"Egg and Sperm" by Emily Martin draws upon examples in medical texts which illustrate the egg as the cultural perception of women and the sperm as the cultural perception of men. Martin contests that when medical texts describe the reproductive cycles of men and women our culture influences the language used, drawing upon gender specific roles and stereotypes. In a medical text Medical Physiology by Vernon Mountcastle the male and female processes are contrasted "'Whereas the female sheds only a single gamete each month, the seminiferous tubules produce hunderds of millions of sperm each day'" (Martin, 486).
Using the term produce to describe the males role and the term shed to describe the females role reflectst the cultural view of men as productive beings who can limitlessly offer something valuable while women simply wait for men to impregnate them and age over time as they lose their only asset/value. Martin brings up the point that eggs can just as easily be described as being produced and allocated each month as necessary. Further, texts could touch upon the degeneration of germ cells which occurs throughout life for males.
This example shows how the language used to describe male and female reproductive cycles is skewed by cultural views of men and women. Throughout history men are viewed as the breadmakers. According to cultural norms men are supposed to go to work every day to make the money to support their family. They produce the revenue to maintain the families needs. Women on the other hand stay home and their value lies in their attractiveness according to cultural standards. As they age, they slowly shed their value and become useless.