Emily Martin's article, The Sperm and the Egg focused on the way the general public is conditioned to view the act of a sperm fertilizing an egg. She believes that there are many negative connotations with the representation of the egg as being "passive" and "unproductive". Whereas the sperm is typically seen as an "active", "dominant" force which "penetrates" the egg into submission. She gives examples of how writers have given more power to the sperm than to the egg in the fertilization process. For example, in a Farside cartoon, "the egg is seen as a housewife besieged by clever sperm who try to get a foot inside the door", which includes a bunch of random sperm disguised as postmen, insurance salesmen, etc. Generally, the eggs are personified as helpless, powerless entities. In Science News , there's an ad which shows sperm attacking an eggs with a "jack hammer, sledge hammer and pick." Martin brings up these completely sexist connotations with the egg and the sperm and talks about it's effects on how people learn about reproduction.
She mentions this scene in the film Look Who's Talking to further her point.
Riki Wilchin's article titled, Queer Theory, Gender Theory is all about the differentiations of what Sex means. He comments on Martin's article about the social connotations projected onto the biological processes of men and women and sort of laughs at it. His main point is given on page 94, "In the final analysis, what bodies, organs, and fluids mean, and whether the glass of similarity is half full or the glass of difference half-empty, are not problems of Science, but of politics." In other words, he doesn't believe that the sexes are so different, but culturally they are. People are just more focused on the differences than the similarities because that's what people are more interested in, according to him.
1. Why are we taught to believe that women's biological processes are inferior to the male's biological processes? What does this say about our culture and the way we view femininity and masculinity?
2. Do you agree or disagree with Wilchin's statement about issues with gender being based on the politics of our culture and not the actual physiology of the sexes?