Why is everybody so anti…

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A Twitter thread by @radicalhag

Why is everybody so anti biological essentialism? It’s the new pomo insult or something. All it means is that female is a coherent concept biologically, as demonstrated by the way female sex characteristics reliably appear together.

Marcus’ great article here discusses this (the whole thing is worth a read and retweet):


So does this:


It’s not complicated. Gametes (in our case sperm or ova) are the carriers of genetic material, and the body evolved to ensure that they could combine and a new individual could be gestated. This is baked into nature all the way down to algae.

So if you produce sperm, you will have testicles to manufacture them, a penis to deliver them, and various secondary sexual characteristics to indicate that you are a male. Sperm are small, have few mitochondria and just deliver a single set of chromosomes.

If you produce ova, you will have ovaries to contain them, fallopian tubes to deliver them to your uterus, a uterus to gestate young, a vagina to receive genetic material from a male and give birth through, breasts to suckle the young.

Ova are large, packed with mitochondria and cytoplasm, provide one set of nucleal DNA and all the mitochondrial DNA, and are epigenetic coding factories for making people.

It would make no biological sense for females to have penises or males to have breasts, because they would not be able to reproduce, and so sexual selection ensures that they die out and people with standard assemblages of reproductive equipment are the norm.

There are no ambiguous gametes and there is no third gamete. There is no third sex. Sometimes people have most of the correct assemblage of body parts and are genetically male or female but are infertile.

Sometimes transcription or translocation errors mean that people have sexually ambiguous bodies and are almost always infertile. This is very hard on those people but they are not an additional sex.

Female and male are coherent concepts. They reliably refer to the set of female body parts, or male body parts, required for reproduction. That’s all that biological essentialism means. Let’s have more of it.

Gender essentialism, on the other hand, says that being male or female gives you specific personal characteristics and talents. That’s usually called sexism. It’s equivalent to biological determinism. Let’s have less of it.