Oct 26 2010

Mantid of the week

Praying mantid

Greetings from Spinster HQ, O ye commenters and readers of comments! The “Latest Blamer Invective” sidebar function upon which you have come to dote so warmly has experienced a warp core breach. Two female characters with names are discussing it, and should have it back online before the third act. Meanwhile, please bask in the awesomeness that is the praying mantis. But not before taking a moment to contemplate the anti-female implications of an old bit of dudescience.

The lore related to female mantids eating the heads of males in order for them to successfully copulate has more recently been questioned. Apparently, the original research was conducted with starved specimens.” – Drees & Jackman, A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects

In other words, the storied stone-cold bloodthirstiness of oversexed killer mantid females has turned out to be bogus.

“In nature, mating usually takes place under cover, so rather than leaning over the tank studying their every move, we left them alone and videotaped what happened. We were amazed at what we saw. Out of thirty matings, we didn’t record one instance of cannibalism, and instead we saw an elaborate courtship display, with both sexes performing a ritual dance, stroking each other with their antennae before finally mating. It really was a lovely display”.[cite]

Stressed by unnatural laboratory conditions, mantid females go into survival mode and may eat the odd male or two. Who wouldn’t? Yet mantid researchers of yore obtained the result they wanted (female mantids are super-kinky brain-eating zombie bitches) by manipulating the subjects (starving them) until they exhibited the desired aberrant behavior (encephalophagia) that they could then characterize as abnormal compared to the default (male) subject. Thus was the time-honored Pyschotic Sexual Predator Sexpot narrative transubstantiated by dudescience into Mantistown. Where it’s become the bug world equivalent of “Snapped.”

Undoubtedly a capillary-wave or two of disappointment will ripple across Lake Savage Death when it becomes more widely known that unstarved female mantids don’t, as a rule, eat the heads off males during copulation. This disappointment is understandable. Because let’s face it, it tickles a feminist’s fancy, however fleetingly, whenever a female socks it to the Man, especially when she (the female) deploys grisly, antisocial methods likely to produce copious amounts of blood, even if she (the female) is an insect. But after the initial frisson of excitement dissipates, the feminist recalls that, as pleasant as it is to contemplate a world in which all men are dead, such a utopia could not be realized without violence, and that violence — i.e. domination — equals patriarchy.

What have we learned? That the dominant culture will unfairly characterize females as villains whenever possible, and that men are just going to have to figure how not to be fucking asshole schoolgirl rapist barbarians on their own. Their unwillingness to do this is the root of all human, and quite a lot of non-human, suffering.

Praying mantis, Cottonmouth County, TX. October 2010.


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  1. dana

    But of course, tis super awesome to STARVE females, of any species. That sh*it rocks.

  2. Trevor

    The first time I heard the whole “female-mantis-eats-male-mantis-after-sex” thing, I wasn’t thinking anything about abnormality, but biology.

    Namely, that male insects are fairly disposable. Once the female has his genetic material in her, he has outlived his utility to her. At which point she sees him as nothing more than a snack. After all, carrying offspring to term is an energy intense process, and that extra boy-snack seems fairly useful.

    Of course, now that the truth is out, I suppose I’ll have to rethink the whole situation.

  3. redpeachmoon

    “men are just going to have to figure how not to be fucking asshole schoolgirl rapist barbarians on their own”

    I love you Jill! and why so many reruns on ‘Snapped’? I anxiously await new episodes.

  4. Laughingrat

    That second-to-last paragraph is really exquisite.

  5. Pansuit Sally

    This discovery is actually a bit disappointing to me. The head-consuming female mantis was great ammo when some knob started using “This is the way it’s done in the animal world!” to justify the oppression of female humans.

  6. yttik

    I am oddly disappointed, too. Naturally I do not advocate bitting the heads off men after using them for reproductive purposes, but it was heartwarming knowing an insect might consider it appropriate.

    Jill’s point about Snapped and women as villains is quite accurate of course. Just the same, I do enjoy it when the boys feel as if they must sleep with one eye open. Yes indeed, you just never know when I might have a passive aggressive breakdown and pee in the coffee pot or something. That’s why we highly suggest you immediately cease and desist from oppressing women and leaving them no outlet for their anger.

  7. Hermionemone

    The story wasn’t just that the female eats the male after sex, it was that she bites off his head DURING sex, and that his abdomen would continue pumping sperm, resulting in more effective fertilization (due to removing the ‘inhibitory signals’ from the brain). And only then would she eat the rest of him as a nutritional contribution to their future offspring.

    I guess that was just a legend serving to keep male mantises in their place after all. Next thing they’ll be telling us that the male honeybee DOESN’T explode through his hemipenes and die at the moment he fertilizes the Queen. That legend was helpful to ensure committment and self-sacrificial sense of duty. What is the world coming to, a kinder, gentler mother Nature?

  8. JBT

    I will miss the murderous mantis of yore only because it was an antidote to the lived experience of female humans under the patriarchy – in which the male of the species controls all space through intimidation and violence. Although only some men stomp women political activists in the head, all men benefit.

  9. wiggles

    So it’s still the natural order for female critters to bite the heads off male critters when those female critters are subject to starvation and rape culture, but female critters dig sex when it’s mutual and not coerced. Makes sense.

  10. Mortisha

    Mantids are wonderful creatures. As for the wild extrapolations on the behaviour starving specimens, it bloody figures. It all fits into the black widow stereotype.

    So many early animal behavioural studies were done in artificial stressful environments; there no doubt is a whole world of bullshit assumptions that need debunking.

    For natureoholics, here is a great little research study on Assassin bugs http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/10/26/the-strumming-assassin-that-hunts-spiders-on-their-own-webs/

    Goddess nature is relentlessly, fantastically awesome.

  11. slashy

    I am somewhat disappointed to have one my favourite bug-sex-myths debunked, for there was a time in my young adolescent life when the sticky, gooey and chitinous details of bug sex fascinated me beyond compare, and the preying-mantis-head-eater one was a formative and lovely thing for an 11 year old girl to go about believing. However, the ongoing process of debunking centuries worth of totally ridiculous, artificially formulated conclusions about the natural world, designed mostly to conform with the mythologies held dear by the scientists who published them, and the societies from which those scientists sprang, is a worthy one. Heartwarming nature crap is quite awesome enough without needing the moral panics and sexypsychomankillingladymantids mythologies of people painted over the top of it.

  12. TwissB

    Just wait until Lionel Tiger and Edward Wilson hear about this. It’ll just kill them. And not a moment too soon.

  13. mercurialsunshine

    yttik- “Naturally I do not advocate bitting the heads off men after using them for reproductive purposes, but it was heartwarming knowing an insect might consider it appropriate.”- That lovely sentence captures my sentiments perfectly.

    Stories about violence against men always involve either heavy condemnation of the evil woman who hurt some innocent man (ha!) or a horrible back story of the woman’s abuse by the man. Usually the stories involve both. (“I know he was trying to rape her, but he’s really a good kid, and she should have defended herself more gently. She assaulted him!”) A nice story of unprovoked homicide (insecticide?) was just delicious.

    Pantsuit Sally- I hadn’t even thought of that. We’ve still got lions, where the males are lazy, and the females do all the work. But telling some smug evo psych cretin that female animals do all the work just isn’t as fun as telling them that female animals decapitate males during sex. Plus, everyone knows that human men do all the real work, while women just lounge around the house all day. And the second shift, of course, is pure invention by whiny feminists out to oppress hard-working dudes.

    I’m on a procrastination binge, so I did some research. Apparently male animals are nearly always dominant- because they have to be to get the sexy ladies, obviously. Female animals are only dominant when they need to protect their babies.

    Amazingly, even in the face of such staggering evidence, I remain unconvinced by evo psych arguments that women are biologically designed to care about nothing but our babies. However, I am thoroughly convinced that we need more women in upper level research positions. Somehow, the entirely objective, not at all biased, brilliant, male scientists seem to be missing something. I wonder why that could be?

    No, I don’t wonder. I blame.

  14. speedbudget

    Hermionemone, rest assured. The drones of the bee world do, in fact, die upon mating, much as the workers die upon stinging. Bee mating is actually quite beautifully done. Drones fly a certain distance from their hive and create a kind of whirlwind of manliness in the sky, a cone of drones. They wait for queens to fly their way (who fly a different distance from their hives in order to avoid insemination by their own drones). The queens enter the drone maelstrom, and the drones begin competing to mate with her. She mates with many, many drones over many, many days. They all die! She saves their little sperm packets inside of herself. She can actually choose to fertilize or not fertilize her eggs as she lays them. That is some control! I forget if fertilized are drones or workers. Sorry!

    The workers also kick any drones still hanging around the hive out in the fall, since drones are pretty much useless. They can’t even feed themselves properly. Workers have to do all that as they just bumble around the hive being generally useless. When the weather changes, they are booted out to die on their own.

    I love bees! I think everyone should have a hive or two, especially since they aren’t able to persist past a year or two in the wild on their own.

  15. speedbudget

    Also, the myth about queens fighting over the hive is just that: A myth. The hive knows when a new queen is needed, probably as a result of a pheromone feedback loop. The queen lays her eggs, and the workers put the special jelly in some of them, and those are to be new queens. The first one that hatches does indeed kill the other queens that are still in their pupal cases. However, there is no fighting between the established queen and the new one. The hive elegantly and naturally splits. We don’t know how they decide who will stay and who will go, but they split along their party lines, and the old queen goes with the swarm to find a new place to roost while the new queen stays in the established hive to begin laying eggs.

    Oh, and the split doesn’t happen until the new queen is properly mated, so the two queens live side by side for a number of days with no cat fights.

  16. yttik

    That’s a good point, Speedbudget. In nature females are not at each other’s throats fighting for a male prize. The lions work together to hunt, the queen bees start a new hive. In much of the human world women work cooperatively with each other, too. It’s only in recent “civilized” society where we have this narrative about women allegedly hating each other and constantly competing for male attention.

  17. Sylvie

    Go to the ant thou sluggard, and consider her ways.

  18. janicen

    The seahorse is a good example in the animal kingdom to present to dudes who claim it’s natural for women to have babies and stay home. The female seahorse deposits her eggs in the pouch of the male who carries the eggs until gestation. The male swells, while the female slims down. In several species of seahorse, the male stays close to the habitat while the female is free to roam.

  19. Terry Stone

    Although I have no doubt that laboratory conditions have contributed to an excess of mantid head scarfing, I have actually witnessed a female mantis eating a male’s head while they copulated in a shrub. So please be aware that it does happen. And the interesting thing was that the male’s body appears to continue its sexual function for a short time even without the head.

  20. tinfoil hattie

    speedbudget, are you telling me that queen bees ABORT BABY BEES? MURDERESSES!

  21. wiggles

    @janicen – Penguins are another species where the males hatch the egg and take care of the chick while the female goes out and hunts for food.
    The colorful plumage on male birds compared to their drab female counterparts makes an animal kingdom ev psych case that females are more visual and men should adorn themselves with high heels and makeup to attract us.

  22. Karley

    They may take away the mantis, but at least we still have spotted hyenas.

  23. Hermionemone

    That’s awe inspiring, Speedbudget. I do remember that the unfertilized eggs are the males, they only get half sets of chromosomes (the ‘haplo’ in the ‘haplo-diploid’ sex determination scheme). Worker ants (same haplodiploidy) can sometimes lay unfertilized eggs and if the eggs survive to hatch and be taken care of, they turn out to be males.

    I didn’t know the young bee queens went out cruising and returned to the hive multiple days before setting off on their own. That makes so much sense: she can rest and get fed and recruit her crew of loyal worker bees before migrating on a day of fine swarming weather. I wonder if the workers scout out likely new hive locations ahead of time and do their special butt-dance to tell where it is, like they do for food sources. Bees are so cool, I love bees (but I wouldn’t want to live like one: the queen is a prisoner, workers are slaves, drones are expendable).

  24. JP

    I usually only lurk here, but as an evolutionary biologist I feel I need to step in and do some de-debunking. Detecting patriarchal bias in the sciences, especially in biology, and eliminating it is a goal I take very seriously, so this post really ticks me off.

    If you’re going to claim that a reported experimental result, especially one that has the status of common knowledge, is just an artefact of the experimental setup, and that furthermore the experiment was set up the way it was for ideological reasons (or at least because of ideology), you should at least be sure that the result is really an artefact.

    In the case of mantids, the claim is that sexual cannibalism occurs because of stress and starvation in captivity. Your source for this is a paragraph from a field guide, and a paragraph from a student essay that itself merely quotes from another online essay (that is no longer extant). Now, I don’t expect you to become an entomologist before discussing mantids, but ten minutes with Google Scholar would have revealed a dozen or so papers which show that that is just not true.

    In fact, even though laboratory studies are much more numerous, the existence of sexual cannibalism in mantids is confirmed by field studies in a variety of species. Females successfully cannibalise the males in about 10-30% of matings. The cannibalism usually begins before or during copulation. Hungry females are more likely to eat their mate than well-fed ones, but wild populations of cannibalistic species are usually food-limited. And these observations in the wild are concordant with what people see in the lab. There is ample evidence that the behaviour is NOT a result of sloppy or nefarious experimentation.

    I’m rather disappointed that neither you nor any of the other commenters apparently bothered to check this out. It’s really not that hard, and false diagnoses of scientific bias just make it harder for those of us trying to fight it where it’s actually happening.

    A sampling of references:

    Birkhead, T.E. et al. 1988. Sexual cannibalism in the praying mantis Hierodula membranacea. Behaviour, 106:112-118

    Lawrence, S.E. 1992. Sexual cannibalism in the praying mantid, Mantis religiosa: a field study. Anim. Behav., 43:569-583

    Vahed, K. 1998. The function of nuptial feeding in insects: a review of empirical studies. Biol. Rev. Cam. Phil. Soc., 73:43-78

    Wilder, S.H. et al. 2009. The importance of ecological and phylogenetic conditions for the occurrence and frequency of sexual cannibalism. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst., 40:21-39

  25. Jill

    October 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I usually only lurk here, but as an evolutionary biologist I feel I need to step in and do some de-debunking […] Wilder, S.H. et al. 2009. The importance of ecological and phylogenetic conditions for the occurrence and frequency of sexual cannibalism. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst., 40:21-39

    No. 1 Science Information! I never claimed that females never eat the males. Really! Read the post again!

    The thing is, the notion that every mantid coupling culminates in “sexual cannibalism” — o-la-la, there’s that frisson again! — is a myth, a myth of the sort that, outside of mantidology circles, legitimizes negative stereotypes about human women. Furthermore, no research, not even that which pertains to the mating habits of mantids, exists in a patriarchy-free zone, so of COURSE it is influenced by patriarchal mores.

    Thanks for hipping me to the existence of a bunch of papers you haven’t read, though, and for explaining that Googling is easy. I sure hope that Evolutionary Biology survives my brutal attack, because I like science!

  26. JP

    Jill, you’re being disingenuous now – you quote a paragraph that says no cannibalism was observed in the wild, and then go on to say that cannibalism was observed in captivity because biologists were “manipulating the subjects (starving them) until they exhibited the desired aberrant behavior.” That is simply not true. The behaviour isn’t aberrant. Implying that it is, apparently without bothering to check whether that was really true, earns you a reminder that googling is easy.

    We could go into a discussion about whether the popular belief female mantids eat the heads of males in copulo implies that people believe female mantids always do so. I think it’s more plausible to interpret it instead as a belief about which mantis behaviours are natural or expectable, along the lines of other generic beliefs like dogs chase cats, and therefore as being literally true. That is why, by the way, I never accused you of claiming that female mantids never eat their mates. But that’s neither here nor there. What’s really problematic is how that belief is deployed in the context of patriarchy, and what is to be done about it. Even if female mantids always ate their mates (as opposed to around 30% of the time in the species people in Europe and the US usually encounter), the use of that fact to legitimise the oppression of women would still be unjustifiable. We should primarily be attacking the use of the mantis-related beliefs, and not their factuality – especially not without evidence. When we do the latter, and are proven wrong, we simply set back the project of eliminating patriarchal influences from the sciences.

    To think this, we needn’t deny that patriarchy influences even mantis research. But it, all things considered, does so only in the trivial sense in which it influences any activity whatsoever. There are plenty of other examples in biology in which the influence of patriarchy is not only non-trivial, but highly pernicious. Which is to say, I fully agree with your wider moral, but you chose a bad example, and did so in a disappointingly sloppy fashion. I know you like science – that’s why I bothered to criticise you when you misused it.

    Why you imagine I’ve not read the papers is also beyond me. Projection, perhaps? It really isn’t a huge effort to read four science papers, at least when you’re a scientist and know what you’re doing. ;)

    Anyway, that’s all from me.

  27. Mortisha

    Some lacewing larvae like to stick the hollow carcases of their vanquished quarry on their backs.

    That’s a nice metaphor.

  28. Sylvie

    JP, how about Googling the word “polemic”.

  29. speedbudget

    tinfoil hattie: YES. And LATE-TERM at that! What a BITCH!

    Hermionemone: The scouts don’t start searching for a new hive until the swarm happens. Actually, it’s very safe to approach and capture a swarm. The bees don’t technically have a home to defend, so they are pretty docile. Also, right before they swarm, they fill their little bee bellies with as much honey as they can suck down, so even if they want to sting, their abdomens are too fat to be able to effectively get the stinger in you.

    If you watch a swarm closely, you will see the dance going on. Many scouts come back and each competes for their hive location. It must be nearby and safe and warm with a supply of water and food nearby. Again, we don’t know how the bees decide, but they eventually make a collective decision about which scout’s hive location they will relocate to, and suddenly the swarm will be gone. It’s really quite fascinating.

    What’s even cooler is they have found that their dance uses gravity as a stand-in for the sun inside the hive (where of course it’s pitch black). I mean, come on. THAT IS JUST AMAZING.

  30. speedbudget

    Shoot. I used a bad word in my reply to tinfoil and hermionemone. Soon it will hopefully be out of moderation.

    I need to keep a list of watch words.

  31. Elizabeth

    This myth (or not) about the female mantis was described articulately and in a lovely way by Marina Warner in her lecture collection, Six Myths of Our Time, I believe in the chapter called “Monstrous Mothers.”

    Biological observations notwithstanding, it is a powerful story that, along with many others, feeds the myth of the monstrous mother/man-eating woman. (The opposing awful myth of mothers being The Giving Tree, worst children’s book ever.) So it does its cultural work because no one cares whether the story is scientifically verifiable or not, except scientists, and only some of them.

  32. Roderick T. Long

    There’s an interesting parallel here with research showing that much supposedly natural dominance behaviour among primates occurs far more often in laboratory conditions or scarce-food urban environments than in the wild. (See Anne Fausto-Sterling, Myths of Gender, p. 145.)

  33. Betsy

    I nominate your last paragraph for the Closing Statement of the Month.

    Feminism : Jill Psmith :: Etiquette : Judith Martin

  34. yttik

    Even though the female mantis always eating her sexual partner is more of a legend than a fact, I still can’t seem to find any sexy praying mantis costumes. It appears that women as objects for sexual consumption is very popular, men being consumed for sexual purposes, not so much.

    However, searching about the internet I did find some very cool homemade, non-sexy mantis costumes.

  35. Shinila

    If humans were trying to survive in the wild like the mantid, a patriarchy wouldn’t exist. It’s only with the advent of the comfort of civilisation and boredom patriarchy exists; the fact men like to play a game of one-upmanship on women because there’s nothing else to do. Boredom explains on a psychological level why racism, classism exists within the patriarchy. People creating structures because they have enough food and comfort and want things to do. With sexism, people flatter themselves it’s not boredom, but biological imperative to keep women as lowly womb socks. And so the oppression of women out of boredom is allowed to continue. I think if we had to fight for survival in the wild, no laws, no interference, our own ranks of protection, there wouldn’t be a patriarchy. We have too much time to egotistically compare how the two halves of the human species are different. In the wild this matters so little. A woman told me once she just ‘accepted’ women were inferior – a response – that statement is so unnecessary, and it’s only because of boredom sexes feel they need to.

    As for news of the mantid, I’m disappointed too. It’s good to know the obvious, that females aren’t by nature the runts. We still have the female spider, larger than males and because of her comparative size, able to engulf their partners often by mistake. Scientists like to hide the abundancy of species like this where the female dominates, because an abundancy of species living the other way around does little to uphold the Ps ancient web of lies.

  36. Barbara P

    Terry, when you mentioned “mantid head scarfing”, my first thought was that you were talking about head scarves for mantises. Maybe the picture is the female mantis’ reaction to that idea.

  37. Nepenthe

    It may hearten blamers to know that, while the dudes may oppress in the vertebrate realm, our non-arthropod invertebrate sisters are generally having an excellent time of it. The bdelloid rotifers, for example, have been male free for 100 million years.

  38. speedbudget

    Sadly, patriarchy existed and exists in more traditional societies too, Shinila. Even with women providing 80% of what the family unit needs to survive. It’s not boredom. I wish that were the only reason.

  39. sargassosea

    But it [patriarchal influences], all things considered, does so only in the trivial sense in which it influences any activity whatsoever.

    Trivial? Spoken like a No. 1 Tool.

  40. sargassosea

    And that mantid is just a Cutey McCuterson!

  41. tinfoil hattie

    (The opposing awful myth of mothers being The Giving Tree, worst children’s book ever.)


  42. veganrampage

    “To think this, we needn’t deny that patriarchy influences even mantis research. But it, all things considered, does so only in the trivial sense in which it influences any activity whatsoever. There are plenty of other examples in biology in which the influence of patriarchy is not only non-trivial, but highly pernicious. Which is to say, I fully agree with your wider moral, but you chose a bad example, and did so in a disappointingly sloppy fashion. I know you like science – that’s why I bothered to criticise you when you misused it.”

    Writing is thinking which makes you ten ways fucked to Sunday. Scientist-bah!

  43. Mare_Island

    Saw this, thought of your post. (It’s a praying mantis Halloween costume)

  44. Owly

    wiggles- Of course women are far more visual than men. That’s why it’s recommended for men to wear different sexy lingerie every night! That way, the highly visually oriented women will feel like they’re getting with a different man each time. This eliminates their biological need to mate with as many men as possible. Gotta keep ’em interested or they’ll cheat, but it’s not their fault. It’s what nature programmed them to do.

    It’s science.

  45. yttik

    “There are plenty of other examples in biology in which the influence of patriarchy is not only non-trivial, but highly pernicious…”

    These kind of posts always have that whiff of male entitlement about them. Stench, actually. Whenever I come across the word “trivial” on a feminist blog, I know it’s all going downhill from there. Without fail the post will continue with a lecture about sloppy thinking, inability to understand science, and how you are making a mountain out of a molehill when there are always much more important things you should be doing, like cooking me breakfast.

  46. Hedgepig

    How fascinating that you’re talking about bees. Just three days ago on the first really warm day we’ve had this spring (in southern Tasmania)I was fussing about with the chooks and I looked up and on a branch of a large, mature pittosporum was a humming, vibrating hive of bees with a cloud of them still circling and settling. Amazing, never seen such a thing before.
    The thing is though, it was gone two days later. We felt quite rejected. Did they not like our place after all? Has anyone heard of a swarming event that just didn’t work out and they all moved on again somewhere else? Humph, grass is always greener eh.
    I’d think someone came along and nabbed it, but it was up very high, they would have needed a cherry picker I reckon.

  47. ivyleaves

    How many times JP has made multiple verbose posts about trivial or non-trivial examples of patriarchy on male or male-centered blogs, scientific or otherwise, scolding the authors for not being scientifically accurate in every detail? He must be a busy, busy bee.

  48. wiggles

    @Shinila – There’s also the matter of inheritance of property through familial lineage and the fact that paternity is much harder to determine than maternity. Also, early women probably had groovy stuff that early dudes wanted in on, like communal support and protection.

    Not to derail into the bonobo lifestyle, but I just heard about these studies from a couple years ago about female chimpanzees making and using weapons for hunting and protection. There’s a hypothesis that weaponry is a female invention, which is pretty interesting, considering what a dudely concept weaponry is considered to be.

  49. ew_nc

    Thanks JP, for giving us a lesson in pedantic mansplaining 101. You couldn’t have been more predictable.

  50. vitaminC

    Hi Blamers,

    Here’s some comic reading for y’all on the subject of Internet feminism. Have one of your eunuchs bring you another Savage Death Island Club Med daiquiri and enjoy!


  51. Aileen Wuornos

    Menocide really does seem like an appealing option.

  52. speedbudget

    It’s so sad when the boys get skeert. Big sad fase!

  53. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    A praying mantis greeted me early last Saturday morning while I was changing the screens in my bedroom windows for storm windows (’tis the season). While uncertain of her gender, I have named her Jill.

  54. DaisyDeadhead

    But the “Preying Mantis Women’s Brigade” (headed up in the 70s by Nikki Craft) was such a great name for a feminist group that disrupted beauty pageants (which, as we all know, was some pretty dangerous stuff)… it used to really upset the liberals.

  55. DaisyDeadhead

    PS: Shocked to hear about the bee abortions. I hope my new (female!) uncompromisingly pro-life governor doesn’t hear about this, she will lock up all the bees in little tiny insect-jails.

    Really, she will.

  56. Ciccina

    @ yttik re: “Whenever I come across the word “trivial” on a feminist blog, I know it’s all going downhill from there.” Unless the context is “Trivia,” the feminist literary journal (www dot triviavoices dot net). ;-)

    Also – I love Jill as much as the next blamer – but I think JP made a good point and I don’t see why people are so critical of her. The post gives the impression that the female-mantids-eating-male-mantids thing is a myth propped up by non-evidence. That is not the case. The other parts of the post are great though.

    By the way, female tarantulas kill amorous male tarantulas rather often. Sometimes they do it before (in lieu of) copulation; sometimes during; and sometimes after. Whichever way it goes, the whole business is super gross.

  57. Sarah

    And to think, an entire Buffy episode was built around this Science. Joss must be so pissed.

  58. Alexa

    Ciccina is male. That patronising wink emoticon gave it away after his superior knowledge for me, and how is nature ‘super gross’?

    I also thought Jill made it clear that it wasn’t entirely myth, patronising dudes just gotta pick where they can.

  59. Fede

    sargassosea, yttik, and speedbudget,

    Instead of rolling my oft-rolled eyes at JP’s drivel, I find myself having quite a good laugh at your succinct analyses of said drivel – thank you!

  60. Ames

    I’ve been remiss to not comment on that photo for all the time it’s been up – it is a thing of amazing technical and aesthetic wonderfulness.

  61. Zuzu Petals

    I am sick of the patriarchy. Sick. Sick. Sick.

  62. Eirwyn

    I actually read a book recently that played off this trope, though not directly. It was called The Child Thief. The second protagonist, as a child, stumbles into a witch’s den, and she prepares to eat him. The venom of her bite gives him an erection.

    Fairy tales are full of this demonizing crap. Wicked step mothers, witches, and manipulative whores abound. It’s a funny thing, actually, because the book that actually got me seriously into feminism was something called, “Strong Women, Fearless Sister, and Loving Mothers” or something like that. It enlightened me to the fact that all the fairy tales in collections like the Brothers Grimm’s were cherry picked or altered so that the only women in those stories fit misogynistic tropes.

    Too late, though, since by the time I got to that book my father had already bought me the full collection of Brother’s Grimm fairytales for my birthday. Sigh. Now I’m stuck with a book the size of two bricks strapped together that I am never going to finish.

  63. redpeachmoon

    Jill, are you training us to do without you? Weaning us?
    Please post soon. I miss you lots.

  64. Linda Atkins

    Ciccina, I agree with you; thanks. I was waiting for someone to stick up for JP and am glad you did. (I also am an enormous fan of Jill and her writing.)

  65. CaroJ

    I miss you too, Jill. Lots!!

  66. Lily Underwood

    Hope to read you again soon!

  67. Jill

    Lily Underwood
    November 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Hope to read you again soon!


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