Submission Date


Document Type




Faculty Mentor

Robert Dawley


Presented during the 19th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2017 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Biological sex is largely accepted at face value, unquestioned by scientists or the public. It is so ingrained into our culture that it has been used to do everything from cornering the children’s toy market to justifying the exclusion of women in STEM fields . After all, who would question what we can clearly see? Boys have penises, testes, seminiferous tubules, testosterone, and rampant body hair while girls have vaginas, clitorises, ovaries, uteruses, estrogen, fallopian tubes, and breasts– plain and simple. But, what about the times when it isn’t plain and simple? What about the times when babies are born with empty scrota, or genitals too little to be a penis but too big to be a clitoris, or when a child grows up with a vagina but discovers upon puberty that they have XY chromosomes, or when a father of four wakes up from surgery to be told that he has a uterus? What becomes of these people under the definition of biological sex? More importantly, what becomes of biological sex when its parameters fail to be as unquestionable as we claim them to be?

Open Access

Available to all.

Included in

Biology Commons