What if I told you that it's possible for some female animals to reproduce themselves using a process called parthenogenesis? This crazy-sounding scientific term is a real thing, as Cristen Conger of Stuff Mom Never Told You on YouTube brings us the story of a female yellow water snake from Missouri that had her second virgin birth earlier this week through this process. And the best part? That snake isn't the only feminist icon in the animal world. That's the topic of Conger's latest video, and of course it's worth a look. Did I mention that whole thing where some animals can have babies all by themselves without the need for a male partner? Pretty cool, right?
As Conger puts it, tons of animals in the wild are "challenging the cross-species sexual double standards and traditional gender roles." Trust me — she isn't lying. There's a huge number of animals who reproduce, have sex, and experience gender outside of the parameters that are generally thought of as "traditional." The next time someone tries to justify their misogyny by claiming that female inferiority is just a part of the natural world... show them this video. You'll shut them down faster than they can say, " Darwinian evolutionary biology."
To take a closer look at some of these nine fascinating animals, let's examine five of them in depth below. For the full list, scroll down to watch the complete video.
1. Female Ducks
Ducks have corkscrew-shaped vaginas that come complete with dead ends that lead to nowhere in particular. "What does this have to do with feminism?" you may be asking. "It makes sex difficult, which is what everyone assumes feminism is all about, making sex difficult." Conger says. "Not, you know, super consensual and by virtue of that, even more enjoyable for everyone involved." Mic. Drop.
2. Female Spotted Hyenas
Get ready for it: The female spotted hyena has a pseudo penis. Although it's tempting to refer to this piece of anatomy as "fake junk," that's actually not strictly true; it's technically an elongated clitoris. The best part of this comes when hyenas are mating, since the female must chose to retract her pseudo penis in order to permit the male to penetrate her vagina. In some not-as-fun news, the pseudo penis also functions as a birth canal, despite being so narrow. Ouch.
3. Male Sea Horses
Sexual reproductive roles in seahorses are completely switched from the so-called "norm": The males are the ones to carry the sea horse babies and give birth. "Whether or not male seahorses change diapers remains to be seen," Conger jokes.
4. Flora Komodo Dragon
The Flora Kimono Dragon reproduces via parthenogenesis, meaning that they don't need a partner of each sex in order to carry on the species. "What says feminism more than making a terrifying komodo dragon all by yourself?" I don't think anything does, frankly.
5. Male Red Foxes
The second male species to make it to the list, the male red fox is known for being very attentive to the female red fox after she gives birth. They find and bring food to their partner and newborns, entertain the babies, and take an equal parenting role with their new fox children. Conger thinks that the male red fox serves as a beaming example of parental leave for new dads and I couldn't agree more; men should not only want to, but be able to take an active role in their new children's lives.
To see the other four species to make the list of feminist animal icons, watch the full video below:
Images: Stuff Mom Never Told You/YouTube(5)