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Sex and Gender

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York University
Kinesiology & Health Science
KINE 1000
Yuka Nakamura

Sex and Gender 1 01/14/2014 Sex and Gender: The Egg and The Sperm How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles Emily Martian • Anthropologist • Studied what biological texts of reproduction of both men and women • Description of reproduction in these texts imply that female biological processes are less worthy than their male counterparts but also that women are less worthy than men Comparison Sperm Egg • Fast • Passive • Active • Large • Many • Immobile • Brave • Waiting • Winner • Penetrated • Leader • Fragile • Powerful • Incomplete on its own • Adventurous • Only has meaning once fertilized by sperm • “When it comes to fertilization, biologists have got it all wrong. The egg is no passive lady in waiting” • “For decades, biologists have been portraying sperm as intrepid warriors battling their way to an ageing, passive egg that can do little but await the sturdy victor’s final, bold plunge” In Reality • wastefully huge swarm of sperm weakly flops along its members bumping into walls and flailing aimlessly …. Sex and Gender 2 01/14/2014 Woody Allen • “scared sperms in wood allen’s movie” • An atypical representation of sperm Male – Female Representation • it is clear Martin that our biological notions of what eggs and sperms do are more the result of stereotypical ideas of male and female social roles than scientific facts Biology Texts • Except Woody Allen’s movie “Everything you Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask”, most biology texts, popular culture and even medical journals Martin reviewed for her article, depicted an incredible male bias in describing the reproduction process. • Why, so what? Amazing Productivity or waste? • Classic bio texts marvel at the incredible male production of 200 million sperms every hour, while almost complaining about the waste of the 2 million immature eggs present in human female at birth. • Martin: Why is males vast production not seen as wasteful? New Research, Old Imagery • “we need to understand the way in which the cultural content in scientific de
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