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the egg and sperm article

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Maggie Cummings

Sexism and Biology The Egg and the Sperm How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical MaleFemale Roles y Emily Martin critically discusses representations of biological facts and their social implications o The idea is that those who teach or write about biological facts have no control over the empirical truth of those facts but they do have control over the way in which they describe natural phenomena o Martin argues that these representations have hitherto used skewed terminology diction emphasis imagery metaphor personification and focus in ways that propagate gender stereotypes that is culture is built into the language of science in a harmful way by virtue of these literary techniquesculture shapes how biology is describes the natural world y hence we learn about cultural beliefs and practices y biology relies on sterotypes central to our cultural def of male and female o women and their processesless worthy imply that the system has gone awry making products of no use niot to specificationunsalable waste large and passive egg sleeping beautyo malefemaleproductivedestructive shedproducemale on a missionautonomous interdependent author question y not homologous and equal terminologyy while not always in biology in here it is authros claim y Specifically Martin finds that the stories told about the egg and the sperm correspond to the traditional gender categories of man and woman o the sperm is invested with the powers of autonomy and volition and facts concerning the sperm and its production are told in an aweinspiring and glorifying manner Martin 491 Conversely the egg is denigrated with personifications based on passivity and helpless dependence in a story of idle wastefulness 48990 Diction such as penetration of the egg by the sperm serves to propagate imagery that from the outset skews or misrepresents the facts In some cases this imagery belies important advances in research that support the opposing idea that the relationship between the gametes is more interactive and mutual 494 y New research old imagery o New research simply replicates elements of textbook gender imagery in a different form Called the selfcontained nature of scientific thought y the interaction bw what is already known what remains to be learned and those who are to apprehend it fo to ensure harmony wintin the system y but at same time also ensure harmony of illusions which s quite secure wintin the confines of a given thought style
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