by Coleen Singer at Sssh.com
Vagina News? Well, actually, there is almost never as much news about vaginas as there is about penises. Because, you know, patriarchy. But this article from National Geographic points out an interesting imbalance that seems to be happening in the world of animal reproductive research: it’s all about cocks. And by that I mean roosters, silly! And elephants, ducks, lizards, insects, whales, etc. But mainly it’s about animal dick (and Tom and Harry and Rover and Bandit), not pussy (or kitty or moggie or catkins).
The NatGeo story refers to a well known study about duck penises that went viral, but points out a very interesting conundrum:
“Thanks to a newly published study and an eye-opening video, people learned that while most birds lack penises at all, male ducks have huge, corkscrew-shaped ones. During sex, they extrude these into females at high speed. Since then, duck penises have become a short-hand for the “ain’t nature wacky” genre of science writing, and an unexpected focal point for debates about the value of basic science.
And during that time, one important part of the original study was lost. People forgot that the story of duck penises is really the story of duck vaginas.”
Furthermore, the article points out that most animal research of this kind focuses on the male appendage and not the female organs, and that this is glaringly obvious, even when the female’s apparatus or behavior are just as significant in the reproductive function of that species.
Kinda like, behind every good man is a good woman, or that thing where you know that confident, swaggering business executive would be a sniveling, stinky loser without his female secretary who makes sure his shirts are fresh, his fly is zipped, and he doesn’t answer the phone thinking it’s wife when it’s his girlfriend.
So why does this inequity persist? Is it because most scientific researchers in this field are male and they prefer doing research about body parts they can kinda relate to? No, the authors say, female scientists also like to study animal dick.
Their conclusion: a rod is more interesting than a fishing hole. Or, as they put it,
“A more likely explanation is that a tube is much easier to study than a cavity. Male genitals stick out and they’re often rigid, making them easy to observe, measure and manipulate—there’s an entire genre of penis–shaving studies out there. But female genitals are usually concealed. “They have to be dissected out, which changes their shape,” says Michael Jennions from Australian National University. “This is laborious work [and requires] old-school anatomical skills that are declining in modern biology.” (This may explain why the bias is less pronounced in studies of spiders, whose females often have obvious external genitals.)
To that I say: Penis shaving??? Please tell me that’s just another word for “manscaping.”
Also, it is somewhat worrying that “old school anatomical skills” are “declining in modern biology.” Ya know if there was ever a time in our history that we were in need of some solid expertise in biology (what with all the radiation, toxic pesticides, hydraulic fracturing and other environmental nasties we’re subjecting ourselves to that are affecting our bodies in all kinds of bad ways, not to mention human assholery like hipster beards, vajazzling and naming all of our male children some version of Jayden/Cayden/Aidan/Branden), it’s now. Get with it, scientists! Equal time for vaginas