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I first read this many years ago, as a young woman, before gender ideology had come on my radar, but it feels potentially even more profound now. Back then, it sorta cracked open the assumption I had that scientific literature was by its nature objective and unbiased. Suddenly I saw how even science, once it gets filtered through human beings and human language replicates and reinforces the assumptions of the culture in which it is embedded. In this case, the sexist ones.

I'd be so curious to hear what all your brilliant minds think of it now.

http://web.stanford.edu/~eckert/PDF/Martin1991.pdf

I first read this many years ago, as a young woman, before gender ideology had come on my radar, but it feels potentially even more profound now. Back then, it sorta cracked open the assumption I had that scientific literature was by its nature objective and unbiased. Suddenly I saw how even science, once it gets filtered through human beings and human language replicates and reinforces the assumptions of the culture in which it is embedded. In this case, the sexist ones. I'd be so curious to hear what all your brilliant minds think of it now. http://web.stanford.edu/~eckert/PDF/Martin1991.pdf

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I get this. I've heard men refer to a lion's pride as a harem. Like, no. A pride is literally a group of female lions who choose one male they give permission to stay relatively close and have sex with them. Why do this? If you saw a group of women having brunch, would you assume they're a harem? Sorry, I'm prattling.

yes! I've said the same thing. The pride is a group of females who do all the hunting and are perfectly capable of protecting themselves and their cubs, but keep a solitary male around for reproductive purposes. Sounds like a not-too-terrible social arrangement if you ask me.

[–] Femina 5 points Edited

I have noticed a similar thing about them! If a group of blokes shared a sole female prostitute among themselves pretty much no one would say that the prostitute had a " harem " rather people would think she is being used as a sex toy by the blokes...

Therefore a group of females ( be they human or non-human ) sharing a sole male should not automatically be considered a " harem " either...

Harems are just one possibility but another one is that the sole male or sole female being shared in such groups is actually being used by the groups rather than having a " harem " so to say so...

In the case of the lions it definitely seems that the females are using the sole male they keep with them for their own purposes rather than him having a " harem " ... The female lions who share a male are usually sisters for that same matter...

Lion lineages follow a female line where sisters share a male... They are matrilineal in other words at the very least...

Male lions do not have a lineage so to say so, rather they are kicked out of the pride they are born in as soon as they are mature and then they form bachelor groups with other males until they can find a pride willing to accept him as a mate ( which may result in him trying to kill a male and the cubs of a pride that already has their male mate ) by contrast bachelorette groups are much rarer since most females stay in the pride they are born in for life by contrast with males who usually move out as soon as they are mature...

Female lions do not put up with much male nonsense as far as I have noticed and may even kill their male mate if he pisses them off enough...

Another example of how male lions cater to female interests is their beautiful manes that they are so well known for... Female lions are attracted to these manes... The females dislike males with ugly manes and prefer the ones with beautiful manes therefore the manes exist to make the males more beautiful to please the females...

Ugh I get it, it drives me bonkers with some of the scripts for nature documentaries. I’ve professionally advised script writers about it.I think I have raised awareness, but many writers are dudes who end up just repeating 1950s tropes “to appeal to the broader audience”.

Recently an absolutely beautifully shot doc called “Sea Wolves” applied a spoilt teenage girl persona to an eagle. So disappointing. IMO it does a great disservice to the seriously hard working cinematographers and the absolute awe you can find in nature if you truly observe.

Won’t go on but I could write a book on how it annoys me.

'I could write a book on how it annoys me.' I wish you would, it sounds like an important contribution to our understanding of patriarchy.

a harem is literally trapping the women in your household so they can't be impregnated by other men, it originated with royalty.

I struggle to understand how anyone can use that term while talking about lions whom are obviously not trapped indoors.

It's really good. Thank you for reminding me. I'd read around 20 years ago, but didn't remember the author/citation. It really should be in early feminist and in bioethics classes. It's also an example of what feminists used to call gender. I just reread the conclusion, i didn't remember how Martin tied it into reproductive rights. It is an interesting point, that by attributing agency to sperm, we are sort of applying personhood to fetuses.

The stereotypical imagery might also encourage people to imagine that what results from the interaction of egg and sperm a fertilized egg is the result of deliberate "human" action at the cellular level. Whatever the intentions of the human couple, in this microscopic "culture" a cellular "bride" (or femme fatale) and a cellular "groom" (her victim) make a cellular baby. [...] Endowing egg and sperm with intentional action, a key aspect of personhood in our culture, lays the foundation for the point of viability being pushed back to the moment of fertilization. This will likely lead to greater acceptance of technological developments and new forms of scrutiny and manipulation, for the benefit of these inner "persons": court-ordered restrictions on a pregnant woman's activities in order to protect her fetus, fetal surgery, amniocentesis, and rescinding of abortion rights, to name but a few examples.

[–] ProxyMusic 9 points Edited

It is an interesting point, that by attributing agency to sperm, we are sort of applying personhood to fetuses.

Also, since this paper was written, scientists have discovered that if either gamete has agency, it's the egg. The egg appears to select which sperm cells in the vicinity to allow to let in for fertilization.

Endowing egg and sperm with intentional action, a key aspect of personhood in our culture, lays the foundation for the point of viability being pushed back to the moment of fertilization.

I think she is using "point of viability" when what she meant was "point when some people say human life begins and is considered sacrosanct." My observation is that even most people who believe that "life begins at conception" realize that human fetuses are not viable - able to survive outside the womb - until long after conception (the earliest age of possible viability is usually put at around 24-25 weeks).

Also, although the words fertilization and conception are often used interchangeably, even some who believe that "life begins at conception" acknowledge that there's a difference and time lag between when fertilization occurs and when inception of a pregnancy aka conception genuinely begins. Fertilization occurs in the Fallopian tubes, then it usually takes 5-6 days for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus, implant in the uterine wall and begin growing a placenta - and that's usually considered when pregnancy genuinely starts. Lots of fertilized eggs never make it to that point of successful implantation - they self-destruct all on their own before then.

[–] MissBehaved 2 points Edited

We also use the word viable to refer to whether a zygote will develop into an embryo and foetus, or to refer to a viable pregnancy. She clearly means it in this context, not as a reference to foetus viability outside the womb, though I agree her wording could've been better there.

This article says "The proper female analogy to spermatogenesis, biologically, is ovulation." No, idiot, it is oogenesis.

Oogenesis - the differentiation of the ovum - differs from spermatogenesis in several ways. Whereas the gamete formed by spermatogenesis is essentially a motile nucleus, the gamete formed by oogenesis contains all the materials needed to initiate and maintain metabolism and development.

https://tinyurl.com/3eznnacd

Also, my understanding is that the first phase of oogenesis occurs in the ovaries of female embryos/fetuses long before birth - then the partially developed female- gamete cells or precursor cells go into developmental arrest. During puberty of adolescence, girls obtain the ability to to start the process of oogenesis up again so they become capable of generating fully-developed eggs/female gametes.

This is very different to spermatogenesis, which happens all at once starting during/after the time when a male child reaches puberty of adolescence.

Oogenesis consists of several sub-processes: oocytogenesis, ootidogenesis, and finally maturation to form an ovum (oogenesis proper). Folliculogenesis is a separate sub-process that accompanies and supports all three oogenetic sub-processes.

The creation of oogonia traditionally doesn't belong to oogenesis proper, but, instead, to the common process of gametogenesis, which, in the female human, begins with the processes of folliculogenesis, oocytogenesis, and ootidogenesis. Oogonia enter meiosis during embryonic development, becoming oocytes. Meiosis begins with DNA replication and meiotic crossing over. It then stops in early prophase.

Maintenance of meiotic arrest: Mammalian oocytes are maintained in meiotic prophase arrest for a very long time—months in mice, years in humans.

Yes, girls are born with all the eggs (or, more accurately, oocytes arrested in meiotic prophase) they will ever have. Also, completed meiosis in the female results in one ovum and three polar bodies, whereas in the male it results in four sperm cells.

Thank you for elaborating on the process. I will have to read up on the sub-processes of oogenesis.