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Thread: Musings about the Ainur

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Peronally, I find pedantry quite amusing, as Vir knows well. Provided I'm on the right end of it, of course; no glutton for punishment, I. Much of the world exists for no greater purpose than to amuse/annoy pedants.... Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
So did anyone already click the link right there on the right and buy "Arwen's pedant"?
I don't have that link, I have an invitation to visit Turin. Think I'll wait....
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So did anyone already click the link right there on the right and buy "Arwen's pedant"?
Ha Ha Ha Smilie

Human embyoes really are female to begin with, then later the male genes kick in (if they are there) and baby starts to become male instead. I don't remember how long it takes though, but untill then the baby's body is female.

IMHO if Melian put on a male body, she could make a woman pregnant. Though such a thing would be unheard of in Tolkien's days. But she would probably have a good reason for doing so. I think it would have a greater effect on the offspring that the father is a maia, than that the father might be slightly feminine in his (her) ways. All elves likes to sing and dance and hug trees and stuff. I'm not sure anyone would even notice. Wink Smilie
I'll say it again : embryos always have an X gender chromosome to begin with, coming from the mother, but that doesn't make them female, nor male. If they get another X from the father they're female, if they get an Y from the father, they're male - XX vs XY. As far as I know, one lonely X chromosome leads to the syndrome of Turner.

All other stuff is feminist propaganda.

Shapeshifting gods are quite common to me. Zeus changed himself into a bull and into golden rain to seduce damsels, after all, so Melian could go all the way for me.
I am not saying that all embryos are XX or just X, I am saying that embryos are female untill a certain age, then the genes decide if the body should continue to grow into a woman, or if it should change it's course and add some dangly bits instead. It's not feminism, it is science.
If it is really science, could you lead me to an article about it? Or invite some doctor to settle this matter? It is not on-topic, but I'd really like to know.

Coming to think of it, I'll e-mail George Clooney about it. If he doesn't know, no one does.

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I am saying that embryos are female untill a certain age, then the genes decide if the body should continue to grow into a woman, or if it should change it's course and add some dangly bits instead.

I think this is impossible. Gender is already decided when the ovum -after fertilization- starts splitting, as at that moment it has already received half of the DNA of the sperm cell and half of the DNA of the ovum, hence the DNA of the zygote has either XX or XY gender chromosomes.

Female is XX, period. It can't be that the other X chromosome suddenly heads to the hills and gets replaced by an Y which suddenly pops up out of nowhere.

EDIT : I think I now remember how it works! the ovum has always an X gender chromosome, but the sperm cell has either an Y chromosome or X chromosome ==> hence when a 'male' spermcell (one with a Y) hits the ovum first, it's a boy; and if a 'female' spermcell (one with a X) hits the ovum, it's a girl.

At that point, the fertilized ovum (which is either XX or XY) starts splitting and becomes the zygote which becomes the embryo which becomes the foetus. But anyway gender is already decided at the moment the sperm cell hits the ovum, hence an embryo is either male or female.

Now, the fact that the Y chromosome is much smaller and weighs much less than the X chromosome, is the reason why 'male' spermcells travel faster than 'female' spermcells, which is the reason why slightly more boys are born than girls.
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Female is XX, period. It can't be that the other X chromosome suddenly heads to the hills and gets replaced by an Y which suddenly pops up out of nowhere.

I have never said anything about an Y coming out of nowhere and replacing an X. I am saying that XY and XX evolves in the same way at first, then later XY takes a different path than XX would have. Before then, the embryo is technically female. Or something like that.

I can't find the article online, (typical) and it would be in Norwegian anyway. If I ever find the magazine it was in at home, I'll see if I can't find some names to look up. But now I have to go home and let the dog out.
*calls out* Is there a doctor in the audience?
From the sound of things it seems it would be most accurate to say sex is initially indertiminate from the outside; there's no developmental differentiation. However, it seems save to say that a zygote with one (and only one) X and one (and only one) Y chromosome is ALWAYS male, whether it has the parts to match yet or not. I'll leave the status of X chromosomes above two (I wanna say I remember seeing something about zygotes with as many as FOUR X chromosomes) chromosomes to the doctors, as those with only one total. Don't we have better things to argue about at PT? I mean, if it was wotmania! we could debate whether or not Galad (and all Galahad incarnations) is a woman, but as it stands....
Ok, I've joined in quite late I see and I've tried to read every post, but I haven't exactly been thorough. So pardon me if I repeat or miss something that's already been said.

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Everyone knows Water and Air are FEMALE flows, even if some men can be strong with them anyway, and Fire and Earth are male.


Ah. Here's something for you to ponder upon. Water is referred to as 'it' for each of its synonyms in Marathi. Air.. hmm. Air is female and wind is male in Marathi. Fire. Now that's an interesting one. Fire when referred to as "Aag" is female and as "Agni" is male. Not exactly relevant to the discussion, but I thought it was interesting. Many things that are male in English are female in Marathi etc etc... So don't ever dare to think that a certain thing is so and cannot be any other way because that's the way your way of life or language sees it Wink Smilie

Anyway, so back to the thread.

Now the obvious question that comes to my mind is how we classify things to be male or female. As humans, we can naturally distinguish between the males and the females. That's not to do with just the physical attributes. I think it is safe to say that we can attribute certain 'qualities' to males and some to females. What I speak of is the difference in behaviour, nature etc. It is, I think, also safe to say that to some extent, a man would probably react to the same situation differently than a woman would. Of course this is generalisation, so don't take it too literally.

Why would that be? The difference is in the mentality and the emotions I think.

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But how exactly must the gender of a pure spirit (not tied to a body) be defined? It is not so simple. This is what this thread is about.


I think Virumor answered that question himself.

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The difference of temper which distinguished them into male & female Ainur, was given them by Eru for he created them.

They cannot change gender, for it is a property of their spirit, it is a difference in temper. Not physical.


What I think happened in this thread is that people are thinking about the physical attributes rather than mental or emotional.

Think about this. We think of certain things, which are not alive, to be male or female based on their qualities and not their appearance.

Earth is considered female because she breeds and sustains life. Wind is male in Marathi, because it is strong, physically. Compare that to air. It sustains life. It does not have the force to cause the physical damage a strong wind can. Hence it is considered female in Marathi. Fire when called "Aag" is generally not steady and is considered female. "Agni" is stable and steady. It is male.

Again, this is generalisation. But I hope that this helps to explain what I'm trying to say.

If Eru created the Valar with certain characteristics, by default, it is quite possible that their spirits be male or female. Because it defines how they function. What kind of decisions they make, what kind of roles they play. It has nothing to do with their physical appearance.

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Since the Ainur are all offspring of Ilúvatar's mind (who is regarded as male in the Silmarillion) their genders must originate from Ilúvatar too, which made me postulate that Ilúvatar's mind consisted of a male and female part.


Curd is made from milk. This is only possible because milk in itself has the quality of being able to turn into curd. (Plus the bacteria, but we're not talking science, but philosophy. Virumor, that's for you Wink Smilie ).

Hmm. I have something more to add to this, but as of right now, I'm not able to put it into words. So I'll just add it later if I can. In the meanwhile, I hope whatever I just said makes sense.

Damn I miss these discussion threads on PT.
Good musings, Migsy.

It may be a misconception (pardon the pun) to say we all start off as female but it is one of those amusing little misconceptions that has a particle of truth. And it can freak out some men so that's fun. Well, it is as long as you don't drag too much science into the discussion.

Why do men have nipples? Is it because they are female to start with? Or is it because it is simpler to start with a template for both genders and just amend them to suit? So men have nipples because women have nipples and although they are of no use to men it is easier to leave them in, doing nothing, than to evolve them out.

As I understand it the Y chromosome contains little or nothing that determines gender and is only of use when coupled with an X whereas X contains everything needed for life and can be coupled with another X or a Y. If this is correct then it is only when a Y is involved that male gender develops. Therefore X, the 'female', is the originator of life and Y merely alters the template. Female X is in everyone but male Y is only in males. So you can see how easy it is to say that we all start as female. And in a way it is true.

Mother Earth, that most nurturing of all females, is also the most destructive force on the planet. Beware....!



OMG V! ROFL!!! Oh and enough of X and Y please, my head is spinning!

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Mother Earth, that most nurturing of all females, is also the most destructive force on the planet. Beware....!


All mothers are like that..
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Therefore X, the 'female', is the originator of life and Y merely alters the template.

X is nor male nor female. Chromosomes don't have a gender.

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As I understand it the Y chromosome contains little or nothing that determines gender and is only of use when coupled with an X whereas X contains everything needed for life and can be coupled with another X or a Y.

The X chromosome does not contain everything needed for life. It's just a gender chromosome.

The other 44 chromosomes have a say too, you know.

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So you can see how easy it is to say that we all start as female. And in a way it is true.

Didn't the first (or second, to be more exact) female start from a male rib, then?

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I think Virumor answered that question himself.

Yes, but Tolkien did too. He even wrapped up this matter in the Ainulindalë.
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Yes, but Tolkien did too. He even wrapped up this matter in the Ainulindalë.


So what the heck was this thread about? Tongue Smilie
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So what the heck was this thread about?

Oh, somebody was just a bit confuzzled, that's all.

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Chromosomes don't have a gender.


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embryos always have an X gender chromosome to begin with




I don't think chromosomes have a gender either. And besides, technically speaking, an egg does not become the beginning of a life until the sperm penetrates it, so really, you can't say that it "starts out" as a female, because it hasn't even been formed yet. It only "starts" when the sperm has fused with the egg and by then there will already be either an X or a Y in there. So if you're male, you'd start a male, and if you're female, you'd start female, too. No gender changing process in the mother's body occurs.
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