Alas for female brains, emotionality and sensitivity don’t work too well in high-pressure urban and corporate contexts. In stepped Big Pharma to persuade women that modern life demands “a new normal in terms of invulnerable posturing and emotional blunting.” Rise up, Dr. Holland cries, resist the meds, express your feelings, and, while you’re at it, avoid hair dye and breast implants. Don’t shave your pubic hair and use midwives during labor.
So far, so (mostly) good, sister! Women do need more doctors defecting from the overprescription of psychiatric smoothers and stimulants. But it would be better if this were done in the service of reducing adverse side effects and health-care costs rather than in pursuit of some mythical feminine “nature.”
“Moody Bitches” is a grab bag, with tidbits on subjects like weight loss, supplements, sleep, inflammation and menopause tied together by the author’s zeal. Dr. Holland’s moonstruck viewpoint leads her to gender boosterism when it comes to women’s biology and put-downs about how “men aren’t built to be as sensitive as women are.” Although she says fine things about her husband in the acknowledgments, men come off in this book as oversexed and emotionally clueless. It’s not their fault, Dr. Holland concedes; it’s all because of their biology.