History Main / InsectGenderBender

16th Jan '17 3:45:40 PM DaibhidC
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* Averted in ''The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast'', which accurately portrays Lizzie Bee as a female worker (although it maintains human gender stereotypes by dressing her as a milkmaid, complete with panniers, presumably of nectar).
* Averted in ''Literature/TheBees'' by Laline Paul; the main character is a female worker bee called Flora 717, and bee gender roles are accurately portrayed with her hivemates.
3rd Jan '17 10:41:16 PM NumberFortyFour
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* Literature/TheFirstMenInTheMoon: Despite being described as similar to ants, the leader of the moonpeople is referred to as a "king."

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* Literature/TheFirstMenInTheMoon: Despite being described as similar to ants, the leader of the moonpeople Grand Lunar is referred to as a "king."male by the narrator.
3rd Jan '17 10:40:00 PM NumberFortyFour
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* Literature/TheFirstMenInTheMoon: Despite being described as similar to ants, the leader of the moonpeople is referred to as a "king."
10th Dec '16 4:39:39 AM eroock
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[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[https://www.combatbugs.com/bug-files/why-are-there-no-%E2%80%9Cking%E2%80%9D-ants And we thought ants live in a matriarchal society...]]]]-]
23rd Nov '16 3:52:31 PM EdnaWalker
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A subtrope of ArtisticLicenseBiology. Can be combination of SomewhereAnEntomologistIsCrying and MostWritersAreHuman. Can be an example of the TheSmurfettePrinciple.

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A subtrope of ArtisticLicenseBiology. Can be combination of SomewhereAnEntomologistIsCrying and MostWritersAreHuman. Subtrope of AnimalGenderBender. Can be an example of the TheSmurfettePrinciple.
22nd Nov '16 8:07:07 AM Aquillion
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Another reason for this trope is that all insect movies necessarily anthropomorphise their subjects, including by imposing human gender roles on them; often this extends to related tropes like NonMammalMammaries. Any accurately depiction of a society of sentient insects would be extremely creepy, with none of the characters being remotely sympathetic. More realistic portrayals of insect societies, on the other hand, sometimes appear in works mining it for social or political commentary.

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Another reason for this trope is that all insect movies necessarily anthropomorphise their subjects, including by imposing human gender roles on them; often this extends to related tropes like NonMammalMammaries. Any accurately depiction of a society of sentient insects would be extremely creepy, with none of the characters being remotely sympathetic. More realistic portrayals of insect societies, on the other hand, sometimes appear in works mining it for social or political commentary.
commentary, or in science fiction intentionally using its unfamiliar nature to make a insectoid aliens feel more strange.
22nd Nov '16 8:01:27 AM Aquillion
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It's a fact that throughout history, mammals including humans have dwelled in mostly patriarchal societies where the males are dominant and females are primarily childrearers. But Earth is a diverse place, and with such diversity, even matriarchy has a chance to manifest as an actual process of biological life. In the parts of the insect world that are organized, [[LadyLand the females rule]] (the others are loners). In colonies, females -- or sometimes the genderless -- are the only ones who have any semblance of a life with a job and purpose and are responsible for all the work involved in running things, such as building, foraging, defending from outsiders, and most especially creating eggs for the continuation of the Swarm. The males? They are mindless drones who are programmed to only have sex and then die - or are eaten (or sometimes both). But that's not how it is in the human world... [[MenAreTheExpendableGender most of]] [[TheUnfairSex the time]], [[AllMenArePerverts anyway]].

However, when an insect society [[BeePeople like that of ants or bees]] is depicted in fantasy media, the hero of the story will usually be... a male worker? The fact that the workers in Hymenopteran social insect colonies (ants, bees, wasps, etc.) are all females (albeit sterile), and the only males exist to fertilize the queen and [[OutWithABang quickly die after this mission is complete]], sometimes by [[GroinAttack the queen ripping the male's genitalia out of his body]], seems to have no bearing on the need for making the hero a male. After all, you NEED a "Male Lead" who can go out on adventures and save princesses. And as the only actual males in an anthill spend their entire lives doing nothing but providing the queen with a constant supply of genetic material... makes it hard to set up any kind of adventure-hooks.

Furthermore, it would seem like there's an even split between males to females, when usually there are barely a few hundred males for thousands of females in most insect societies due to the nature of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplodiploid_sex-determination_system how sexes are decided]]. And don't expect the "exist solely to have sex and die" thing to get anything more than a passing DoubleEntendre. It probably doesn't help that, in common slang, a "drone" is someone or something who works mindlessly, so a lot of people think that "worker bees" (the sterile females who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin work]]) and "drones" (the males who do a different kind of work) are just different names for the same thing.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as all that. Termites have male workers and even a King alongside the Queen, but ''Termite Movie'' probably isn't going to sell well. There are also bees, such as the Alfalfa Leafcutter, which have a one-to-one sex ratio, but they don't make honey or build hives. They're the [[LonersAreFreaks freaky loners]] of the bee world. Even among ants there are a few species in which the males are fairly long lived and assist in work within the colony, but they are definitely the exceptions that prove the rule.

Of course insects don't have human language, human facial expressions, human social dynamics etc. either. All those aspects are anthropomorphised, so why not impose human gender politics on BeePeople as well? This particular departure from reality makes a degree of sense, but excluding female workers/soldiers is not necessary at all to telling the story - they could easily have an ActionGirl heroine. Most likely it's related to other [[BeePeople hive-worshiping]] issues, like portraying a hive as an absolute monarchy (where the "queen" is of course the ruler - as opposed to simply a creature specialized as a reproductive and secretory organ of the collective-organism) or as a sort of republic, [[AuthorTract depending on the author's preference]]. Social/political interpretations (and their flexibility) apply to drones as well - the writers may simply have baulked at the idea of portraying males more realistically as [[DisposableSexWorker disposable mating machines]], especially in a family film, let alone when they are sapient, anthropomorphic beings.

And in fairness, of course, it's not like playing this trope ''perfectly'' straight with sentients would be at all feasible, as accurately depicting insect society and values would be, put bluntly, ''obscenely creepy'', none of the characters would be remotely sympathetic, and it would probably come across to the uninformed viewer as a [[StrawFeminist nightmarishly overblown paranoid misogynistic conspiracy theory]], and even if the whole "living only for breeding and dying" business were ignored, an entire society overtly built around strict gender roles would be hard to sell in modern times regardless of what gender is doing what. Some works get around this by portraying [[GenderIsNoObject both male and female]] workers, and soldiers in colonies.

On the flipside, since nearly all the members of these species (aside from queens, future queens, and drones) are sterile, the gender by which they are depicted when anthropomorphised is somewhat ambiguous to begin with (they are only considered biologically 'female' as a result of their technical genetic structure and vestigial, or modified beyond all recognition, physiological characteristics). But that justification just brings up the matter of why your sterile, androgynous characters are all of a sudden striking up romantic relationships with each other (and wait... [[IncestIsRelative aren't they all sisters?]])

to:

It's a fact that throughout history, mammals including humans have dwelled in mostly patriarchal societies where the males are dominant and females are primarily childrearers. But Earth is a diverse place, and with such diversity, even matriarchy has a chance to manifest as an actual process of biological life. In the most organized parts of the insect world that are organized, world, on the other hand, [[LadyLand the females rule]] (the others are loners). rule]]. In those colonies, females -- or sometimes the genderless -- are the only ones who have any semblance of a life with a job and purpose purpose, and are responsible for all the work involved in running things, such as building, foraging, defending from outsiders, and most especially creating eggs for the continuation of the Swarm. The males? They are mindless drones who are programmed to only have sex and then die - or are eaten (or sometimes both). But that's not how it is in the human world... [[MenAreTheExpendableGender most of]] [[TheUnfairSex the time]], [[AllMenArePerverts anyway]].

However, when
both).

When
an insect society [[BeePeople like that of ants or bees]] is depicted in fantasy media, the hero of the story will usually be... a male worker? The fact that the workers in Hymenopteran social insect colonies (ants, bees, wasps, etc.) are all females (albeit sterile), and the only males exist to fertilize the queen and [[OutWithABang quickly die after this mission is complete]], sometimes by [[GroinAttack the queen ripping the male's genitalia out of his body]], seems to have no bearing on the need for making the hero a male. After all, you NEED a "Male Lead" who can go out on adventures and save princesses. And as the only actual males in an anthill spend their entire lives doing nothing but providing the queen with a constant supply of genetic material... makes it hard to set up any kind of adventure-hooks.

Furthermore, it would seem like there's Fiction also tends to show an even split between males to females, when usually there are barely a few hundred males for thousands of females in most insect societies due to the nature of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplodiploid_sex-determination_system how sexes are decided]]. And don't expect the "exist solely to have sex and die" thing to get anything more than a passing DoubleEntendre. It probably doesn't help that, in common slang, a "drone" is someone or something who works mindlessly, so a lot of people think that "worker bees" (the sterile females who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin work]]) and "drones" (the males who do a different kind of work) are just different names for the same thing.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as all that. Termites have male workers and even a King alongside the Queen, but ''Termite Movie'' probably isn't going to sell well. There are also bees, such as the Alfalfa Leafcutter, which have a one-to-one sex ratio, but they don't make honey or build hives. They're the [[LonersAreFreaks freaky loners]] of the bee world. Even among ants there are a few species in which the males are fairly long lived and assist in work within the colony, but they are definitely the exceptions Another reason for this trope is that prove the rule.

Of course insects don't have human language, human facial expressions, human social dynamics etc. either. All those aspects are anthropomorphised, so why not impose
all insect movies necessarily anthropomorphise their subjects, including by imposing human gender politics roles on BeePeople as well? This particular departure from reality makes a degree of sense, but excluding female workers/soldiers is not necessary at all them; often this extends to telling the story - they could easily have an ActionGirl heroine. Most likely it's related to other [[BeePeople hive-worshiping]] issues, tropes like portraying a hive as an absolute monarchy (where the "queen" is of course the ruler - as opposed to simply a creature specialized as a reproductive and secretory organ of the collective-organism) or as a sort of republic, [[AuthorTract depending on the author's preference]]. Social/political interpretations (and their flexibility) apply to drones as well - the writers may simply have baulked at the idea of portraying males more realistically as [[DisposableSexWorker disposable mating machines]], especially in a family film, let alone when they are sapient, anthropomorphic beings.

And in fairness, of course, it's not like playing this trope ''perfectly'' straight with sentients would be at all feasible, as
NonMammalMammaries. Any accurately depicting insect depiction of a society and values of sentient insects would be, put bluntly, ''obscenely creepy'', be extremely creepy, with none of the characters would be being remotely sympathetic, and it would probably come across to sympathetic. More realistic portrayals of insect societies, on the uninformed viewer as a [[StrawFeminist nightmarishly overblown paranoid misogynistic conspiracy theory]], and even if the whole "living only for breeding and dying" business were ignored, an entire society overtly built around strict gender roles would be hard to sell other hand, sometimes appear in modern times regardless of what gender is doing what. Some works get around this by portraying [[GenderIsNoObject both male and female]] workers, and soldiers in colonies.

On the flipside, since nearly all the members of these species (aside from queens, future queens, and drones) are sterile, the gender by which they are depicted when anthropomorphised is somewhat ambiguous to begin with (they are only considered biologically 'female' as a result of their technical genetic structure and vestigial,
mining it for social or modified beyond all recognition, physiological characteristics). But that justification just brings up the matter of why your sterile, androgynous characters are all of a sudden striking up romantic relationships with each other (and wait... [[IncestIsRelative aren't they all sisters?]])
political commentary.
20th Nov '16 8:41:18 AM Morgenthaler
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* Looks to be averted at first in ''StarFleetBattles'' with the insectoid Seltorians, in that the ships are crewed by female workers, but then has them led by 'Sages' who were male 'Rams' that the Queen never got around to mating with, and suddenly survived, became long lived, and much smarter than all the females (Then again, these ''are'' aliens).

to:

* Looks to be averted at first in ''StarFleetBattles'' ''TabletopGame/StarFleetBattles'' with the insectoid Seltorians, in that the ships are crewed by female workers, but then has them led by 'Sages' who were male 'Rams' that the Queen never got around to mating with, and suddenly survived, became long lived, and much smarter than all the females (Then again, these ''are'' aliens).
2nd Nov '16 12:00:52 PM skadooshbag
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* Looks to be averted at first in ''StarFleetBattles'' with the insectoid Seltorians, in that the ships are crewed by female workers, but then has them led by 'Sages' who were male 'Rams' that the Queen never got around to mating with, and suddenly survived, became long lived, and much smarter than all the females.

to:

* Looks to be averted at first in ''StarFleetBattles'' with the insectoid Seltorians, in that the ships are crewed by female workers, but then has them led by 'Sages' who were male 'Rams' that the Queen never got around to mating with, and suddenly survived, became long lived, and much smarter than all the females.females (Then again, these ''are'' aliens).
20th Oct '16 5:36:49 AM PrussianInk
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It's a fact that throughout history, mammals including humans have dwelled in mostly patriarchal societies where the males are dominant and females are primarily childrearers. But Earth is a diverse place, and with such diversity, even Feminism has a chance to manifest as an actual process of biological life. In the parts of the insect world that are organized, [[LadyLand the females rule]] (the others are loners). In colonies, females -- or sometimes the genderless -- are the only ones who have any semblance of a life with a job and purpose and are responsible for all the work involved in running things, such as building, foraging, defending from outsiders, and most especially creating eggs for the continuation of the Swarm. The males? They are mindless drones who are programmed to only have sex and then die - or are eaten (or sometimes both). But that's not how it is in the human world... [[MenAreTheExpendableGender most of]] [[TheUnfairSex the time]], [[AllMenArePerverts anyway]].

to:

It's a fact that throughout history, mammals including humans have dwelled in mostly patriarchal societies where the males are dominant and females are primarily childrearers. But Earth is a diverse place, and with such diversity, even Feminism matriarchy has a chance to manifest as an actual process of biological life. In the parts of the insect world that are organized, [[LadyLand the females rule]] (the others are loners). In colonies, females -- or sometimes the genderless -- are the only ones who have any semblance of a life with a job and purpose and are responsible for all the work involved in running things, such as building, foraging, defending from outsiders, and most especially creating eggs for the continuation of the Swarm. The males? They are mindless drones who are programmed to only have sex and then die - or are eaten (or sometimes both). But that's not how it is in the human world... [[MenAreTheExpendableGender most of]] [[TheUnfairSex the time]], [[AllMenArePerverts anyway]].
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