Science and Society

From all of the videos we watched, I think I enjoyed “What we learn from insects’ kinky sex lives” the most. This video was most interesting to me because it not only talked about insects and how they reproduce, but also about how humans and insects differ, in not only reproduction, but also in the roles males and females take on in the relationship. In the video, Marlene Zuk says that “insects break a lot of the rules that we humans have about sex roles”. I think this is very interesting. Recently, in my global issues class, we were talking about females and males, and the gender roles we see them having. Men are considered the protectors, the strongest in the household, while females care for children. In insects, for example, katydid males, while mating, usually only find one partner because they create a nuptial gift to give to the females. This gift weighs about a third of the body weight of the insect, and is incredibly costly to produce, which means the katydids have a very small amount of mates in their lifetime, and are very picky with who they mate with. This is very different from humans, because we usually have many sexual partners, and men also don’t create gifts that weight a third of their weight. Another example is with ants. Many people, when shown army ant soldiers that protect the colony, believe that these ants are male, just because of the gender role they have programmed into their minds from a young age. From these examples, we can see that the roles humans have made up are not true in every life-form. Humans use males as the “model system”. Males and females are different, but they each have important roles in the society. Insects prove that, and I think it is important to stop having such a biased opinion, because these things do make a difference. 

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