Are Women Necessary?
By NATALIE ANGIER
Published: November 11, 2003
Abundant evidence suggests that females are the first sex, the ancestral sex, the sex from which males are derived.
Boys owe their lives to their mothers in more ways than one. Yet recent experiments with stem cells hint that women, not men, may eventually prove obsolete.
Granted, a post-feminine future sounds far-fetched. In many species, including our own, the fundamental body plan is female, with maleness being a bit of window-dressing tacked on at the last minute.
Some groups of insects, fish and lizards consist entirely of females, which give birth only to daughters. By contrast, no self-sustaining, boys-only population has ever arisen in nature, the efforts of certain Southern golf tournaments notwithstanding.
Indeed, males are famous for their cheap, abbreviated gametes, and their poignant need for the warmth and wealth of the comparatively massive female sex cell to realize their dreams of immortality. You'd think they would be humble, grateful, even obsequious. But it seems that somewhere along the way those slippery flagella figured out a possible pathway to go it alone.
Here are the unnerving results that threaten the matriarchy: last spring, after years of effort, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere announced that they could grow working egg cells in the laboratory if they started with embryo tissue taken from either a female or a male mouse.
These hothouse eggs and their accompanying follicular matrix were so persuasive they even secreted and responded to estrogen, the archetypically ''female'' hormone.
In September, Japanese researchers said they could create robust little sperm cells in the lab, too -- but only if they began with the embryonic stem cells of a male animal. It turns out that the program for making eggs is stored on the chromosomes that males and females share. To manufacture sperm, however, you need that truncated, genetically penurious Y chromosome that only a male can claim.
In theory, then, male starter cells could be used to make eggs and sperm, and those eggs and sperm could be mixed together to yield a new generation. This would not be parthenogenesis as seen in whiptail lizards or Nature's other little sororities, with the parent capable only of spawning more of its own sex and hence being limited in its power to genomically outfox parasites.
This would be like old-fashioned, shake-'em-up, male-female sexual reproduction, a meeting of eggs and sperm. You could mix and match your fabricated eggs and sperm to generate boys and girls alike.
Except why bother with girls, if you don't need mothers to lay those little egg cells in the first place? You could have robust diversity in the human gene pool without the need for pesky separate restrooms.
True, women at the moment remain useful for their possession of another baby-friendly device, the uterus. But how long will this anatomical detail be an impediment to complete female obsolescence?
Already, researchers can keep baby goats alive in an artificial uterus, a big fishbowl of bubbling fluid, for weeks at a stretch. A full-term, full-service exoamniotic cocoon cannot be far behind.
Given such recent and imminent developments, Rebecca West, journalist, novelist and companion of H. G. ''Doomsday'' Wells, was eerily prescient in her observation that motherhood is ''like being one's own Trojan horse.''
Yet as women contemplate their pending irrelevance, they can take heart in a more immediate lesson to be gleaned from the latest experimental results. If inside every man's genome is a little mother yearning to be free, well, then, no more excuses when it's time to change the diapers.
The sad part about this article is that it was researched by a woman, written by a woman and I’m sure that same woman truly believed what she wrote, as will most of the other women who ever get to read it.
However anyone with even a elementary knowledge of humanity’s historic record would see the fatal flaw in this scenario and understand why it would be the end of humanity should it ever come to pass. As the very group the article claims might successfully inhabit the earth alone is the same group that has been ruling the planet since we first crawled out of the primal mist. It’s the larger, stronger and more aggressive half of humanity that dominates every species including our own. If you wish to be completely honest about it, they are the same ones who are currently driving our planet into ruin, killing off most of their animal brothers and sisters in between steady bouts of killing off their human ones in these endless wars over nothing that they continue to engage in. Not to mention the wars over resources that continuously spring up amongst them.
Common sense would show that if one sex was to be chosen to ensure maximum survival benefit for any species it should be female. But unfortunately, common sense appears to not be very common these days.
Any unbiased reading of statistics demonstrates that from Brooklyn to Baghdad men steadily engage in violent and anti-social behavior against humanity at a far higher rate then women do. This doesn’t even count the endless so-called legitimate wars they constantly declare against one another. I’m just talking about the soccer riots, the drunken fights they engage in, violent robberies, rapes, murders, etc., Not to mention the ordinary run of the mill stoning of woman for minor transgressions and serial killing of women in bizarre sex crimes. Reading through some of Steven E. Rhoads, book “Taking Sex Differences Seriously” you can see certain statistics hold up worldwide, btw. So we’re not just talking about behaviors specific just to western civilization here or any cultural differences that would explain male aggression for men residing in either Brooklyn or Baghdad. He’s the same essential being standing on a street corner in Brooklyn or sitting in a tent off a sand dune somewhere, same being.
Actually the incredible thing to my mind is that historically women have managed to not just survive; but also to raise so many of our young to maturity in the hostile climate that man collectively has created for us. When you read a history book or take a look at a newsfeed from another country and see what life was and still is like today for so many women, you have to just be amazed at the ingenuity, bravery and sheer tenacity that woman have displayed over the ages just to get any of us alive here today.
So you’re an awful idiot if you believe that either God or nature would chose the male of our species as the optimum choice to continue humanity’s role on this planet. That’s a choice you make when you’re fed up with a species and trying to put an end to it.