By Pooja Dhingra
A sinologist, anthropologist, and a feminist, Emily Martin’s essay exposes the gender stereotypes hidden in biology which implies that female biological processes are less worthy than their male counterparts’ and also that women are less worthy than men.
The egg is large and passive,
The sperm is strong and active,
The egg must depend on the sperm for rescue
Even though the research (which the essay talks about in great detail) states that the egg has a more active role in the process of fertilisation and the egg and the sperm interact on mutual terms, text books continue to give us a fairy tale account of fertilisation.
Now, I don’t remember the contents of my biology book as it was long time back and I have been told that the biology books are more scientific these days, but look up some articles on reproduction or watch some videos and you will know why this essay is still relevant.
Even though this essay was written in 1991, and text books have changed, the narrative remains the same… in films, in books, in relationships. Sperms are still considered more valuable than eggs and an Indian man strongly believes if he doesn’t reproduce it’s not because of him.
Emily Martin wrote this essay to to shine a bright light on the gender stereotypes. I, for my part, have done a visual representation of the essay so that more of us are aware of it.