“The female is somewhat duller”: The construction of the sexes in ornithological literature

Environmental Ethics 20 (1):23-39 (1998)
Abstract
I review ornithological literature in order to demonstrate that conventions of description and illustration, as well as some aspects of biological theory relating to birds, put a strong focus on male birds. I criticize the sexist aspects of ornithology from the standpoint of recent feminist philosophy of science, establishing connections between the ways in which we view animals and the ways in which we viewourselves and arguing that it is costly to humans, specifically women, to suggest that females of the nonhuman species are biologically inadequate in relation to their male counterparts. Finally, I note that failure to notice and excise residual sexism in animal science also encourages people to be inattentive to and less considerate of a large and significant part of nature. I conclude with some suggestionsfor reform
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