Martin – The Egg and the Sperm

The Egg and the Sperm: How Science has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles

by Emily Martin

[ Martin, Emily. 1991. “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles,” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 16, no. 3]

Points & Quotes:

“As an anthropologist, I am intrigued by the possibility that culture shapes how biological scientists describe what they discover about the natural world.” (485)

Egg and sperm: A scientific fairy tale

“Part of my goal in writing this article is to shine a bright light on the gender stereotypes hidden within the scientific language of biology.
[…]
“In the case of women, the monthly cycle is described as being designed to produce eggs and prepare a suitable place for them to be fertilized and grown—all to the end of making babies. But the enthusiasm ends there. By extolling the female cycle as a productive enterprise, menstruation must necessarily be viewed as a failure.
[…]
Male reproductive physiology is evaluated quite differently. One of the texts that sees menstruation as failed production employs a sort of breathless prose when it describes the maturation of sperm:

“The mechanisms which guide the remarkable cellular transformation from spermatid to mature sperm remain uncertain …. Perhaps the most amazing characteristic of spermatogenesis is its sheer magnitude: the normal human male may manufacture several hundred million sperm per day.”

—Arthur J. Vander, James H. Sherman, and Dorothy S. Luciano, Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function, 3d ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1980), 483-84. (Martin 486)

“In the classic text Medical Physiology, edited by Vernon Mountcastle, the male/female, productive/destructive comparison is more explicit: “Whereas the female sheds only a single gamete each month, the seminiferous tubules produces hundreds of millions of sperm each day” (emphasis mine [Martin’s]).” (486)

“Textbook descriptions stress that all of the ovarian follicles containing ova are already present at birth. Far from being produced, as sperm are, they merely sit on the shelf, slowly degenerating and aging like overstocked inventory:

“At birth, normal human ovaries contain an estimated one million follicles [each], and no new ones appear after birth. Thus, in marked contrast to the male, the newborn female already has all the germ cells she will ever have. Only a few, perhaps 400, are destined to reach full maturity during her active productive life. All the others degenerate at some point in their development so that few, if any, remain by the time she reaches menopause at approximately 50 years of age.”

—Vander, Sherman, and Luciano, 568 (Martin 487)

“Scientists could begin to describe male and female processes as homologous. They might credit females with “producing” mature ova one at a time, as they’re needed each month, and describe males as having to face problems of degenerating germ cells.” (487-488)

“How is it that positive images are denied to the bodies of women? A look at language-in this case, scientific language-provides the first clue. Take the egg and the sperm. It is remarkable how “femininely” the egg behaves and how “masculinely” the sperm. The egg is seen as large and passive. It does not move or journey, but passively “is transported;’ “is swept;’ or even “drifts” along the fallopian tube. In utter contrast, sperm are small, “streamlined;’ and invariably active. They “deliver” their genes to the egg, “activate the developmental program of the egg;’ and have a “velocity” that is often remarked upon. Their tails are “strong” and efficiently powered. Together with the forces of ejaculation, they can ”propel the semen into the deepest recesses of the vagina:’ For this they need “energy;’ “fuel;’ so that with a “whiplashlike motion and strong lurches” they can “burrow through the egg coat” and “penetrate” it” (489-see original for the many citations)

“In a collection of scientific papers, an electron micrograph of an enormous egg and tiny sperm is titled “A Portrait of the Sperm.” This is a little like showing a photo of a dog and calling it a picture of the fleas.” (491)

New research, old imagery

“Work which Paul Wassarman conducted on the sperm and eggs of mice, focuses on identifying the specific molecules in the egg coat (the zona pellucida) that are involved in egg-sperm interaction.
[…]
“The imagery of sperm as aggressor is particularly startling in this case: the main discovery being reported is isolation of a particular molecule on the egg coat that plays an important role in fertilization! … He calls the molecule that has been isolated, ZP3, a “sperm receptor.” By allocating the passive, waiting role to the egg, Wassarman can continue to describe the sperm as the actor, the one that makes it all happen.
[…]
“It is as if Wassarman were determined to make the egg the receiving partner. Usually in biological research, the protein member of the pair of binding molecules is called the receptor, and physically it has a pocket in it rather like a lock. As the diagrams that illustrate Wassarman’ s article show, the molecules on the sperm are proteins and have “pockets.” The small, mobile molecules that fit into these pockets are called ligands. As shown in the diagrams, ZP3 on the egg is a polymer of “keys”; many small knobs stick out. Typically, molecules on the sperm would be called receptors and molecules on the egg would be called ligands. But Wassarman chose to name ZP3 on the egg the receptor and to create a new term, “the egg-binding protein,” for the molecule on the sperm that otherwise would have been called the receptor.” (495-496)

Social implications: Thinking beyond

Even though each new account gives the egg a larger and more active role, taken together they bring into play another cultural stereo- type: woman as a dangerous and aggressive threat.
[…]
These images grant the egg an active role but at the cost of appearing disturbingly aggressive. Images of woman as dangerous and aggressive, the femme fatale who victimizes men, are wide spread in Western literature and culture. More specific is the connection of spider imagery with the idea of an engulfing, devouring mother. New data did not lead scientists to eliminate gender stereotypes in their descriptions of egg and sperm. Instead, scientists simply began to describe egg and sperm in different, but no less damaging, terms. (498-499)

“Biology itself provides another model that could be applied to the egg and the sperm. The cybernetic model-with its feedback loops, flexible adaptation to change, coordination of the parts within a whole, evolution over time, and changing response to the environment-is common in genetics, endocrinology, and ecology and has a growing influence in medicine in general.” (499)

“The models that biologists use to describe their data can have important social effects. During the nineteenth century, the social and natural sciences strongly influenced each other: the social ideas of Malthus about how to avoid the natural increase of the poor inspired Darwin’s Origin of Species. Once the Origin stood as a description of the natural world, complete with competition and market struggles, it could be reimported into social science as social Darwinism, in order to justify the social order of the time. What we are seeing now is similar: the importation of cultural ideas about passive females and heroic males into the “personalities” of gametes. This amounts to the “im- planting of social imagery on representations of nature so as to lay a firm basis for reimporting exactly that same imagery as natural explanations of social phenomena.
Further research would show us exactly what social effects are being wrought from the biological imagery of egg and sperm. At the very least, the imagery keeps alive some of the hoariest old stereotypes about weak damsels in distress and their strong male rescuers. That these stereotypes are now being written in at the level of the cell constitutes a powerful move to make them seem so natural as to be beyond alteration.” (500)

“Even if we succeed in substituting more egalitarian, interactive metaphors to describe the activities of egg and sperm, and manage to avoid the pitfalls of cybernetic models, we would still be guilty of endowing cellular entities with personhood. More crucial, then, than what kinds of personalities we bestow on cells is the very fact that we are doing it at all. This process could ultimately have the most disturbing social consequences.
One clear feminist challenge is to wake up sleeping metaphors in science, particularly those involved in descriptions of the egg and the sperm. … Waking up such metaphors, by becoming aware of their implications, will rob them of their power to naturalize our social conventions about gender.” (501)

Annotation Summary for The Egg and the Sperm

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “THE EGG AND THE SPERM: HOW SCIENCE HAS CONSTRUCTED A ROMANCE BASED ON STEREOTYPICAL MALE-FEMALE ROLES”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “EMILY MARTIN”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “As an anthropologist, I am intrigued by the possibility that culture shapes how biological scientists describe what they discover about”

Page 1, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “As an anthropologist, I am intrigued by the possibility that culture shapes how biological scientists describe what they discover about”

Page 1, Note (Orange):
Girl same

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “the natural world.”

Page 1, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “the natural world.”

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In the course of my research I realized that the picture oegg and sperm drawn in popular as well as scientific accounts oreproductive biology relies on stereotypes central to our culturaldefinitions of male and female. “

Page 1, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The stereotypes imply not only that”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “female biological processes are less worthy than their male counter­ parts but also that women are less worthy than men.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “parts but also that women are less worthy than men. Part of my goal in writing this article is to shine a bright light on the gender stereotypes hidden within the scientific language of biology.”

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: ” Part of my goal inwriting this article is to shine a bright light on the gender stereotypes hidden within the scientific language of biology. “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Egg and sperm: A scientific fairy tale”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In the case ofcycle is described as being designed to produce eggs and prepare a suitable place for them to be. fertilized and grown-all to the end of making babies. But the enthusiasm ends there. “

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “In the case of as being designed to produce eggs and prepare a suitable place for them to be. fertilized and grown-all to the end of making babies.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “women, the monthly cycle”

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “women, the monthly cycle is described as b”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “By extolling the female cycle as a productive enterprise,menstruation must necessarily be viewed as a failure. “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “ve enterprise, menstruation must necessarily be viewed as a failure. Medical textsdescribe menstruation as the “debris” of the uterine lining, the result of necrosis, or death of tissue. “

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “By extolling the female cycle as a productive enterprise, menstruation must necessarily be viewed as a failure.”

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The descriptions imply that asystem has gone awry, making products of no use, not to specifica­tion, unsalable, wasted, scrap. “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Male reproductive physiology is evaluated quite differently. One of the texts that sees menstruation as failed production employs asort of breathless prose when it describes the maturation of sperm: “The mechanisms which guide the remarkable cellular transforma­ tion from spermatid to mature sperm remain uncertain …. the most amazing characteristic of spermatogenesis Perhaps is its sheer mag­ nitude: the normal human male may manufacture several hundred million sperm per day.”4 “

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Male reproductive physiology is evaluated quite differently. One of the texts that sees menstruation as failed production employs asort of breathless prose when it describes the maturation of sperm: “The mechanisms which guide the remarkable cellular transforma­ tion from spermatid to mature sperm remain uncertain …. the most amazing characteristic of spermatogenesis Perhaps is its sheer mag­ nitude: the normal human male may manufacture several hundred million sperm per day.”4 “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In the classic text Medical Physiology, edited by Vernon Mountcastle, the male/female, productive/des­ tructive comparison is more explicit: “Whereas the female shedsonly a single gamete each month, the seminiferous tubules produce hundreds of millions of sperm each day” (emphasis mine). 5 “

Page 2, Underline (Blue):
Content: “”Whereas the female shedsonly a single gamete each month, the seminiferous tubules producehundreds of millions of sperm each day” “

Page 2, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “2 The textbooks I consulted are the main ones used in classes for undergraduate premedical students or medical students (or those held on reserve in the library forthese classes) during the past few years at Johns Hopkins University. These texts are widely used at other universities in the country as well.”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “She writes, “In an adult male these structures produce millions of sperm cells each day.”Later she asks, “How is this feat accomplished ?”6 None of these texts expresses such intense enthusiasm for any female processes. “

Page 3, Underline (Blue):
Content: ” None of these texts expresses such intense enthusiasm for any female processes. It is surely no accident that the “remarkable” process of making sperm involves precisely what, in the medical view, menstruation production of something deemed valuable. 7 “

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “It is surely no accident that the “remarkable” process of making sperm involves precisely what, in the medical view, menstruation production of something deemed valuable. 7 “

Page 3, Underline (Blue):
Content: “does not:”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “does not:”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Yet ovulation does not merit in these texts either. Textbook descriptions all of the ovarian follicles containing stress that ova are already present at birth. Far from being produced, as sperm are, they merely sit on the shelf, slowly degenerating and aging like overstocked inventory: “At birth, normal human ovaries contain an estimated one million follicles [each], and no new ones appear after birth. Thus, in marked contrast to the male, the newborn female already has all the germ cells she will ever have. Only a few, perhaps 400, are destined to reach full maturity during her active productive others degenerate at some point in their development any, remain by the time she reaches menopause life. All the so that few, ifat approximately 50 years of age.” 8 “

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “One”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “scientist writes in a newspaper article that a woman’s ovaries become old and worn out from ripening eggs every month, even though the woman herself is still relatively young: “When you lookthrough hundreds a laparoscope . . . at an ovary that has been through of cycles, even in a superbly healthy American female, you see a scarred, battered organ.” 9 “

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “scientists could begin to”

Page 3, Underline (Blue):
Content: ” scientists could begin toas homologous. They might”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “describe male and female processes as homologous. They might “

Page 3, Underline (Blue):
Content: “describe male and female processes”

Page 3, Underline (Red):
Content: “8 Vander, Sherman, and Luciano, 568.”

Page 3, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “8 Vander, Sherman, and Luciano, 568.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “credit females with “producing” mature ova one at a time, as they’re needed each month, and describe males as having to face problems of degenerating germ cells.”

Page 4, Underline (Blue):
Content: “credit females with “producing” mature ova one at a time, as they’re needed each month, and describe males as having to face problems of degenerating germ cells.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The texts celebrate sperm production because it is continuous from puberty to senescence,”

Page 4, Underline (Blue):
Content: “The texts celebrate sperm production because it is continuous from puberty to senescence, while they por­ tray egg production as inferior because it is finished at birth.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “while they por­ tray egg production as inferior because it is finished at birth.”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In a section heading for Molecular Biology of the Cell, a best-selling text, we are told that “Oogenesis is wasteful:'”

Page 4, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “”Dur­ ing the 40 or so years of a woman’s reproductive life, only 400 to 500eggs will have been released;’ the authors write. “All the rest will have degenerated. It is still a mystery why so many eggs are formed only to die in the ovaries:’ 11 The real mystery is why the male’s vast production of sperm is not seen as wasteful. 12 Assuming that a man “produces” (108) sperm per day (a conservative reproductive 100 million estimate) during an average life of sixty years, he would produce well over two “

Page 4, Underline (Red):
Content: “12 In her essay “Have Only Men Evolved?” (in Discovering Reality: Feminist”

Page 4, Underline (Red):
Content: “Perspectives on Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodology, and Philosophy of Sci­ ence, ed. Sandra Harding and Merrill B. Hintikka [Dordrecht: Reidel, 1983], 45-69, esp. 60-61), Ruth Hubbard points out that sociobiologists have said the female invests rr1ore energy than the male in the production of her large gametes, claiming that this explains why the female provides parental care. Hubbard questions whether it “really takes more ‘energy’ to generate the one or relatively few eggs than the large excess of sperms required to achieve fertilization.” For further critique of how the greater size of eggs is interpreted “Investment in sociobiology, see Donna Haraway, Strategies for the Evolving Portfolio of Primate Females;’ in Body/Pol­ itics, ed. Mary Jacobus, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Sally Shuttleworth Routledge, 1990), 155-56. “

Page 4, Underline (Red):
Content: “Shuttleworth (New York:”

Page 4, Underline (Red):
Content: “Shuttleworth (New York:”

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “trillion sperm in his lifetime.”

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “How is it that positive images are denied to the bodies of women?”

Page 5, Underline (Blue):
Content: “How is it that positive images are denied to the bodies of women?”

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Take the egg and the sperm. 13 It is remarkable how “femininely”the egg behaves and how “masculinely” the sperm. 14″

Page 5, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Take the egg and the sperm. 13 It is remarkable how “femininely” the egg behaves and how “masculinely” the sperm. 14 The egg is seen as large and passive. 15 It does not move or journey, but passively “is transported;’ “is swept;’ 16 or even “drifts” 17 along the fallopian tube. In utter contrast, sperm are small, “streamlined;’ 18 and invariably active. They “deliver” their genes to the egg, “activate the developmental program of the egg;’ 19 and have a “velocity” that is often remarked upon. 20 Their tails are “strong” and efficiently powered. 21 Together with the forces of ejaculation, they can ”propel the semen into the deepest recesses of the vagina:’ 22 For this they need “energy;’ “fuel;’ 23 so that with a “whiplashlike motion and strong lurches” 24 they can “burrow through the egg coat”25 and “penetrate” it.26″

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The egg is seen as large and passive. 15 It does not move or journey, but passively “is transported;’ “is swept;’ 16 or even “drifts” 17 along the fallopian tube. In utter contrast, sperm are small, “streamlined;’ 18 and invariably active. They “deliver” their genes to the egg, “activate the developmental program of the egg;’ 19 and have a “velocity” that is often remarked upon. 20 Their tails are “strong” and efficiently powered. 21 Together with the forces of ejaculation, they can ”propel the semen into thedeepest recesses of the vagina:’ 22 For this they need “energy;’ “fuel;’ 23 so that with a “whiplashlike motion and strong lurches” 24 they can “burrow through the egg coat”25 and “penetrate” it.26 “

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” The egg is alsopassive, which means it must depend on sperm for rescue. “

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Gerald Schatten and Helen Schatten liken the egg’s role to that of Sleeping Beauty: “a dormant bride awaiting her mate’s magic kiss, which instills the spirit that brings her to life.” 29 “

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Sperm, by contrast, have a “mission,” 30 which is to “move through the female genital tract inquest of the ovum.” 31 “

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In 1948, in a book remarkable matters, Ruth Herschberger are seen as biologically for its early insights into these argued that female reproductive organs interdependent, while male organs areviewed as autonomous, operating independently and in isolation: “

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In a collection ofscientific papers, an electron micrograph of an enormous egg andtiny sperm is titled “A Portrait of the Sperm.” 37 T”

Page 7, Underline (Blue):
Content: “In a collection ofscientific papers, an electron micrograph of an enormous egg and tiny sperm is titled “A Portrait of the Sperm.” 37 This is a little like showing a photo of a dog and calling it a picture of the fleas. “

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” This is a little like showing a photo of a dog and calling it a picture of the fleas.”

Page 7, Underline (Red):
Content: “35 Ruth Herschberger, Adam’s Rib (New York: Pelligrini & Cudahy, 1948), esp. 84. I am indebted to Ruth Hubbard for telling me about Herschberger’s although at a point when this paper was already in draft form. work,”

Page 7, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “35 Ruth Herschberger, Adam’s Rib (New York: Pelligrini & Cudahy, 1948), esp. 84. I am indebted to Ruth Hubbard for telling me about Herschberger’s although at a point when this paper was already in draft form. work,”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “New research, old imagery”

Page 8, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In all of the texts quoted above, sperm are described as pene­ trating the egg, and specific substances on a sperm’s head aredescribed as binding to the egg. Recently, this description of events was rewritten in a biophysics lab at Johns Hopkins University­ transforming the egg from the passive to the active party. 39 “

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The sideways motion of the sperm’s tail makes the head move sideways with a force that is ten times stronger than its forward movement. Soeven if the overall force of the sperm were strong enough to mechanically break the zona, most of its force would be directed sideways rather than forward. “

Page 9, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Sperm, then, must be exceptionally efficient at escaping from any cellsurface they contact. And the surface of the egg must be designed to trap the sperm and prevent their escape. O”

Page 11, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “work, which Paul Wassarman conducted on the sperm and eggs of mice, focuses on identifying the specific mole­cules in the egg coat (the zona pellucida) that are involved inegg-sperm interaction. “

Page 11, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The imagery of sperm as aggressor is particularly startling in this case: the main discovery being reported is isolation of a particular molecule on the egg coat that plays an important role in fertiliza­ tion! “

Page 11, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “He calls the molecule that has been isolated, ZP3, a “sperm receptor.” By”

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “allocating the passive, waiting role to the egg, Wassarman can continue to describe the sperm as the actor, the one that makes it allhappen: “

Page 12, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “It is as if Wassarman were determined to make the egg the receiving partner. Usually in biological research, the protein mem­ ber of the pair of binding molecules is called the receptor, and physically it has a pocket in it rather like a lock. As the diagrams that illustrate Wassarman’ s article show, the molecules on thesperm are proteins and have “pockets.” The small, mobile mole­ cules that fit into these pockets are called ligands. As shown in the diagrams, ZP3 on the egg is a polymer of “keys”; many small knobs stick out. Typically, molecules on the sperm would be called receptors and molecules on the egg would be called ligands. But Wassarman chose to name ZP3 on the egg the receptor and to create a new term, “the egg-binding protein,” for the molecule on the sperm that otherwise would have been called the receptor. 52 “

Page 13, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Another way that Wassarman makes less of the egg’s activity is by describing components of the egg but referring to the sperm as a whole entity.”

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Social implications: Thinking beyond”

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Even though each new account gives the egg a larger and more activerole, taken together they bring into play another cultural stereo­type: woman as a dangerous and aggressive threat. “

Page 14, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Even though each new account gives the egg a larger and more activerole, taken together they bring into play another cultural stereo­type: woman as a dangerous and aggressive threat. “

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In the Johns Hopkins lab’s revised model, the egg ends up as the female aggressor who “captures and tethers” the sperm with her sticky zona, rather like a spider lying in wait in her web. 59 The Schatten lab has the egg’s nucleus ”sudden “interrupt” the sperm’s dive with aand swift” rush by which she “clasps the sperm and guides its nucleus to the center.” 60 Wassarman’s description of the surface of the egg “covered with thousands of plasma membrane­ bound projections, called microvilli” that reach out and clasp the sperm adds to the spiderlike imagery. 61 “

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “These images grant the egg an active role but at the cost of appearing disturbingly aggressive. Images of woman as dangerous and aggressive, the femme fatale who victimizes men, are wide­ spread in Western literature and culture. 62”

Page 14, Underline (Blue):
Content: “These images grant the egg an active role but at the cost of appearing disturbingly aggressive. “

Page 14, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Images of woman as dangerous and aggressive, the femme fatale who victimizes men, are wide­spread in Western literature and culture. 62 More specific is theconnection of spider imagery with the idea of an engulfing, devour­ ing mother. 63”

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “More specific is theconnection of spider imagery with the idea of an engulfing, devour­ ing mother. 63 “

Page 14, Underline (Blue):
Content: “connection of spider imagery with the idea of an engulfing, devour­ing mother. 63 New data did not lead scientists to eliminate gender stereotypes in their descriptions of egg and sperm. Instead, scien-“

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “New data did not lead scientists to eliminate gender in their descriptions of egg and sperm. Instead, scien-“

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “ing mother. 63 New data did not lead scientists to eliminate stereotypes in their descriptions of egg and sperm. Instead, scien-“

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “descriptions”

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “tists simply began to describe egg and sperm in different, but no less damaging, terms.”

Page 15, Underline (Blue):
Content: “tists simply began to describe egg and sperm in different, but no less damaging, terms.”

Page 15, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “Biology itself pro­vides another model that could be applied to the egg and the sperm. The cybernetic model-with its feedback loops, flexible adaptation to change, coordination of the parts within a whole, evolution over time, and changing response to the environment-is common ingenetics, endocrinology, and ecology and has a growing influence in medicine in general. “

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Can we envision a less stereotypical view? Biology itself pro­vides another model that could be applied to the egg and the sperm. The cybernetic model-with its feedback loops, flexible adaptation to change, coordination of the parts within a whole, evolution over time, and changing response to the environment-is common ingenetics, endocrinology, and ecology and has a growing influence in medicine in general. “

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” This model has the potential to shift our imagery from the negative, in which the female reproductive system is castigated both for not producing eggs after birth and forproducing (and thus wasting) too many eggs overall, to something more positive. The female reproductive responding to the environment system could be seen as (pregnancy or menopause), adjust­ ing to monthly changes (menstruation), and flexibly changing from reproductivity after puberty to nonreproductivity later in life. “

Page 15, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “We would do well to be aware, however, that cybernetic imagery is hardly neutral. In the past, cybernetic models have played an important part in the imposition of social control. These models inherently provide a way of thinking about a “field” of interacting components. Once the field can be seen, it can become the object of new forms of knowledge, which in turn can allow new forms of social control to be exerted over the components of the field. During the 1950s, for example, medicine began to recognize the psychosocial environment of the patient: the patient’s family and its psychodynamics. Professions such as social work began to focus on this new environment, and the resulting knowledge became one way to further control the patient. Patients began to be seen not as isolated, individual bodies, but as psychosocial entities located in an “ecological” system: management of “the patient’s psychology was a new entree to patient control.” 66 “

Page 15, Note (Orange):
Danger of cybernetics

Page 16, Underline (Magenta):
Content: “The models that biologists use to describe their data can have important social effects. During the nineteenth century, the social and natural sciences strongly influenced each other: the social ideas of Malthus about how to avoid the natural increase of the poor inspired Darwin’s Origin of Species. 67 Once the Origin stood as a description ofthe natural world, complete with competition and market struggles, it could be reimported into social science as social Darwinism, in order to justify the social order of the time. What we are seeing now is similar: the importation of cultural ideas about passive females and heroic males into the “personalities” of gametes. This amounts to the “im­ planting of social imagery on representations of nature so as to lay a firm basis for reimporting exactly that same imagery as natural explanations of social phenomena.” 68 “

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “the social ideas of Malthus about how to avoid the natural increase of the poor inspired Darwin’s Origin of Species. 67 Once the Origin stood as a description ofthe natural world, complete with competition and market struggles, it could be reimported into social science as social Darwinism, in order to justify the social order of the time. What we are seeing now is similar: the importation of cultural ideas about passive females and heroic males into the “personalities” of gametes. This amounts to the “im­ planting of social imagery on representations of nature so as to lay a firm basis for reimporting exactly that same imagery as natural explanations of social phenomena.” 68 “

Page 16, Underline (Red):
Content: “Malthus”

Page 16, Underline (Red):
Content: “Darwin’s”

Page 16, Note (Orange):
Danger of Darwinist thought

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “At the very least, the imagery stereotypes keeps alive some of the hoariest old about weak damsels in distress and their strong male rescuers. That these stereotypes are now being written in at the level of the cell constitutes a powerful move to make them seem sonatural as to be beyond alteration. “

Page 16, Underline (Blue):
Content: “At the very least, the imagery stereotypes keeps alive some of the hoariest old about weak damsels in distress and their strong male rescuers. That these stereotypes are now being written in at the level of the cell constitutes a powerful move to make them seem sonatural as to be beyond alteration. “

Page 16, Stamp (openStarred)

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Rosalind visual representations such as we are given “images of younger and younger, and tinier and tinier, fetuses being ‘saved.’ ” This leads to “the point of back’ indefinitely.” visibility being ‘pushed”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Petchesky points out that through visual representations such as sonograms, we are given “images of younger and younger, and tinier and tinier, fetuses being ‘saved.’ ” This leads to “the point ofvisibility being ‘pushed sperm with intentional back’ indefinitely.” 69 Endowing egg and action, a key aspect of personhood in “

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “indefinitely.””

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Endowing egg andaction, a key aspect of personhood in ouculture, lays the foundation for the point of viability being pushed back to the moment of fertilization. “

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “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 tiny and manipulation, court-ordered developments and new forms of scru­ for the benefit of these inner “persons”: restrictions on a pregnant woman’s activities in order to protect her fetus, fetal surgery, amniocentesis, abortion rights, to name but a few examples. 70 and rescinding o”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “developments and new forms of scru­ for the benefit of these inner “persons”: 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. 70″

Page 16, Underline (Red):
Content: “68 David Harvey, personal communication, November 1989.”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Even if we succeed in substituting more egalitarian, interactive metaphors to describe the activities of egg and sperm, and manage to avoid the pitfalls of cybernetic models, we would still be guilty of endowing cellular entities with personhood. More crucial, then, than what kinds of personalities we bestow on cells is the very factthat we are doing it at all. This process could ultimately have the most disturbing social consequences. “

Page 17, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Even if we succeed in substituting more egalitarian, interactive metaphors to describe the activities of egg and sperm, and manage to avoid the pitfalls of cybernetic models, we would still be guilty of endowing cellular entities with personhood. More crucial, then, than what kinds of personalities we bestow on cells is the very factthat we are doing it at all. This process could ultimately have the most disturbing social consequences. “

Page 17, Note (Orange):
Like Jane Goodall with chimps

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “One clear feminist challenge is to wake up sleeping metaphors in science, particularly those involved in descriptions and the sperm. “

Page 17, Underline (Blue):
Content: “One clear feminist challenge is to wake up sleeping metaphors in science, particularly those involved in descriptions and the sperm. “

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “descriptions of the egg”

Page 17, Underline (Blue):
Content: “of the egg”

Page 17, Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Waking up suchmetaphors, by becoming aware of their implications, will rob them of their power to naturalize our social conventions about gender. “

Page 17, Underline (Blue):
Content: “Waking up suchmetaphors, by becoming aware of their implications, will rob them of their power to naturalize our social conventions about gender. “

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