Thursday, February 14, 2008
So I opened up next week's Free Will Astrology column, and Irene Messina--who does the first read of the column--had left a note at the top of a column, noting that she had a question about these two sentences:
The average male owns 15 pairs of underwear, while the typical female has 21. (The other three genders average 25, 31 and 13, respectively.)
I am only, um, familiar with two distinct genders. So, being the crack investigative reporter that I am, I quickly did some elementary math and rushed off to Google, where I Googled the term "five genders."
There were more than 2.3 million results.
Turns out there's a belief in some circles that there are, in fact, five genders.
Here's an excerpt from an article I found on the PBS show Nova's Web site, by Anne Fausto-Sterling:
In 1993 I published a modest proposal suggesting that we replace our two-sex system with a five-sex one. In addition to males and females, I argued, we should also accept the categories herms (named after "true" hermaphrodites), merms (named after male "pseudohermaphrodites"), and ferms (named after female "pseudohermaphrodites").
So, well, there you go. Check out that article to learn more, or just Google "five genders" if ya wanna learn more.