Cordelia Fine On Unlearning Gender (Melbourne)

Cordelia Fine On Unlearning Gender (Melbourne)
90 mins

Join psychologist Cordelia Fine and comedian Meshel Laurie as we unlearn a very powerful gender myth: Testosterone Rex.

Thankfully, the principle of sex equality – that no one should be denied an opportunity simply on the basis of the genitalia they happen to have stowed in their undies – is reasonably well entrenched in Western, contemporary societies. Yet we still struggle to break free from binary thinking around gender. Cordelia Fine argues that a pervasive and powerful myth harms all of us by telling us that men and women have evolved different natures: Testosterone Rex.

We all know Testosterone Rex. It’s that familiar and compelling set of interconnected beliefs that tells us that risk-taking, competitive, status-seeking masculinity has evolved more strongly in males because it enhances their reproductive success, and is therefore wired into the male brain, and fuelled by testosterone. Not so, says psychologist Cordelia Fine, whose latest book Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of our Gendered Minds (Icon, 2017) shows that sex doesn't create male and female natures. Instead, sex, hormones, culture and evolution work together in ways that make past and present gender dynamics only a serving suggestion for the future - not a recipe. 

In this unique conversation event Cordelia Fine draws on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience and social history to move beyond old 'nature versus nurture' debates. Fine will be joined on stage by comedian, broadcaster and writer Meshel Laurie, as we explore how this new scientific view can transform how we think about our prospects for social change. With wit and a touch of humour, we will leave with a new understanding of gender and the knowledge to challenge the age-old cliché ‘boys will be boys’.



Cordelia Fine is a Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne and a Women’s Leadership Institute Australia Fellow. She is the author of much-acclaimed A Mind of Its Own (Icon, 2006) and Delusions of Gender (Icon, 2010), described as 'a truly startling book' by the Independent, 'droll yet deeply serious' by New Scientist and ‘an important book; as enjoyable as it is timely and interesting'; by the West Australian. Her latest book, Testosterone Rex (Icon 2017) is described by the Financial Times as a ‘spirited book…[that combines] academic rigour and readability… The expression "essential reading for everyone" is usually untrue as well as a cliché, but if there were a book deserving of that description this might just be it’.


Meshel Laurie is a stand-up comedian of some 20 years’ experience, a radio and television broadcaster and writer. Meshel currently co-hosts the KIIS breakfast show in Melbourne with Matt Tilley, broadcasting weekdays on KIIS 101.1 from 6-9am. She is a regular panelist on TEN’s The Project on Friday nights. Other television credits include Spicks and Specks, Can of Worms, Rove, The Circle, ADBC, Adam Hills: In Gordon Street Tonight and This Week Live to name but a few.

In 2013 Meshel released her first book, a memoir titled "The Fence-Painting Fortnight of Destiny" and she continues to blog at The site is also dedicated to connecting charitable people with charitable organisations, and fighting racism. She is also a contributor to Sunday Life magazine. Meshel is proudly an official ambassador for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Australia, and for Reconciliation Australia.


18.45     Doors Open
19.00     Welcome & Introduction
19.10      On Unlearning Gender
19.30     In Conversation with Meshel Laurie 
20.10     Audience Q&A 
20.30     Event Concludes & Book Signing


General Admission: $35.00
Concession: $25.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee)

Please note there is no allocated seating for this event. 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.  


One Roof Melbourne
77/83 City Road 
Southbank VIC 3006

This venue is wheelchair accessible.

Auslan interpretation can be provided for this event. If you require this service please book tickets and email

Please note that this event will be photographed and audio recorded.

Wheelchair Access
General Admission (Mel)
Concession (Mel)
Ferve Tickets