Cover Image: Bitch

Bitch

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I loved reading a book about the females in the regnum animalia, I mean finally they receive some spotlight as well. Everything is explained really well and there are even some anecdotes.
Was this review helpful?
There were some aspects of this book I absolutely loved. Overall, the science writing is excellent, with everything well explained. Lucy Cooke puts her journey into the story, giving me more of her perspective. She writes with a great sense of humor and some very clever wording. The footnotes are definitely worth reading. On the less favorable side, some of the sarcasm in her writing doesn’t really work for me. I also found that the beginning and end of the book didn’t really match the rest of the content, which threw me off. Nonetheless, this book is definitely worth reading and is an excellent example of good science writing. Thank you to Netgalley and Basic Books for the advance reader copy.
Was this review helpful?
Educative, entertaining, and interesting. The writing is charismatic and energetic, something needed when you have this much information to present. It shines spotlight in to the often-ignored research of the female that presents the data in a way that catches your attention and is easy to follow. It affords the scientific discoveries it presents with the amount of respect and amazement they deserve. An excellent tool for scientific dissemination that also boost les biased research. 
Thanks to Net Galley for providing me an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
With her thorough research and quick wit, Lucy Cooke dismantles the sexism that has plagued the study of evolutionary biology since the founding of the discipline.
Was this review helpful?
I found bitch to be an incredibly interesting book to read and found it to be very well written. She uses a wide range of different animals from different areas and types to emphasise her point and give evidence to why things occur. Due to the amount covered it will take a while to read, I found myself only able to take in a chapter at a time. 

I received an early copy of Bitch from netgalley for review.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent book: a review of the view of the female via a patriarchal and male perspective. How females and their roles are reviewed through the filter of how they fit into a male dominated view. In fact, the 'superiority' of the male is not the case always and many examples of female led social structures. 
More people need to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
A provocative exploration of the role and nature of females supported by fascinating stories and research.
Was this review helpful?
In her provocatively titled book, Bitch, Lucy Cooke takes aim at the biases that have shaped the study of animals, specifically, biases against females (or perhaps for males). Cooke is a brilliant writer, TED speaker, and presenter for various nature shows in her native U.K. It is fair to say she takes the subject rather personally.

Good for her!

Going back to Darwin, evolutionary theory has had a very paternalistic and androcentric bent. Female animals were assumed to conform to Victorian expectations of motherhood and domesticity. Men were supposed to rule the human home and the human community (excepting the occasional queen, in power only because of a lack of male relatives close enough to the royal line). Therefore, animals were the same. Females of every species were regarded as “nurturing” and “devoted,” focused exclusively on the growth and well-being of their offspring. Any examples that fell contrary to this view were considered aberrations or errors of observation.

This thinking persisted even late into the 20th century and into our own millennium. Part of the reason for its endurance is the lack of other perspectives in the biological sciences. Women are scarce. Women of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and students from developing nations are in very short supply. Cooke herself has faced certain ingrained sexism both in the classroom and in the field. When people of any community look at life with a set of common expectations, they are likely to find them and deny the potency of conflicting data.

This is not an angry diatribe against men. On the contrary, Cooke celebrates the many significant contributions of men who have gone against the grain and studied female animals with an open mind. She considers Darwin to be a hero and Richard Dawkins to be a mentor, despite the sexism both have expressed either in writing or in speech. Cooke is simply suggesting that insisting that female animals (including humans) must fit into a specific mold is poor science. Moreover, using animals as role models for humans (or vice versa) is hardly productive.

Hyenas function extremely well, led by an alpha female. Orca packs are also guided by females, usually by one who has passed through the biologically unusual stage of menopause. Even the “alpha male wolf” is a misunderstanding of their pack structure. Male emperor penguins are completely devoted to their eggs. Male seahorses give birth. Female birds, even those who “mate for life” with a single partner, usually seek out other males and their chicks come from multiple “fathers,” even though only one is committed to raising them.

Of course, sometimes the fathers aren’t fathers. Albatrosses are known to make same sex pairs, pairs which act very much like male/female pairs in courtship behaviors, nesting habits, and the rearing of chicks. Obviously, the fact that they often lay fertile eggs demonstrates that their devotion does not include monogamy. Female lemurs, and lionesses, and many others intentionally seek out multiple partners both in and out of their group. When a new male displaces the “alpha male,” it will not kill the infants if it is possible some of them are his.

And don’t even start with the bonobos!

Bitch is a fun book, full of great stories and interesting people. The animals, especially the female animals, might be the focus but Cooke does not neglect the humans who study them. She is engaging, snarky, sometimes angry but usually seeking to persuade rather than excoriate. I may not be a female, but I loved this book.
Was this review helpful?
Books like BITCH offer a great unlearning from the history and biology we are taught in school. Lucy Cooke offers fascinating research to upend long-held beliefs and share how much we've been misinformed about females in the animal kingdom and the impact it has on society at large.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. "Bitch" by Lucy Cooke is a fascinating and incredibly empowering non-fiction book, which takes the readers on a journey through the true role of the females in numerous species. It is very informative to the point that sometimes I felt a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information I had to comprehend, so take your time when reading it. The writing style made it easy to connect with the content of the book and truly enjoy it. The book made me proud to be a woman and helped me embrace my femininity, so definitely read it in case you need to be reminded how strong women are.
Was this review helpful?
Lucy Cooke non è solo una miniera di informazioni stravaganti (di quelle che io incamero e non dimentico più, al posto di quelle utili nel lavoro e/o vita quotidiana) e di umorismo ben dosato, ma anche e soprattutto una voce che, in questo caso, aiuta a rivedere e ripensare non solo i ruoli biologici di genere, sessualità, accudimento, reti sociali, e a far riflettere su come la scienza non sia sempre (e non sia mai stata) "neutra" e imparziale, nemmeno nella raccolta dei dati.
Un splendido modo di terminare le letture dell'anno.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Basic books, Lucy Cooke and Netgalley.
Let's just get one thing straight, and that is the fact that Lucy just rocks my socks off. What she does is always done well!
All my best friends ever have always been bitches. Yep, I was happily their bitch too! I've had friends, they were acquaintances. Bitches are the rulers of the pack. However, in these packs there is only one bitch! 
If that's what it takes to keep the males in their place? Then heel!.
I've always loved Hyenas, but it was.great hearing about the rest too.
One of my favorite tales is the female Octopus doing the deed with the male, then ripping off his "organ" and tossing it away! 😍 I love that!
Was this review helpful?
Probably one of the most empowering and informative books I've ever read. Even though the focus is on the animal kingdom, I felt kinship with some of the females in various species. I enjoyed the anecdotes, the science and the ongoing challenge to the patriarchal conceptions of females in the wild. Well-researched and easy to follow, even for the non-scientist like me.
Was this review helpful?