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Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The symbol of the Roman goddess Venus is often used to represent the female sex.

Female (♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova (egg cells).

Contents

Defining characteristics

The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male. A female individual cannot reproduce sexually without access to the gametes of a male (an exception is parthenogenesis). Some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually.

There is no single genetic mechanism behind sex differences in different species and the existence of two sexes seems to have evolved multiple times independently in different evolutionary lineages. The repeated pattern is sexual reproduction in isogamous species with two or more mating types with gametes of identical form and behavior (but different at the molecular level) to anisogamous species with gametes of male and female types to oogamous species in which the female gamete is very much larger than the male and has no ability to move. There is a good argument that this pattern was driven by the physical constraints on the mechanisms by which two gametes get together as required for sexual reproduction.[1]

Other than the defining difference in the type of gamete produced, differences between males and females in one lineage cannot always be predicted by differences in another. The concept is not limited to animals; egg cells are produced by chytrids, diatoms, water moulds and land plants, among others. In land plants, female and male designate not only the egg- and sperm-producing organisms and structures, but also the structures of the sporophytes that give rise to male and female plants.

Etymology and usage

The word female comes from the Latin femella, the diminutive form of femina, meaning "woman," which is not actually related to the word "male." In the late 14th century, the English spelling was altered so that the word paralleled the spelling of "male."

Mammalian female

The distinguishing characteristic of the class Mammalia is the presence of mammary glands. The mammary glands are modified sweat glands that produce milk, which is used to feed the young during the period of time shortly after birth. Only mammals have the capacity to produce milk. The presence of mammary glands is most obvious on humans, due to the tendency of the female human body to store large amounts of fatty tissue near the nipples, resulting in prominent breasts, although today some human females also surgically augment their breast size. However, mammary glands are present in all mammals, although they are vestigial in the male of the species.

The mammalian female is characterized by having two copies of the X chromosome as opposed to the male which carries only one X and one smaller Y chromosome. To compensate for the difference in size, one of the female's X chromosomes is randomly inactivated in each cell. In birds, by contrast, it is the female who is heterozygous and carries a Z and a W chromosome whilst the male carries two Z chromosomes.

Mammalian females are characterized in that they all bear live young (with the rare exception of monotremes, which lay eggs). This is not totally unique, as some animals, such as guppies have analogous reproductive structures. In addition, some other non-mammalian animals, such as sharks, whose eggs hatch inside their bodies also have the appearance of bearing live young.

Symbol

A common symbol used to represent the female sex is ♀ (Unicode: U+2640 Alt codes: Alt+12), a circle with a small cross underneath. According to Schott[2], The most established view is that the male and female symbols "are derived from contractions in Greek script of the Greek names of these planets, namely Thouros (Mars) and Phosphoros (Venus). These derivations have been traced by Renkama[3] who illustrated how Greek letters can be transformed into the graphic male and female symbols still recognised today." Thouros was abbreviated by θρ, and Phosphoros by Φκ, which were contracted into the modern symbols.

Sex determination

The sex of a particular organism may be determined by a number of factors. These may be genetic or environmental, or may naturally change during the course of an organism's life. Although most species with male and female sexes have individuals that are either male or female, hermaphroditic animals have both male and female reproductive organs.

Genetic determination

Most mammals, including humans, are genetically determined as such by the XY sex-determination system where males have an XY (as opposed to XX) sex chromosome. During reproduction, a male can give either an X sperm or a Y sperm, while a female can only give an X egg. A Y sperm and an X egg produce a boy, while an X sperm and an X egg produce a girl. The ZW sex-determination system, where males have a ZZ (as opposed to ZW) sex chromosome may be found in birds and some insects and other organisms. Members of Hymenoptera, such as ants and bees, are determined by haplodiploidy, where most males are haploid and females and some sterile males are diploid.

Environmental determination

Some species develop into one sex or the other depending on local environmental conditions, e.g. many crocodilians' sex is influenced by the temperature of their eggs. Other species (such as the goby) are capable of transforming, as adults, from one sex to the other in response to local reproductive conditions (such as a shortage of males). In humans and most mammals, sex is determined chromosomally—a Y sperm will produce a male offspring and an X sperm a female.

See also

Sources

Ayers, Donald M. English Words from Latin and Greek Elements. Second Edition. 1986. University of Arizona Press. United States.

References

  1. ^ Dusenbery, David B. (2009). Living at Micro Scale, Chapter 20. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. ISBN 978-0-674-03116-6.
  2. ^ Schott GD. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll: Sex symbols ancient and modern: their origins and iconography on the pedigree.BMJ 2005;331:1509-1510 (24 December), doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7531.1509
  3. ^ Renkema HW. Oorspong, beteekenis en toepassing van de in de botanie gebuikelijke teekens ter aanduiding van het geslacht en den levensduur. In: Jeswiet J, ed. Gedendenkboek J Valckenier Suringar. Wageningen: Nederlandsche Dendrologische Vereeniging, 1942: 96-108.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

FEMALE, the correlative of "male," the sex which performs the function of conceiving and bearing as opposed to the begetting of young. The word in Middle English is femelle, adopted from the French from the Lat. femella, which is a diminutive, and in classical Latin used strictly as such, of femina, a woman. The present termination in English is due to a connexion in ideas with "male." In various mechanical devices, where two corresponding parts work within the other, the receiving part is often known as the "female," as for example in the "male" and "female screw." The O. Fr. feme, modern femme, occurs in legal phraseology in feme covert, a married woman, i.e. one protected or covered by a husband, and in feme sole, one not so protected, a widow or spinster (see Women and Husband And Wife) .


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Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Wikia Gaming:Girl article)

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Note! These pages contain material that are meant to be humorous.
They are not intended, nor should they be used, for any research or serious use.

Figure A

A girl (as seen in Figure A) is a human being that was born with a testosterone deficiency. To many gamers, girls are a rare and elusive sight. Most males lust after girls (though some have developed an immunity) and would do anything to have a meaningful relationship with one, or at the very least, get her to post pix.

Girls use their feminine wiles to gain control over men. However, once a girl has control over a man, she'll do nothing but torture him. There is a growing concern that girls may, in fact, be controlled by some sort of cosmic entity with really high HP. It's already been proven that their constant mood swings can only be predicted with the phases of the moon.

Girls often use their healthy tan skin and bleached blonde hair as part of their evil plan to entice men. This evidence supports the theory that they are actually servants of the Wicked Day Star.

Oh, they also have magical powers.

Girl Gamers

A girl (as seen on TV!)

Some testerone deficient humans manage to escape the Wicked Day Star and venture to the safety of the indoors. These girls, safe from the harmful rays, will then discover the true meaning to life. They become gamers.

The elusive Girl Gamer is sought after by many and appreciated by all. While any gamer will tell you that there's no more attractive attribute than gaming, they are appreciated for other reasons as well.

First of all, they add diversity to gaming culture. The community is flooded with pasty geeks to whom "Compassion" is nothing more than the name of a spell in some obscure Japanese RPG they imported.
The girl gamers compensate for their testerone deficiency by creating a ridiculous surplus of estrogen. This chemical causes their brain to function abnormally, and show a sometimes frightening level of "caring" towards other "people."

Secondly, the more girl gamers there are, the more diverse the target audience is. There are far too many boy-appealing games that focus on blood and guts and badassery (see Halo or Tekken) and not enough games that focus on empathy and compassion (see Harvest Moon or Nintendogs.)

The more profitable making games that are not male-centric becomes, the more diverse our gaming selection will become. So to all the girl gamers out there, Encyclopedia Gamia salutes you!

Girls in Games

Girls also play an important role in the storytelling process.

Video games are very much a male-dominated entertainment medium. And due to the interactive nature of that medium, most gamers want their avatar to be representative of themselves. As a result, very few games feature female leads. Though there has a been a recent trend in putting female characters in video games, this trend conveniently coincides with the new graphical advancements that allow for the realistic rendering of jubblies.

Often when girls do make it into games, they are given healing powers, and used as medics. This is typically to represent the mothering nature of women. If there's a female in your party, nine times out of ten she's a healer. Either that, or she carries a big sword, wears a metal thong, and looks like a lesbian.

List of female game characters


This article uses material from the "Wikia Gaming:Girl" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|The symbol biologists use for female organisms]] A Female is an organism that belongs to the sex that produces ova ("egg" cells) for sexual reproduction. Females of some species also bear offspring.

Organisms can either be grouped as male or female. Female humans are called women and their bodies are different from male humans (who are called men). A woman has a vagina between her legs (a male has a penis) which is the main sexual organ. They also have breasts with milk glands, which allow them to nurse (feed) infants. A woman's shoulders are usually not as wide as a man's, but women usually have wider hips than men, because they need wide hips to be able to give birth.

Women who become pregnant are encouraged by the medical community to seek professional care from an obstetrician or a gynecologist in order to prevent complications. Likewise, women should see a gynecologist regularly for routine screening exams for cancer.

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