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Kategorie: Männer

Male-Gender discrimination in the natural sciences – unacceptable?

When I was a little child, we used to play all kinds of common child’s plays, such as touch and go or even football, under the motto: boys against girls. But only a few years later in the primary school, such a motto did not exist any more at all. Our teachers wore weird beards, flared trousers or turtleneck pullovers, knitted by themselves, and were pipe smokers, women almost looked the same. They were children of the 1968s, a kind of late hippies in a catholic primary school. Regarding discipline, they were not too tolerant, but there was no separation between genders. We learned that in friendships, the personality of somebody counts, not the gender. I did not differ between male or female school friends. As a young child, you expect this modern and tolerant spirit even growing with the time, but it did seemingly not, times today instead sometimes show a harsh backwards orientation unfortunately.



wächter fertig

„The sad one“, ink on paper, Berlin 2016, copyrights Stefan F. Wirth



Everybody talks about gender. They say the female gender is on purpose suppressed by power-hungry men. When I search in social networks for tags, such as #Berlin, #forest, #city or #flowers, I see mostly half naked women, promoting themselves in a tight bikini or by literally simply presenting their breasts. Simple minded neutral observers, may be aliens, would think: ah, interesting, different strategies! While men fight with diligence for their succeeding in life, females choose the more simple way by just showing off.

But I am not simple minded, and I do not know any simple minded people, that’s why I of course analyze such observations and conclude: no, no, no, these are all misconceptions, when it seems that women might use their sexual attraction on men, when they need attention or want to continue their career, then the reality is that they just prove self-determination and independence. When we read in the news that again an almost forgotten Hollywood-star showed off for the Playboy, then we exactly know that she wants to emphasize her feminist ethos by presenting herself like that for the male readers of the journal, simply to set a signal against sexual subjugation to men. Easy to understand! And when unsuccessful actresses accuse famous film directors of sexual harassment from 40 years ago, then this does not indicate a cheap effort to catch public attention at the expense of somebody else. No, no, no, they were just cruelly intimidated in these times decades ago, felt menaced and helpless in a world dominated by powerful and unscrupulous dominant males. It needed so much time to come out in public about what happened, as the today spirit of time finally allows public condemnation without any official trial. So, we learn that feminism did not reach its final peak in the 1970s and 80s, no its going on, and needs to go on and even must be more powerful than ever before, as males still instinctively feel a pressure to suppress women. I support and accept this fight for equality of genders. Viva ultra feminism!

BUT: I would like to draw a line, which should not be crossed. The world of sciences, especially natural sciences, needs to be rid of all kinds of absurd gender discrimination in both directions. My generation of males was obliged to complete either a military service or a civil service. My civil service took me 15 months of my life time. All in all, I lost two years until I could begin studying at a university. Females of my generation finished their studies about two years earlier, which offered them already enough advantage in proceeding with their academic careers and in finding positions. While males in the natural sciences need to prove their work-power permanently by publishing one paper after another, even when unemployed, females go in maternal leave, after they gave birth to their children, and years later of course get in the easiest way a position, without having learned to publish and perform research even without any salaries at all. This goes on costs of the quality of science itself, it thus is fully unacceptable.

But let’s continue: A male with thirty peer-review publications and a woman without any peer-review publications at all apply for the same scientific position. What happens today is in such a situation that based on the so called gender-equality rules, based on woman’s officers and women’s quota, the female applicant needs to be preferred regardless of her qualification and diligence. I had rejected applications, where they officially argued with a necessary preference for a female candidate, based on gender-equality rules. In other cases, they argued to have already decided for another candidate, which was in such cases always a woman. I know a former colleague, who I visited for a short research stay and who had introduced me to his girl friend, who was the same time his official diploma student. A desaster! I heard about a male biologist, who officially criticized the male-gender discrimination in the scientific world in Germany. He was bullied throughout Germany and even Europe so much that he needed to leave the continent, performing now his research in Mexico or Australia, I do not remember. A scandal!

Male gender discrimination in the word of sciences harms the future of science at all!


Berlin, 10 June 2020, copyrights Stefan F. Wirth

Male and female of Histiostoma sachsi and unsuccessful mating with a „stranger“

Mites of the Acariformes vary in very different forms and life-strategies. One taxon of very tiny and soft-skinned mites is named Astigmata. Within them the familiy Histiostomatidae is especially rich of species, most of them surely not yet described or discovered.


Modyfied mouthparts and a specific mode of dispersal


These mites feed on microorganisms using a complex mouthpart-apparatus with multifunctional abilities. They can be found in habitats, which dry out quickly. When it’s getting too dry, a specific instar of the mites takes a ride on insects or other bigger arthropods for dispersal to a new and fresh habitat ( strategy called Phoresy).

Histiostoma sachsi is one of numerous (often closely related) long haired (in females) species. It was originally in 1957 described from cattle-dung. I found it in compost.


Long upper-setation in females and tactile camouflage (mimesis)


Adult females are characterized by a long setation on their uppersides. They use them to hold parts of the old nymphal cuticle and soil particles on their backs. This seems to be due to a strategy named mimesis or camouflage. It’s a tactile camouflage as an optical sense in this kind of microhabitats plays almost no role.


Normal and unusual copulation position, trial of an interspecific copulation


Males mate their females via a dorsal copulation opening and thus need to ride on them. In H. sachsi, that copulation opening is located very close to the hind-edge of the body. That way it is even despite of the camouflage cover accessible. It seems even slightly being elevated out of the body surface in order to surmount adjacent soil particles. This is an adaptation of this particular species. It might share such morphological characters only with very closely related (not yet described) species In other members of genus Histiostoma, the copulation opening is usually more centered related to the hind body.

The copulation position requires that males insert their aedeagus („penis“) into the copulation opening. They additionally use their legs to grasp into the females body. That kind of leg arrangement and thus the whole copulation position can differ from species to species.

This is why copulations between members of different species already fail, because the right copulation setting does not fit, nor does the shape of the aedeagous. Nevertheless the phenomenon of unsuccessful trials for interspecific copulations can sometimes be observed in laboratory cultures. Such a trial is also visible in this video, where a male of Histiostoma feroniarum (also appears in my compost samples regularly) tries to mate a female of H. sachsi. It cannot even almost get in a proper copulation position and seems to hold on to the dorsal camouflage cover of the female. it could only remain in a transverse position related to the female body and thus not get access to the copulation opening, normal would be a longitudinal position with the sameame orientation of female and male.

Adult mites of the family Histiostomatidae (Astigmata) and a „false“ copulation. Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin December 2018. Please like my video also at Youtube, in case you like it.


Chemical communication and chemo-sensitive leg setation


Mites of the Astigmata communicate and find their general orientation due to chemo-sensitive setae, mostly on legs I and II, which are named solenidia. They are even on the magnification level of my footage well visible on the male’s legs. Although a direct body contact is not necessary for a innerspecific communication by chemically interpreting scents produced from mite glands, the observed male in my video repeatedly was seeking for intense body-contacts and obviously „observed“ his conspecific while doing so with its first two legs. This might have intensified the perception of pheromones.

It showed this behavior also, when passing by the „false copulation-pair“ described above. It additionally seemed to invest power in its leg movements as if it would try to remove the „competitor“ on the female, in this case even belonging to another species.


Competitive fights between males


That mites of the Histiostomatidae can use their strongly sclerotized first legs to fight under each other for an access to a female is known to me from my older observations about the species Histiostoma palustre and Histiostoma feroniarum.


Origin of the compost samples


The compost samples were collected in SW-Germany (Saarland in October 2018). The footage was recorded in December 2018 in Berlin.


Berlin December 2018, copyrights Stefan F. Wirth

Unwort „Frauenquote“, stattdessen ist eine vollständige Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter im Alltags- und Berufsleben angebracht

Als brennender Feminist – schon als Kind habe ich durch ein modernes Umfeld gelernt, dass Geschlechterdiskriminierung eine Angelegenheit unserer Großeltern war – verurteile ich die „Frauenquote“. Ich schlage den Terminus sogar als Unwort des Jahres 2014 vor.

Wahre Emanzipation kann man nicht schlimmer attackieren als mit einer Frauenquote. Beinhaltet doch bereits der Begriff, dass ein bestimmtes Geschlechterverhältnis in irgendwelchen Berufszweigen oder Führungspositionen erzwungen werden soll. Wirklich strebsame Frauen jedoch verdienen Anerkennung für ihre Leistungen und Qualifikationen. Es wäre daher unangemessen und demütigend für sie, eine lukrative Position vorwiegend aus Gründen des Aufbaus einer vorgeschriebenen Geschlechterquote zu ergattern.

Ausdrücklich spreche ich mich hiermit für eine vollkommene Gleichbehandlung von Frau und Mann auf allen denkbaren Ebenen aus. Allerdings fordere ich konsequenterweise, dass Frauen selbstverständlich dieselbe Kompetenz, dieselbe Leidensbereitschaft und dieselbe Ausdauer wie ihre männlichen Kollegen aufbringen, wenn sie im Berufsleben gleiche Erfolgschancen wünschen.

Denn das scheinbare Problem, dass in manchen Berufsfeldern das Geschlechterverhältnis zu Ungunsten der Frauen nicht ausgewogen erscheint, wird aus meiner Sicht häufig fehlinterpretiert. „Mann lässt sie einfach nicht“, heißt es dann sehr schnell. In Wirklichkeit jedoch können viele Frauen die oben genannten Eigenschaften, die für einen seriösen Karriereweg nun einmal notwendig sind, schlichtweg nicht vorweisen, in manchen Fällen womöglich sogar aufgrund einer vorsätzlichen Bequemlichkeit.

Immer wieder wird zum Beispiel in den Naturwissenschaften über Fälle diskutiert, in denen weibliche Bewerber offenbar allein aufgrund ihres Geschlechts für eine Stelle ausgewählt wurden, ohne eine mit den männlichen Kollegen vollwertig vergleichbare Qualifikation zu besitzen. Für jeden fleißigen und engagierten Bewerber männlichen Geschlechts ist es daher ein Schlag ins Gesicht, als Begründung für seine Absage erfahren zu müssen, man habe aus „Gleichstellungsgründen“ eine Frau bevorzugt. Er kann dann nicht anders, als sich ungerecht behandelt, ja diskriminiert zu fühlen.

Die Bevorzugung des einen Geschlechts, aus welchen Gründen auch immer, bedeutet gleichzeitig stets eine Benachteiligung des anderen. Das Vorhandensein biologischer Geschlechtsmerkmale darf daher niemals über Karrieremöglichkeiten entscheiden.

Denn das widerspricht aus meiner Sicht jeder ernst gemeinten Emanzipationsbewegung, die auf echte Gleichberechtigung abzielt. Es ist doch längst nicht mehr zeitgemäß, eine Frauenquote bei der Vergabe von Stellen zu berücksichtigen; ein wirklich moderner Ansatz muss stattdessen dazu führen, alle Bewerber, egal ob homo- oder heterosexuell, transsexuell oder transgender, Jude, Christ oder Atheist, Mann oder Frau, ganz allein aufgrund ihrer inhaltlichen Eignung zu beurteilen. Die Behauptung seitens  eher dubioser Emanzipationskämpferinnen, Frauen seien per se im allgemeinen Berufsleben, jedoch insbesondere auch in höheren Positionen, durch patriarchalische Bestrebungen männlicher Kollegen benachteiligt, wage ich aufgrund meiner bisherigen Lebenserfahrung zu bezweifeln, sogar zu bestreiten.

In Zeiten, in denen eine Frau Bundeskanzler sein kann, stehen der Frauenwelt längst alle Chancen offen. Mehr als das ist aus meiner Sicht nicht produktiv, denn sonst fragt man sich irgendwann zurecht: Wenn durch eine Frauenquote der vorsätzlichen Benachteiligung weiblicher Bewerber vorgebeugt werden soll, welche Quote schützt dann die Vielfalt männlicher Randgruppen, die aufgrund ihrer ethnischen Herkunft oder sexuellen Orientierung häufig wesentlich stärker von Diskriminierung bedroht sind als jede Frau, die keiner speziellen Minderheit angehört?