by syaffolee

In response to a gender relationships essay:

Hm. Interesting points, but I view this a little differently. True, there are differences between men and women, but I think that the belief that one gender is inferior to another is due more to the conditioning by society than biology. When a fetus is in its first weeks of gestation, it looks no different than any other fetus of the same age. Physiological changes only occur when there is a hormonal shift.

“Animals for the most part wish to copulate more than they wish to be involved with offspring. This is biological.” I would have to say this is only true in particular animals–like fish and insects–that produce a lot of offspring so that there’s a chance that few survive. Dawkins’ idea of the “selfish gene” supports this but there is a corollary. Certain “altruistic” actions can also be due to the selfish gene such as what many mammals do–taking care of offspring. This also increases the chance that genes will be passed on.

Actually from this, I would think that intuitively males would benefit from monogamy not because of “copulation opportunity” (polygamy is better suited for that) but to increase the probability that his offspring will survive to reproductive age.

Females may have the necessary equipment to have children, but unlike bees that can still have viable offspring from unfertilized eggs, humans cannot. An egg must be fertilized by the sperm. Both maternal and paternal elements are required. Experiments have shown that fusing two eggs together or two sperm together do not give viable offspring.** In this instance, both male and female are equal and essential and no one can claim superiority over the other.

That said, I find your friend’s comment disturbing. What basis does he have for saying that women assert control through manipulation? What statistic supports that? And if women are viewed as “desired commodities” that will only continue if things like female infanticide isn’t abolished.

**Note for those of you curious about this experiment: Fusing two eggs or two sperm together have been done in mice. No offspring resulted from such fusions as the resulting zygote died very early in development. The reasons for this are the maternal and paternal factors that the egg and sperm bring. These factors activate or inactivate particular genes that the corresponding gamete contains. If two egg nuclei or two sperm nuclei fused, then all those genes would be either on or off (not one on and another off) and the resulting phenotype would look like either the entire gene was deleted (i.e. off) or there was an extra gene (i.e. on). Actual deletions and extra chromosomes in humans are usually lethal so you can pretty much guess that this would do the same thing.