Trevor Corson's (old) Lobster Blog

This is the old Lobster Blog of Trevor Corson, author of the worldwide pop-science bestseller The Secret Life of Lobsters. This blog is no longer active; it serves as an archive of Trevor's posts on lobsters from 2004-2006. Visit Trevor at his new website,

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Name: Trevor Corson
Location: New York, NY, United States

Monday, April 18, 2005

Lobster Phallocentrism

I have smart friends, which enriches my life enormously. For example, the other day a smart friend of mine -- a brilliant professor, actually, with a scholarly bent toward all manner of subjects, including gender studies -- happened across my recent blog entry on "lobster feminism." After reading my quote from the Boston Globe Magazine, in which I claimed to be a lobster feminist (see Lobster Feminism, below), he dashed off this quick e-mail:

"Lobster feminism? Among homo sapiens it would be called, er, phallocentrism."

I was pretty sure I knew what he meant, but I had to check the dictionary just to be sure. I was disappointed; the definition was less graphic than I'd guessed. "Phallocentric" means, simply, "centered on or emphasizing the masculine point of view."

Hoping to up the ante, I fired off a response:

"Actually, it would be double phallocentrism, since lobsters have two penises."

The male lobster's
anatomy, including its
dual genitalia. This
drawing is included,
along with several
others, in the paperback
edition of THE SECRET
(drawings by Jim Sollers)
Then I decided I ought to explain why I still thought I could be considered a lobster feminist. I continued:

"The key here is to recognize, as explained in such wonderful detail in my book, that females control the power in the mating relationship -- they choose their males, which have no say in whether or not they receive courtship overtures. I just want female lobsters to have the best phalluses available for the purposes of actualizing their power."

A few minutes later came the good professor's reply:

"I understand."

Later he admitted that "I understand" was a phrase he never seemed to be able to use without irony.

Isn't that how it always is with academics -- irony, irony, irony? They can never take anything at face value.

Okay, fine, so maybe I am a closet lobster phallocentrist. I miss Bubba.


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