that it is not a novelty and they no longer simply ape the customs of men, what do we see?

Two recent book dedications, from women professors at a major medical institution:

To Andy-my husband, my best friend, my constant supporter, and the most decent person I have ever known.

Now, let’s look at this dedication. Where does she say she has the slightest emotional attachment to him? I could have written this about my dog, and with more feeling. And, to anybody who knows the female mind, a “decent man” is the man who she finds distinctly uninteresting in bed. By God, she is advertising to the world that her husband is a dud. A complete beta.

A second example:

To Michelle, Ryan, Alice, Justin, and Christopher.

Sounds odd. Who are these people? The first four are her kids. The last is her live in boyfriend, who happens to be a professor in the same department. No mention of her husband(s). Or father.

These dedications are outrageous, in my opinion, but, such is the amoral mindset of women.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I find this kind of putatively trivial stuff worthy of my attention because I believe much wisdom and knowledge about the mind of women can be gleaned from it. In fact, and despite my many science-oriented posts, most of what I learned about women was gotten from simply observing them in real life, whether in their doings with me or with others. Yet, the science is fascinating for how often it backs up what I observe with my own eyes.

So seemingly little things like sex differences in book dedications, when viewed with an inquisitive mind unshackled from the chains of hoary platitudes, leads to a better understanding of the emotional and cognitive commonalities that almost all women share. This, in turn, illuminates for the knowledge-seeking man the deeply embedded thinking processes that guide the behavior — sexual or otherwise — of women.

Am I surprised by the curiosity that modern Western women are rather unaffectionate, masculine sounding, and even belittling in their dedications to the men in their lives, or that that often dump their lovers — sometimes husbands, sometimes live-in boyfriends — at the back of the line of a laundry list of people? Am I thunderstruck by the fact that the typical authoress’s book dedication sounds solipsistic, like a vajrap straight outta self-empowerment?

The answer, of course, would be no. But I didn’t need anyone to tell me that. All I needed was a willingness to see the world as it really is, and to flinch not at what I saw. In a sane, reasonable world, this would not be a monumental accomplishment on my part. But in the world bequeathed us, filled to brimming with the willing blind and their wicked pied pipers, it is a glorious imposition upon this veil of lies.

To my readers: sharpen your claws, tear the veil into tatters, and feel the tingles of the women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *