Day: October 23, 2019

From humans to asparagus, females are females


Many people attempt to undermine the material reality of sex by highlighting weird and wonderful examples of variation in the natural world.

“But clownfish change sex [therefore sex is not objectively defined]”

“But some animals don’t have X/Y chromosomes [therefore the human system is unreliable]”

“But some people have reproductive disorders [therefore sex doesn’t exist]”

Here is my response.

Clownfish. These fish, like many others, are sequential hermaphrodites. In the case of clownfish, a group contains one dominant female and if she is removed from the group, a male changes into a female to replace her. Sex change in clownfish occurs when the testicular tissue of the bipotential gonad is regressed and ovarian tissue promoted.  

How to recognise a female clownfish: She’s usually big. Oh, and she makes large gametes.

Anglerfish. These fish display extreme dimorphism between the sexes. The tiny males permanently fuse themselves to a female, adopting a…

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