Review of Sex and Society


Sex and Society, studies in the social psychology of sex. By W. I. ТHOMAS. University of Chicago Press, 1907. pp. 325.

The nine papers here printed are essentially disconnected, having all been previously printed in journals, most of them in the American Journal of Sociology. They are of extremely different degrees of merit. In the chapter on the psychology of modesty and clothing, the author shows a regretable ignorance of the best literature on the subject, although he makes one or two interesting and novel suggestions. The adventitious character of women is made up of certain reflections of the author and is the most original chapter in the book. In the mind of man and the lower races again the author shows strange ignorance of the best literature upon this subject, although some of his suggestions are fresh. The chapters on the relations between sex, primitive industry and morality are interesting compends. As a whole the author shows a unique combination of freshness of thought and partial scholarship that is rather characteristic of what is popularly thought to the Western type of mind. Here, he glides smoothly over waters, the depth of which he does not dream and his remarks are trite and commonplace in the extreme. A few pages later, he drops suggestions that are well calculated to stimulate new thought. The author probably made no effort to cover in any systematic way the ground designated by his title. The critic is therefore somewhat baffled between a desire to congratulate and praise and the sense that he ought to censure. The title of the book is suggestive of far more than it contains and this leaves the writer and the publisher somewhat open to the suspicion of being unduly anxious to produce something that would sell.


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