Publication Date: 01/09/2022 ISBN: 9781838853228 Category:


Pragya Agarwal

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication Date: 01/09/2022 ISBN: 9781838853228 Category:


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‘Read this book and feel furious, uplifted and galvanised to take its findings out into the world and fight for change’ – LAURA BATES

Emotions can be difficult things to define, yet we all recognise them when we feel them or see them in others. How we interpret those emotions and act on them has been heavily gendered, as far back as Ancient Greek and Roman times and – despite the improvements in societal equality – continues to be today.

We’ve all heard the sayings that girls should be ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’, while ‘boys don’t cry’. In Hysterical, Pragya Agarwal dives deep into the history and science that has determined the gendering of emotions to ask whether there is any truth in the notion of innate differences between the male and female experience of emotions. She examines the impact this has on men and women – especially the role it has played in the subjugation of women throughout history – and how a future where emotions are ungendered might look.

Publisher Review

Any time Dr Pragya Agarwal writes something, I want to read it. Her words illuminate the hidden patterns of bias and therefore injustice that impact us. This book will make you question everything you thought you knew about emotions and make you want to reclaim your emotions as an integral part of your full humanity -- LAYLA F. SAAD, author of Me and White Supremacy A necessary, thought-provoking book that demands we urgently rethink the terms of the debate on gender and emotion -- DR TIFFANY WATT SMITH, author of The Book of Emotions Hugely readable and meticulously researched, Hysterical unpicks the myths, stereotypes and double standards that warp our judgments about the way men and women feel -- MARY ANN SIEGHART Hysterical is absolutely fascinating. Like all Pragya's work this book is both robustly researched and deeply moving. In a whistle stop tour, she traces our gendered and misogynistic assumptions about male and female brains back thousands of years. She demonstrates how these stereotypes have been used throughout history both to create and to maintain a power imbalance between men and women. This book is brave, unapologetic and, at times, rightly furious . . . all emotions for which women have been labelled hysterical. If Agarwal's proposal "I feel, therefore I am", is to be adopted, then read this book and feel furious, uplifted and galvanised to take its findings out into the world and fight for change -- LAURA BATES, author of Men Who Hate Women The world I see is always changed by reading a Pragya Agarwal book and Hysterical is no different - this is an informed, passionate and enlightening book -- ROBIN INCE, author of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INTERESTED They came for our bodies and our brains - then for our emotions. Read how women's emotional prowess has been weaponised against them - and be angry. Very angry! This closely argued sweep through the science and culture and politics of emotions shows what we lose by downgrading empathy and compassion. Heart or head - why not both? -- PROF GINA RIPPON, author of The Gendered Brain This timely and significant book is a smart, compelling read for any woman who has ever been told she is 'too much' so that's all of us. It'll make you realise you were right all along, you're definitely not 'too much' it's that our cultural history of inequality has tricked you into feeling this way. Buy this for the men in your life, for your daughters and sisters, spread the word so we're all better informed about the power of language over women and can fight an informed fight in order to achieve gender parity -- LORRAINE CANDY A brilliant exploration of the history and science of how the perception of emotions came to be gendered . . . I learn so much from anything Agarwal writes -- CAROLINE SANDERSON Praise for (M)otherhood: An exhilarating, genre-defying read . . . seamlessly interwoven with statistics, quotes and scientific evidence to clever narrative effect . . . The whole thing adds up to the most thoughtful, empathic and inspiring science of the self -- VIV GROSKOP * * Observer * * Absolutely sensational. Revelatory and of its time, challenging myths and ingrained perceptions. I could not put it down. Everyone should read this -- MICHAEL CASHMAN, CBE, co-founder of Stonewall Brilliant, brave, beautiful . . . such an inspiring book -- ELIF SHAFAK Riveting. Agarwal writes with searing honesty and tenderness * * Guardian * * Intimate and insightful . . . This is urgent, essential reading for everyone -- AVNI DOSHI A wide-ranging, searingly honest and timely intervention into the framing of a fundamental and fraught choice -- OLIVIA SUDJIC Touchingly personal and brave -- ANGELA SAINI, author of Superior: The Return of Race Science

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