There was a time, months ago, when I babysat my siblings for about a week, while my parents were taking a vacation. I stayed at their house, and hung out with my siblings. Most of them had school, and my brother (who was still living at home at the time) was old enough that my parents probably could have done without my services, except that my youngest brother was too young to be in school, and thus to be watched, so I had to stay at home all day with him.
This is to explain how I came to watch a show on Animal Planet called Animal Planet's The Most Extreme--my little brother loved that show.
The premise of the Most Extreme was that they would pick a theme, like Fighters, or Big Mouths, or something like that, find the ten animals with the biggest mouths, and present them from least to most, with information about the animals, and often related information about humans interspersed throughout the show.
So, the episode I'm thinking of was The Battle of the Sexes. It began with Tasmanian Devils (the females have their own burrows, which the males invade in order to mate with her, and then he guards her burrow ferociously, not allowing another male to enter--or the female to leave) and ended with a species of lizard that is entirely female, and "reproduces" by the females mounting each other to trigger the reproductive hormones, creating clones of the mother.
During the last segment, they discussed the Y chromosome in humans, and the theory that it seems to be shrinking and possibly one day humans will evolve like those lizards and be able to reproduce clones without males.
However, the point. (Yes, the background for my point may be overly-complete, but ... )
Animal Planet uses an obviously computer-generated human form when talking about human bodies during those parts of the show.
What I realized while watching various episodes of The Most Extreme, but especially that one, is that unless they discuss something that specifically relates to human females, the human form is male.
The default human is male.
I also saw a couple commercials for something that I never understood--something about Take me fishing.
Anyway, the commericals featured young children asking their grandpa to take them fishing, because before you know it, I'll be all grown up, and it'll be too late.
Anyway, the boys say things like, "Take me fishing. That way we'll always have something in common." The little girl says, "Take me fishing, because my wedding will come sooner than you think."
And then, on a different note, I want to relate a conversation that occurred in my writing group before I moved.
Two of our members are the most awesome women I have ever known, and were like mentors to me. One of them was writing an awesome fantasy book, that took place in an unspecified past-like setting--with peasants and kings and magic.
She wrote a scene where one of the characters was giving birth, and one of the women told the men, "This is women's work, get out of here."
One of the men in the group objected, on the grounds that it was sexist, and said something like, "I especially can't believe you two would write something so clearly offensive as that."
The thing is, I don't find that offensive (and told him so).
My most firmly held belief is that men and women are or should be equal, but that does not make us the same. I am, of course, not advocating that women should stay in the kitchen, or the bedroom. What I believe in is gender roles that make sense: women give birth. Presumably, this means that women who have given birth before have some kind of expertise, or at least some experiences, that man, no matter how long he studies medicine, will never have. Thus, midwifing is women's work.
Gender roles are a complex subject, but the one that I am most passionate about. I will discuss it further at another time.