Thursday, 15 June 2017

Tell me if I'm missing the point.

In the abstract reproduced below, Swedish gender scholar Åsa Carlson seems puzzled that most women think they're female and most men think they're male. This egregious failure to understand the way things are requires explanation. There are, admittedly, among male / 'male' and female / 'female' non-human animals differences in body size, in markings, in plumage and in pre-coital display, and mate selection based on this. Then there is the matter of which parent guards the eggs, tadpoles or cubs, and which one might snack on the placenta, or the offspring or the sperm donor, and what atavistic impulses might prompt such behaviours, but worrying about whether they are male or female is silly because the animals blindly performing these acts have no words for male or female, so these cannot be natural categories. Obviously.

Maybe there's room for a paper on what we shall term dendrism, defined as the human projection of the categories 'evergreen' and 'deciduous' on a diverse range of woody life forms whether they self-identify as such or not. Then there could be a new field, Emancipatory Dendrology, to keep a few more academics off the dole queue for a while.


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