With scientists only a few years off, they predict, of creating a means of female-only reproduction– meaning no men jacking off into cups, sperm popsicles, or anything like that being required, just a woman and her eggs — the reality is, women will be getting a whole lot more than just “empowered” in the coming years. But at what price?
“A woman needs a man
like a fish needs a bicycle.”
One acclaimed geneticist (Bryan Sykes, a prof at Oxford) has made the startling pronouncement in the past couple weeks, that he thinks the Y-chromosome (the “male” gene) is slowly but surely degrading and deteriorating so substantially that, in a mere 125,000 years, there will be no Y-chromosome, meaning, no men.
The geneticist has met with a barrage of anger, men writing him with fiery letters basically all saying “How can you betray your gender?” Seriously, that’s just ridiculous. Science is science, there’s no betrayal.
But if the very nature of men is in question, what does the old chiding of “Oh, be a man” really mean in the modern age?
What is a man? Is it that sexy, heroic, but emotional post-9/11 “fireman” kinda guy who puts others before him, overcomes his fears, and gets shit done in the face of all adversity? Is it the well-rounded office guy who’s a great dad and a weekend adventurer? How “manly” does a man need to be? Does he need to be “manly” at all?
“The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, it’s what makes babies into boys. Basically the human template is a female: the Y chromosome kicks in a few weeks after conception and makes a boy. “Men are genetically modified women,” explained Sykes. But unlike other chromosomes, the Y chromosome can’t repair itself and will, says Sykes, disappear altogether in about 125,000 years.
“Every generation one percent of men will have a mutation which reduces their fertility by 10 percent,” explained Sykes. Unlike most chromosomes, the Y does not travel through the generation in pairs, so can never repair itself from a mirror. Flaws are never repaired. “So if that goes on for generation after generation,” Sykes argued, “eventually there are no functioning Y chromosomes left.””
Men aren’t what they used to be– I mean, they’re not knuckle-dragging Cro-Magnons who’d grunt, beat their chest, and drag their wimminfolk around by the hair. Women may have come a long way, baby, like Virginia Slims used to claim, but men have come pretty fucking far, too. Maybe the deteriorating Y-chromosome is just part of evolution. Maybe the Y-chromosome’s just a defect after all, and its non-repair-ability means it’s just righting itself to become what it should’ve been after all… a pure X chromosome.
I don’t know, I’m being the devil’s advocate here. I’m a fan of men. I have a vested interest in seeing their kind propagating and succeeding, particularly their penises.
Still… we live in the post-98-pound-weakling world, where geeks are celebrated and bench presses don’t matter. Men get manicures, even buy makeup, and are no longer strangers to wax hair removal. If it wasn’t for the penis and tits, one would think the divides between our orientation just ain’t what it used to be, deteriorating Y-chromosome or not.
Is the fact that men are becoming more sympathetic, more expressive part of this ever-declining Y-chromosome? Is it all Germaine Greer’s fault for emasculating men? Enquiring minds want to know. Are men really, like this genetics doc says, just “genetically modified women” after all, in far more ways than one?
All the kidding aside, it’s time we seriously start studying our genders, and in far more probing ways.
Alfred Kinsey got the ball rolling with his landmark sexual studies more than half a century ago, but no huge advances have been made since, no big surprises, although I would like to extend a collective thank-you from the female race for enlightening us about the clitoris and the g-spot. We liked that. Useful, that bit of wisdom.
However, no study of that scale and magnitude has since been completed. We understand so much more about hormones and mind/chemistry connections, we have so many more resources at our disposal so that we can not only undertake an epic study of Kinsey-ian proportions, but also study the scientific causes and consequences of our desires and wants and in an interconnected sort of way; and, beyond that, to study those in a genetic history context. Compare who we’ve become to who we were, and not just genetically, but societally.
Whether it’s to explore links between mens’ sperm counts dropping (a whopping 20% in 50 years) over the same decades that desk jobs became more predominant, or to understand how women change when they make that change from being unable to orgasm to finally experiencing sexual bliss and how that impacts their lives, if it even does, or to just understand what the emotional ramifications of living in a touch-deficit, electronic-communication society might have on, well, all of us… these studies need to occur more often and in more far-reaching ways.
Gender and sexuality aren’t just fun things to chat about. They’re imperative to understand better. Men’s sperm counts bottoming out by 20% over just 50 years is just one startling example of how quickly we’re changing. To say that the Y-chromosome has a guaranteed 125,000 years shelf-life is as laughable as the scientists who, even 10 years ago, were saying we had a hundred or more years before the climate would be a real issue. Now they’re changing predictions every couple years. One could never have guessed a hundred years ago that men’s sperm counts would decline by a quarter before the century was through.
Gender roles have changed so completely in the last 50 years that we really don’t know where we stand sexually anymore. Who the fuck knows where we’ll be standing in the years to come? How can we possibly know what societal impacts might be doled out over the next centuries? Look at how much our globe has changed just since the internet was born in ’94. Nonetheless, science is our friend. We may not like the answers it provides us, but it’s sure as hell better than going blindly into the night. Even still, we certainly can’t marry ourselves to the information science yields; life moves too fast for science. But at least it’s a starting point.
In the meantime, girls, get yer men while the gettin’s good.