What am I doing with a blog?

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little swimmers August 24, 2007

Filed under: feminism — himbly @ 9:27 am

Did I once swim out of my daddy’s privates?

It’s a small peeve and one that certainly leads to funny jokes such as the one I just linked to from Landover Baptist Church and Bertram on Family guy. But it still bugs me.

We all know that to make a baby that two gametes, one male/sperm and one female/egg, meet to form a zygote which eventually becomes you, your little sister or your baby brother.

I find it interesting that, in popular culture, we often refer to the sperm as a tiny tiny version of the baby swimming around in the father’s testicles. We anthropomorphize the sperm but not the egg. The egg is the ‘goal’ or the ‘destination’ of the sperm, but often seen as devoid of ‘baby making’ material. This leads, logically, to the mother’s role as nothing but an incubator for a baby that is entirely the father’s. Which, as we all know, is bullshit. It almost feeds into the idea that, as a society, we’re so freaked out that men don’t make babies that we compensate.

Just interesting. Any thoughts?

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9 Responses to “little swimmers”

  1. Reg Says:

    I have never, ever, thought of this issue before. Perhaps I’ll never be considered a good feminist but why are you even worrying about this? A baby should be made by or with two people who love each other. What the sperm does or the egg does hardly matters (to me anyway).

    This being said and thinking about it for a minute, I see your point about how popular culture anthropowhateverizes the sperm, I have a male view point for you though. A lot of us guys feel that once the seeds have been sown society ignores our role in the whole baby making process. The mom glows, we barley exist in the background. I cetainly think a woman who is 6-7 months pregnant is beautiful to look at, no one looks at us. There is a shower for her, nothing for him. The delivery is all about the mother and baby, yet most of us men are scared shitless in that room (the first time anyway) and would love to have someone say ‘how’d you make out?’ Give us our Homer Simpson cartoon sperm image, you gals get all the other glory – and deservedly so. I could go on…

  2. himbly Says:

    I think the key there is ‘…and deservedly so’, Reg. Are you forgetting who’s body changes suddenly? Who’s entire chemistry goes out of whack? Who’s even more scared shitless in that room? Who’s chance of dying in that room is greater? I could go on and on and on. Give me a break. I mean, I have no intention of belittling the father’s role in babymaking/childbirth but in the end, honestly, it’s the woman who goes through the most. However, if someone doesn’t ask the father how it went in there nor congratulate him on the birth of his child then maybe he should surround himself with more sensitive people.

    My point in this post, actually, was that women are still sometimes seen as vessels. Look at the story of Mary. Have you seen a woman who has been reduced to the role of vessel more than the mother of Jesus?

    Now, on the other hand, I did say in my post that I don’t see this as a huge deal…just an interesting aside. I will defend my point of view on this, but I am not keen to get it blown out of proportion like ~this~ is my key feminist statement to the world.

  3. Reg Says:

    I’ve got the Child Birth badge sewn twice on my sleeve and a special third one for a miscarriage so spare me the lecture on what the women goes through. I was there all three times and each pregnacy is a life changing experience, both good and sad.

    I suppose that some people out there view women as vessels. There are 6 Billion people out there with 6 Billion view points, not much we can do about that. I tried to give a male point of view, I can refrain from doing so if you like.

    As for the Virgin Mary, you and I have both opted out of the Church of Rome so we don’t need to get on a tangent about Mary. She is adored by a billion believers across the world. I’ll ask a question, would you rather have little Johnny and Suzie learn about the Virgin Mary or watch another tart shake her arse on the TV? The tart on the tube is doing more harm to the cause of feminism than the teachings of the Church.

  4. himbly Says:

    Whoa. Firstly, we’re having a discussion. Just because I come back with an opposing viewpoint doesn’t mean that I am telling you to shut up. Say what you want, but remember I get to say what I want, too.

    Secondly, maybe reread what you wrote in your first comment and then tell me again that you totally remembered what women go through in childbirth. Or at least that it would come across to me? I never said it wasn’t emotional for the father nor did I say it wasn’t life changing for him. But on a pure, physical level…spare ~me~ the “I’ve had kids’ speech. This isn’t about who’s experience was what…this is about which one, the man or the woman, goes through more physical pain over the 9 months it takes.

    Umm…as far as 6 billion viewpoints…so? This little blog is my little viewpoint. This post was my opinion about those those who see women as vessels. This post wasn’t saying “all men see women as vessels” nor was it saying “Reg sees women as vessels”. What I was saying is that I found it ~interesting~ that in popular culture, it is often the sperm that is refered to as almost a complete child awaiting a “landing space” in the mother.

    As for the Virgin Mary…I get to discuss what I think of the Catholic view of the mother of Jesus if I want. I think it is related to the idea of the anthropomorphizing of sperm. Also, this is not an ‘either/or’ option. I wasn’t discussing “another tart shaking her arse on TV”. I also think that it’s interesting when someone throws a somewhat unrelated topic at the opponent and says ‘what?? you prefer that?? you prefer tarts on TV?? because that’s what you get when you criticize the catholic view of Mary.” Does that make sense? Was I even talking about children watching TV in the first place?

    Again…it was just a small post about a small peeve of mine that I’ve noticed for a few years. I do not stake my feminist claim on this and this alone. It was just a pop culture blip that I happened to examine for a second. Of course you’re welcome to give your point of view here, Reg. I fear, however, that you feel as though I’m accusing you or ‘men’ of something. I”m not. It’s a societal thing I’m pointing out.

  5. Reg Says:

    The downside of comments sections is that it invites people to, well – leave comments.

    Despite your foresaking Mitchieville, Himbly, I like to hang around this little piece of the internet as I get to see a POV that is usually miles apart from my own. While you may have posted this because of a curious societal blip, it opened the door for me to vent on what I feel is a major societal issue – men and their place in the birthing process.

    Quite simply, men get the shaft when it comes to recognizing our part in all of this. I am not the only man who feels this way. Indeed, last weekend I discussed this very topic at length and the other guy felt the same way. Once we’ve ‘done the deed’ society ignores the man in all of this and this REALLY bothers me. I’ll spare you the lecture on dad’s rights and the mother centred bias of our legal system as I’ve got my own posts to write.

  6. himbly Says:

    “The downside of comments sections is that it invites people to, well – leave comments.”

    Apparently you didn’t read the part where I (indirectly) said that I prefer that people of differing opinions DO leave comments because I like different points of view. However, I guess the downside to that is sometimes the person you were commenting to doesn’t agree and says so.

    I hung around M’ville for that very reason, Reg, to see a point of view that was very different from my own. Unfortunately, I think M’ville took it to a tasteless level and so I’d rather find another blog that differs in view but can still maintain some decorum. Bumf is good for that. But I understand what drives you to seek out other opinions.

    Absolutely men ought to have more of a role in the birthing process. I wasn’t denying you that. The way it was presented, however, sounded more resentful than clear…I mean, in order to define men’s roles in the birthing process, then maybe one needs to be more realistic about the birthing process. This:

    “The mom glows, we barley exist in the background. ”

    may not be exactly accurate in the way it plays out. It’s hard to take seriously when it’s not portrayed properly.

    As for society ignoring the man as father…I’m sorry to be an asshole here but welcome to what it’s like for women in other aspects of life unless we actively make ourselves noticed. People resent feminism, but it’s the only thing that got us heard. So, get your facts together and make yourself heard. Father’s rights are important, most definitely. I completely agree with that…just know what you’re fighting. You’re not fighting someone who saw Family Guy one day and compared ‘woman as vessel’ from biblical times to today’s pop culture…because that’s real too. You’re fighting inequality in the legal system, something I did not speak to in this post.

    I mean, you’re absolutely welcome to discuss it here, too. Just recognize what you’re mad at.

  7. Jangari Says:

    I agree with you Himbly, and oging back to basics (I’m not going to get involved with all your peripheral arguments in the comments) the entire sperm-as-important-bit and egg-as-mere-vessel isn’t borne out by biology in the least. Being realistic, the man’s input (ha, nice pun), physically speaking, is merely to provide enough sperm so at least one can find the egg. The woman’s input though, as you point out Himbly, requires more than nine months of very energy intensive physically gruelling bodily alterations. The cultural role of the man in ‘birthing’ is something else altogether and is not, as I understand it, the issue here.

    I heard a brilliant quote from someone about the biology of eggs and sperm, regarding the fact that a male can perpetually produce more sperm throughout his lifetime, while a woman has a limited number of eggs innately, and will only produce a small fraction of those. Also, producing them is very energy intensive, while men produce millions of sperm in a single … period. Put simply, “sperm are small and cheap while eggs are large and expensive”.

  8. himbly Says:

    Thank you, Jangari. That’s exactly what I was talking about and, frankly, you explained it better than I did.

  9. himbly Says:

    I was just reading over these comments again and wanted to point out a couple of things. It is possible that it’s the feeling of inferiority (under society’s gaze) that Reg is speaking of that may cause the whole ‘womb envy’ thing that I’ve indirectly refered to. No, I”m not saying that Reg has ‘womb envy’…I’m just musing here.

    Something that I’ve also come across lately (in this thread and others). The idea that if one decides to leave ‘religion’ that they are no longer qualified to comment on it. Interesting…I think I may post on that.


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