15 March 2007

Stale Anger

Has someone ever said something to you that made you so angry, that you mulled over it for years, and even fifteen years later whenever you think of it you still boil over in anger?


Er, me neither. Nothing to see here. Move along, people.
I'm reading a book at the moment called 'The case of the female orgasm: bias in the science of evolution' by Elisabeth A Lloyd. It is primarily a critique of the different theories about why women have orgasms. It's quite an interesting book.

But it reminded me, yet again, of something that happened in my year 10 science class which made me so angry, I still haven't got over it. Why, I don't know. I'm hopeing that blogging it will finally lay this demon to rest.

We were at the point in science class where we were studing sex. We had a test. I got 60/60, quite a good mark you may say. But I was actually marked wrong on one question, and made the perfect score by getting the bonus question right.

The question I was marked wrong on was: What is the female equivalent of the penis?

My answer was, of course, the clitoris.

When I got the test back there was a big red X next to my answer, and the words 'the vagina = complimentary organ.'

I was so angry. He hadn't asked what the complimentary organ was, he asked what the female equivalent was. And I knew it was the clitoris. All the literature I've read before and since says it's the clitoris.

Let me quote from this book I'm reading (pg 108):

It is crucial to note that the penis and the clitoris are the "same" organ in men and women; there is an organ in the primordial, undifferentiated embryo that turns into a penis if it recieves a dose of particular hormones; otherwise it matures into a clitoris. In other words, the penis and the clitoris have the same embryological origins and are thus called "homologous" organs.

The clitoris has a hood (a prepuce, homologous to the foreskin). It has erectile tissue which becomes engorged with blood during sexual excitement. It has the same amount of nerve endings as the penis. It is the female equivalent of the penis.

I know I was right. And I got full marks on the test anyway, so why am I still bitching about it so many years later?

Partly because I was right and he was wrong, and I didn't have the gumption to get up and argue my point more forcefully. Partly because I object to a man telling me about my sexual organs when he evidently has no idea. Partly because there was no mention whatsoever of the clitoris in the science curriculum, as if the only female sexual organs that matter are those related to popping out babies and being penetrated by a dick. But mainly because he was a bloody teacher, and he was not only teaching stuff that was wrong, he was deliberately leaving out an important part of the female sexual organs in a class where we covered everything else (ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, labia, the menstrual cycle etc). And I knew that a generation of girls would have to sit through this curriculum.

Every time I read another account of how the clitoris is the female equivalent of the penis, I feel vindicated. But it doesn't stop me being angry, for I am still powerless to change the curriculum and give girls the information about their bodies that they deserve to be taught.


ArtfulDodger said...

I think you have every right to be angry, ignorance is something that we all need to get angry about, whatever the subject matter, but especially with something like this, that is so easily understood and proven. Sad that the world is so slow to move along. I hope it did help to write it though. :)

Stinkypaw said...

I hope it did lay that demon to rest...

...and you were right all the way! ;-)

hasarder said...

You know, strangely enough, whenever I've thought of this since I wrote about it I haven't felt any anger at all! Maybe blogging really did lay the demon to rest.

If so, prepare for more whinging - it's cheaper than therapy!