For anyone who only sees gender and sex in black and white, here’s proof by the lovely humon that nature is just as fluid with representations of gender and sex as we are.
The photo set includes stylized images of various different species, along with descriptions of their reproductive behaviors. For the most part, I really like them. However, this one about the Spotted Hyena angered me. It reads:
A lot of animals turn our ideas of gender roles upside-down, but the Spotted Hyenas take it to the extreme.
Females are larger and far more aggressive than males, and even the lowest female in the hierarchy is over the highest ranking male. This hierarchy is so strong that adult males are scared of female puppies, and for good reason. Adult daughters show kindness towards their fathers by being less violent to them than to other males.
And it doesn’t stop there. Female hyenas have pseudo-penises that can get erect and are bigger and longer than the males’ penises, and make it very difficult for males to mate with females, and rape impossible. An erect penis is however seen as a sign of weakness, so males will present their erections to females to show submission the same way other animals present their throats.
Did you spot the triggering comment? Check it out, emphasis added:
Female hyenas have pseudo-penises that can get erect and are bigger and longer than the males’ penises, and make it very difficult for males to mate with females, and rape impossible.
While I won’t claim to know very much at all about Spotted Hyena mating behaviors or their culture, this photo set is clearly trying to make a point about human diversity, not hyena culture, so I feel perfectly justified in calling bullshit on this phraseology.