What a Young Girl Ought to Know, by Mary Wood-Allen, Part Two


Twilight Talk III. Now the actual meaty part: how PLANTS REPRODUCE. Shock-horror. We shall not talk of plant s-s-sex. There is even a botanical poem in here, with the ending words of “sleepy little seed-children,” which, for some reason unbeknownst to me, is kind of creepy.



Twilight Talk IV. From plants back to God and how he gave man a brain and hands to use as his tools. Then a small digression into a German tradition called a “wonder ball,” wherein gifts were hidden in a ball of yarn, that was then given to a friend; the recipient had to knit something with the yarn, and as the skein unraveled, the gifts within were discovered. That sounds kind of cute, actually, but I’m not quite sure what it has to do with sexual reproduction. [A cursory Google search only gives me the Nestle brand candy of the same name, as well as some sort of laundry aid].



“Nina’s mom” goes on to say that the earth itself is man’s great wonder ball, gifted to him by God, and filled with all manner of things that are useful or can be made useful. “He makes electricity carry him from place to place, run on his errands, cook his food . . .” I think that last has an incorrect pronoun, don’t you? Humph. And now we are moving from this onto animal life, one step up from plant life.



Animals have two types of organs. The first involves those that help them to live, such as hearts and lungs (the brain is not important, apparently), and those that ensure their safety, such as sight and hearing. One could argue that the latter two also help keep an animal alive, but hey, this was written by a woman, and women don’t know science! The second type are the reproductive organs.



Just like plants, animals come in two types, male and female. Ya don’t say! And like plants, animals have ovaries, but animal ovaries have eggs, not seeds. Not that it matters, cause it’s all the same thing. Never mind the fact that you will never see plants in flagrante delicto.


Did you know that serpents and fish have eggs? Aye, they be cold bastards, but they have eggs. Roe are fish eggs, and sometimes we have eaten them for dinner. That doesn’t seem like an appropriate place to mention that; for a turn-of-the-twentieth-century book, that seems rather scandalous! What follows is a summary of fish going upriver to spawn, and how the father fertilizes the eggs with a mysterious liquid that “looks like the white of an egg.” Sperm’s euphemism in this portion is “the principle of life,” which seems to further the Greek idea that men carried the sole component for having a child, while women were merely incubators.



The baby fish never know their fathers and mothers. They never know their children, and the baby fish, right from hatching, live independent lives, much like human mothers and fathers wish their children would do so they can get back to having the house all to themselves. What a tearjerker!



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Filed under sex ed books

One response to “What a Young Girl Ought to Know, by Mary Wood-Allen, Part Two

  1. Pingback: What a Young Boy Ought to Know, by Sylvanus Stall (Part Three) | Riffling Pages

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