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ERIC Number: ED374447
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Gender and the Rhetoric of Reproduction in Popular Science Texts.
Lurkis, Elisa
In academia, theorists in rhetoric are interested in viewing how race, gender, and class come into play in the language of literature. The same might be done with popular science texts. A rhetorical analysis of "Sperm Wars," a popular science article published in "Discover" magazine, suggests that cultural assumptions inform the language of science as well as the language of the humanities. In fact, the politically-charged metaphors employed by scientists stand to cause harm as they reinforce certain cultural assumptions as "natural," rooted in biology. The metaphors that dominate this article are: (1) sperm as militaristic entity, combatting and battling its way to victory; (2) sperm as strong, sexual aggressor, staunchly pursuing its goal amidst unspeakable danger; (3) sperm as representative of capitalistic, economic theory, competing against or working as team player with his sperm coworkers. The metaphors used to discuss the egg, however, remain consistent through the article. Whenever an egg is mentioned, which is not often, the language depicts images of nurturance and passivity. While the female metaphors reinforce narrow notions of femininity, the male metaphors naturalize military action. Within a culture whose government spends more money on militaristic endeavors than any other nation in the world, to look at sperm as another militarized zone is to permit and condone militaristic government action. Other metaphors naturalize economic notions such as competition, means of production, cost effectiveness, quality control, and mass production. Science should avoid such evaluative language and metaphor. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A