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Postmodern Village
est. 1999
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A Short Inquiry Into Homunculus Theory, its Untimely Overthrow by the "Sperm-Meets-Egg" Story, And its Retro-Deconstruction and the Subsequent Emergence of Honuncula Theory
by Angelina Potowski-Smith-Weaver-Ash

The brutality and ruthless insidiousness of the maledominated scientific regime can be seen in stark silhouette when one comes to understand how even theories constructed for no purpose other than to entrench male privilege and power fall victim to the ram-rod assault of Linear Progress. For example, the belief that the entire human organism in miniature form -- the homunculus -- was contained in the spermatozoa, was predicated on the assumption that the male is normative and active -- ejaculating its will and its likeness out into a passive female world. The female, in this view, served only as a nutritive field -- a convenient cuntainer in which the male-generated miniature man could grow. In some versions of the story, the father's right testicle was thought to produce male offspring, while the left [1] testicle was thought to suffer from insufficient blood flow, resulting in defective spermatozoa, producing a substandard, or female homunculus.

The fact that the scientific perspective [2] has shifted on the subject of human reproduction in no way exonerates science from its male bias. The entire scientific enterprise is at its root an expression of the universal male lust to apprehend and gain control over external reality. The masculine need to project maleness ever further out into the world hints at the motivations behind the overthrow of the homunculus as the active instrument of procreation: plausible deniability. By seeming to involve the woman as an "equal participant" and a contributor of substance to the procreative process, the universal Male Agendum (rape) can be masked behind the veil of necessary female complicity.

By this diabolical shift away from unabashed male aggressiveness, toward the illusion of sexual equality, through the subterfuge of sperm-meets-egg, Western, maledominated Science has simultaneously placated women and given men a license to rape. Given the notion that women are equal participants in the programme of heterosexual intercourse, men are free to absolve themselves of full culpability. Further, by giving women a role in the generative process that is seen (presumably at least by the men who propound the sperm-meets-egg theory) to be more invested than being merely fertile soil for sowing by men, Science has preempted the deconstruction of homunculus theory and the development of feminist and wymynyst counterparts.

penelope ann has suggested the beginnings of just such a theory in chapter 7 of her book Fixing Our Fathers [3]. ann has postulated the honuncula as the mostly-formed, diminutive proto-woman that exists within the so-called ovum. The male sperm cells, in ann's view, serve only to break open the protective shell surrounding the honuncula, causing an inrushing of the surrounding nutritive fluids already present within the woman. These nutritive fluids -- long ignored by Western, maledominated medical science, but verified in several independent studies -- initiate the development of the honuncula into a foetus. Slightly less than half the time, an extra sperm cell will lodge itself in the proto-vaginal opening of the honuncula, violently injecting its payload of testosterone. The sperm cell itself fuses with the unlucky honuncula, developing eventually into the penis. Males are therefore an aberrant mutation of the normative human form -- the female.

penelope ann has provided, tit for tadger, an equal and opposite story of procreation to that of the homunculus [4]. Indeed, it is this vital and powerful retelling that the sperm-meets-egg formulation was crafted to forestall. Some early microscope observers reported "seeing" tiny homuncula in the head of sperm cells. But these "spermists" were soon rebutted by "ovists" who reported "seeing" the proto-humans in female egg cells. But this tiny, helpless honunculitic precursor to full-grown honuncula theory was so feared by the maledominated scientific establishment that it was not permitted to come to fruition. Even the overtly patriarchal homunculus theory was to be exposed to the elements on the mountainside of His-story in order that the placating notion of epigenesis could be instituted. Under the rubrics of "science," "objectivity" and "fact" the patriarchy buried the nascent honuncula theory, seemingly forever. But in the last years of the twentieth century, the circumcision and unmasking of the entire programme of modernity (including without a doubt the scientific paradigm) as irredeemably patriarchal has opened up new womb for the birthing of alternative conceptions of the procreative story.

Since all men are placed in a superior power position to all women under patriarchy, all heterosexual intercourse, as we have now come to understand, is tantamount to rape. Honuncula theory cannot change this irrefutable truth of personal-politics. But it does lay bare the violence inherent in the male psyche and reaffirms wymynhood as necessary and perhaps sufficient for the growth of new life. The contribution of the male is entirely unwitting. Desiring only to penetrate, cleave, and infiltrate, the male clumsily fires his bullet-like sperm into the innocent honuncula. But it is the wysdom of the wymyn that transforms the male's clumsy attempt at violation into the nurturance of new life. As always, the man's brutish urges and occasional misguided attempts to provide something - anything -- of value, are redeemed only by the sacred circle of wymyn's wysdom.

But honuncula theory opens up the intriguing possibility that some way might be found to do away with the need for male violence entirely. If the honuncula could be gently coaxed to come out of its protective ovum into the nutritive environment of the womb on its own, there might be no need any longer for the violent intrusion of penis and sperm, the toxicity of testosterone, or even the male creature himself. According to honuncula theory, all proto-humans are normatively female and only become male on occasion in the presence of male toxics. If male poison could be made unnecessary for the debut of the honuncula, then there would necessarily be no further males produced.

Eve O has written [5] that maleness, as a mutated form of Hufemity, is obsolete. It is not merely patriarchy that is an aberration, but paternity itself. The term "patriarchy," she contends, is redundant, and the term "matriarchy" an oxymoron. The only way to rid the world of patriarchy is for wymyn to refuse to bear sons. At her ranch in Nevada, she holds feminars enclosing around the center of wymyn learning wymyn into "non-invasive pro-generation of persons from the unvictimized ovum." The movement for "birth without violence" was merely the pre-nurtured form of the movement for procreation without violence. The new rallying cry for reproductive freedom is "Reproduction of wymyn by wymyn and for wymyn!"

One thorny question that has plagued radical feminism for decades is nicely explained by honuncula theory. If men truly are not superior to wymyn, and all herstory is a dialectical struggle between all men and all wymyn, then why have men been so completely dominant for so long? If men don't even quite make up half the population, then surely there would have been something more like parity achieved in this struggle. Setting aside for the moment that this is a logical argument and logic is itself a tool of patriarchy, we have to be somewhat compelled by this notion. We seem to come to the conclusion that some wymyn are, in effect, in traitorous collusion with men, at least some of the time.

Ascribing such complicity purely to the socialization of little girls doesn't solve the problem, because under patriarchy children are brought up by their mothers, men being emotionally if not (blessedly) physically absent. So if all wymyn are always in mortal struggle with all men, it would seem likely that wymyn, forced into grudging servitude as baby factories and maids, would teach their children -- both male and female -- the truth about maledomination. Patriarchy would then be overthrown, or at least challenged on equal footing, within a few generations.

But as wymyn's herstory of victimization shows, maledomination is deeply rooted and until recently, seemingly secure. Learned behaviors in and of themselves make an unsatisfying explanation of this sad situation. Honuncula theory provides us with the missing piece of the puzzle -- a piece that the promulgators of the sperm-meets-egg story evidently wanted to obliterate. penelope ann postulates that the presence of the seminal-testosteronal mutagens in the early environment of the developing foetus poisons even female embryos with some degree of latent masculinity [6].

Thus biochemically preindoctrinated, little girls come into the world ready to accept the degrading sex-roles forced on them by maledominated society. All wymyn are therefore not only products of male victimization (rape) of their mothers, but are themselves born victimized by prenatal exposure to caustic and debilitating male hormones. This proto-victimization inherent in all heterosexual intercourse, including that resulting in pregnancy, is the homunculus that, when sown into the fertile field of maledominated socialization, grows into the wretched weed of lifelong female victimization.

Though long delayed by patriarchal "science" the story of the Honuncula has now been born to the world. It's about time.



1. The left testicle was specified because "left" = L. sinister. This equates femaleness with evil and worldliness, as opposed to maleness, which was seen as transcendent or celestial. [continue]

2. The very notion of "perspective" implies male rape of a female world. When we think of perspective in a Cartesian sense, images of a grid, or matrix are called to mind. The matrix (meaning mother) in perspective painting, for example, is laid out at the feet of the viewer (who obviously assumes the upright male position) as if in preparation for an act of copulation. [continue]

3. Fixing Our Fathers: Unliving the Toxic Masculine Myth, penelope ann, New Rage Books, 1991. [continue]

4. Presented in expanded form in: The Honuncula -- Harlot and Virgin in One Being as the Primordial Template for Human Life. penelope ann, New Rage Books, 1997. [continue]

5. The End of the Line: Healing the Male Mutation and the Restoration of the Circular Center. Eve O, East Western Women's Press, 2000. [continue]

6. "The Biochemical Origins of Male Domination" penelope ann, in The Journal of Feminist Knowings, Volume XVI, p. 345. Jane Clairemore, ed. See also, "Profaning the Temple," penelope ann, in In Your Face, June 1998, p. 28. [continue]