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Yes, yes, but we need a simple word to describe this

The words “male” and “female” should be phased out in science because they reinforce ideas that sex is binary, scientists have suggested.

Researchers studying ecology and evolutionary biology should be encouraged to use terms such as “sperm-producing” or “egg producing” or “XY/XX individual” to avoid “emphasising hetero-normative views”, experts say.

But when describing sex – not gender, but sex – then egg producing is female, sperm male. So, why not use those simple words to describe those sexes?

After all we’re doing biology here, right? Sex is the thing under discussion, not gender.

There’s also a certain wonder here. If we’re not going to talk about sex and its divisions then how can we even have the concept of hetero to be normative about? Or even positive about. Unless there is something called hetero, sperm tab into egg slot and all that, then what is there that we can compare any other arrangements with?

13 thoughts on “Yes, yes, but we need a simple word to describe this”

  1. Yes, but sex IS binary.

    To quote Feynman, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

  2. Whichever idiot is suggesting “XY/XX individual” knows sod all about biology. XY only applies in some species, others use ZW sex determination genes.

    [Silly note: ZZ Top would be male, ZW Top female.]

  3. I’m confused- science has used gametes as the definition for decades. And they are binary apart from very rare exceptions wher biological processes have misfires in development. Saying egg or sperm producing is still a binary division.

  4. Gender is ONLY for grammar to designate nouns as masculine, feminine or neuter.

    Using it to designate sex or sexual identity of Humans was made up nonsense by a New Zealand psychologist, sexologist and author in the 1920s.

  5. “ Gender is ONLY for grammar to designate nouns as masculine, feminine or neuter.”

    There’s the root of the problem. What does it mean to say, for example that a table is masculine or feminine? If we say masculine nouns end in o and feminine end in a what does that have to do to male or female? What property is it describing. Do the roots of this classification go back to “this thing has properties considered more pertaining to men or to women”? Why do we persist in using gender in grammar?

  6. Phoenix: absolutely right – and it won’t be long before it turns out that “sperm-producing” and “egg-producing” are themselves transphobic, probably fascistic terms and in need of replacement by something even more ridiculous.

  7. “ ” Why do we persist in using gender in grammar?”

    Mostly, in English, we don’t.”

    I was trying not to sound too superior to foreign by explicitly saying that they should follow our fine example. I appreciate it’s a historical evolution over millennia but we really should push back on this linguistic nonsense from the woke brigade . Funnily enough are some wokists are calling to de-gender the Latin languages because their use of gender offends them (latinx?).

    Let’s begin the push back then by calling women who act actresses and not actors.

  8. AtC: well, ZZ Top were about as male as they come, though I don’t think they named themselves after bird chromosomes.

  9. What if you’ve had a vasectomy? Kind of screws up the redefinition…

    Ok, technically you can still produce the sperm internally, but you can’t ‘produce’ it into a vial or vagina on demand.

  10. @Arthur the cat – “sod all about biology”

    Indeed. And XY/ZW only covers some of it. There are further systems, with plants being complicated, for example.

    The whole thing is complete nonsense. You can see their recommendations at where you’ll find that “man / woman” is listed in the “Harmful Term” column, with the recommended replacement being “Male or female / Human” only for another row in the table to list “Male/female” in the “Harmful Term” column. You’d think they could at least read their own table and at least make their story consistent.

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