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York University
Kinesiology & Health Science
KINE 1000
Yuka Nakamura

KINE 1000 SUMMARIESWINTER TERM Sex and GenderTHE EGG AND THE SPERM By Emily MartinThe egg and them sperm draw certain stereotypes about central definitions of both male and femaleoFor example the female biological processes are less worthy than their male counterpartsIt is clear to 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 factsA Scientific Fairy TaleoMales and females are depicted by their reproductive systems and what it produces eggs and spermoTextbooks particularly focus on a females menstruation cycle as debris of the uterine lining or the ceasing dying expelling and etcoWhereas males produce over a hundred million sperm a dayoWhereas the female sheds only a single gamete each month the seminiferous tubules produce hundreds of millions of sperm each dayNone of the scientific books see the female menstruation as something valuableCasts females in a negative light while celebrating sperm production because it happens from the time of puberty until death whereas females finish at birthThe egg is easily seen as feminine because it is large and passive and doesnt move but is transported by the fallopian tubesWhereas males are more masculine because they are smaller and are efficiently poweredAgeOld Relationship of the Egg and the Spermroyalreligious coveringoThe egg is portrayed to have a crown and is accompanied by attendant cellsoIt is holy and the queen to the sperms kingoIt is also passive awaiting the rescue of a sperm Gerald and Helen Schatten compared the eggs role to Sleeping BeautyoDamsel in distressoThe sperm carries out the journey into the darkness where some fall exhausted and the most successful candidates surround the prizeoHeroic warriorAn egg will die in hours if not rescued by a sperm1948Ruth HerschbergeroArgued that female reproductive organs are biologically codependent while male organs are seen as independentNew Research old imageryoAs new understandings emerge textbook imagery is revised selfcontained nature of scientific thoughtLudwick FleckPrior to any research at the J Hopkins University it was thought that the zona inner vestments of the egg formed an impenetrable barrier The sperm was able to overcome the barrier by mechanically burrowing throughLater it was found that the sperm released enzymes to break through therefore thought to use mechanical and chemical means However sperm was then found to be fairly weak without the digestive enzymeIn 1987 three years after their findings scientists reconceptualised the role of the egg as being more active The zona pellucid captures and tethers the sperm before they penetrate itHermann Fol a Swiss zoologist wrote in his article Many sperm can bind to and penetrate the zona pellucid or outer coat of an unfertilized mouse egg but only one sperm will eventually fuse with the thin plasma membrane surrounding the egg proper fertilizing the egg and giving rise to a new embryoWasserman on the other hand credits the egg coat as having a sophisticated biological security system that screens incoming sperm and only selecting those that are compatible with fertilization and developmentAlthough he does give credit to the egg for having an active role it still draws in stereotypical attention that the egg selects an appropriate mate prepares him for fusion and then protects the resulting offspringFurthermore Wasserman in other articles shows him demoting eggs of their active role by simply taking about eggs as a matter of parts while talking about sperm as a whole entity Deborah Gordan describes this as tenacious assumptions of Western Science and this approach as atomismTherefore Wasserman assigns this active role to the parts of the egg not the egg as a wholeSocial Implications Thinking Beyond
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