62. Being Male: 14. When Women Mutate, You (Still) Get Men

I have been blogging now for two years.  I try to write two or three posts a month and try to post something quasi-original or, at least, well researched. I also like to keep a number of connected themes or works-in-progress running at the same time.  It makes for a messy blog but it keeps me amused.

As per the title, this blog is about men and what it feels like to be a man. Most men actually do want to understand themselves and certainly most women want to understand the men who occupy space in their life.

However, this blog is not about male exceptionality.  Quite the opposite.  The focus here is more on what we (men) share in common with non-men (women).  I also find that humor,  particularly the self-deprecating or man-deprecating kind, helps get the message across the gender line.  Yet, I do appreciate that I run the risk of irritating some men who perhaps do not share my sense of whimsy.

The most frequently viewed post on this blog — by a wide margin —  is one I wrote two years ago titled: When Women Mutate, You Get Men.  I am not completely sure why that post receives the most attention. I suspect it is more due to the provocative nature of the title and less because of the content.

In brief, that post simply walked through the genetic history of the Y chromosome and emphasized that the Y chromosome is a mutation of an X chromosome.  I admit I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole when I suggested that men are mutated women. More generally, it is the male sex that is a mutation.  This is true not only for humans but other sexually dimorphic species.

Nothing too earth shattering here.  (See, for example, the interactive resource available at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The other day, however, I was a little surprised when my daily statistics went through the relative roof.

Apparently, someone linked my man-as-mutated-woman post on the Reddit forum Mens Rights. That forum has the dubious honor of being identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (Intelligence Report Spring 2012).

62. Mens Rights

Needless to say, my post did not sit well with some commentators on Mens Rights. Specifically, I (as the author) am a dipshit, a feminist, ignorant of basic biology and science, and a Nazi.  The post itself was thought to be complete and utter garbage, bigotry wrapped in sophistry, and shit wrapped in more shit.

Yikes!  I am sensing some hostility.  (And a group of people who clearly enjoy wrapping things in other things.)

What is somewhat ironic, is that my post on the evolution of the Y chromosome was meant to be just a short lead-in to the more interesting  — in my opinion — post that followed: Everything Must End, Even Men.

In this follow-up post, I discussed the debate held at the 18th International Chromosome Conference over whether the Y chromosome would eventually disappear (and, therefore, men as we know and love them).  I suspect that those who subscribe to Mens Rights would have taken even greater umbrage to this post.  However, this post seemed to go unnoticed and slipped under the Mens Rights radar.

Now, the best part of the endangered-Y-chromosome post was the ending. To quote myself:

  • At the end of the debate, a vote was held on the likelihood that the Y chromosome would eventually disappear.  Two-thirds of the female geneticists in attendance felt that the Y chromosome’s days were numbered.  Two-thirds of the male geneticists in attendance, however, felt that the Y chromosome still had a lot of juice left in its tank.

I can’t speak to the qualifications and education of your average commentator on the Mens Rights forum but I am pretty sure those who attended and voted at the 18th International Chromosome Conference were highly knowledgeable.

And, as I have said before: No matter what your training or academic background may be (or whether you are a male supremacist or a geneticist), men and women usually vote with their chromosomes and not often against them.