Summary: Diablog #2


For this week's diablog, we had to critically engage with the articles by Emily Martin and Riki Wilchins. Both articles dealt with the language that we use to describe sex in terms of gender. Emily Martin discussed the language that science utilizes for the sperm and the egg and everything relating to reproductive systems. The language that is used to describe women, according to Martin, is generally negative. For example, women that get their periods are wasting their finite eggs because "their clock is ticking." Meanwhile, men and their sperm are heroic, wild, able to go on a 'treacherous journey' to reach the single egg. Many die on this journey and only the best of the best survives. Because the egg does nothing to encourage fertilization, it is considered weaker, and the woman herself as the weaker sex/gender. The woman is wasteful of her limited number of eggs that she can produce while the man can go sow his wild oats. The focus is not on the man wasting a tremendous number of sperm but on the idea that he has the ability to ejaculate and have sex more than the woman.
Wilchin's article agrees with and builds off of the Martin article. She believes that the words that describe the sperm's journey to the egg can be compared to that of an action movie. Men are the active participants of sex (and gender) and therefore one could make the assumption, based on this idea that sex is for men. This is partly why the female orgasm became a myth. Women are lead to believe that a female orgasm is something that they may never fully obtain. They question whether they have one. This is despite the fact that it has been around as long as humans have. Wilchins discusses the impact of culture on sex/gender. She discusses the Greeks and their belief that man had power because of their ability to ejaculate. She also discusses how sex as we know it was created in the 18th century. Wilchins also discusses the seemingly innate nature of sex and biology. We make immediate judgments of sex based on gender cues the same way that we make judgments on race based on race cues. These cues are socially constructed norms that we use to organize the world around us. This system focuses on and needs difference to succeed. Wilchins points out that this is why there are so many studies that focus on the difference between genders. They cannot get funding to do research on similarities or they fail to get published because no one is interested in that. Sex sells. Or rather the "huge" differences between the sexes sells and the people that embody those differences/norms sell.
We discussed this week, the language that is used to define and describe sex/gender and how women are represented in them. We discussed the origins of this language and its implications for men/women today. It was also brought up that there is a third category where everyone else fits. The language does not leave room for them and how they define themselves. Because at a biological/cellular level, they are defined as male/female, strong/weak, aggressive/passive, wild/tame, etc. The system of the language disregards the person and solely focuses on the sixed body.

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