Recently The Queen and I were driving home from work and saw a sign that said something to the effect of "spay or neuter your pets." The Queen commented "you get to choose?" Which led to a discussion on what the difference was and why there were two words (I know, I know the are for the different sexes of animal) when only one really would work, I would think. So, today's What's That Wednesday discusses the differences between the two words and hopefully will provide an understanding of why two are needed when only one, say "de-sexify" or "eunich-ize" would do.....for that matter can there be female eunuchs?
Question 1 - What is spaying? It is an ovario-hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes) of the female animal.
Question 2 - What is neutering? It is an orchectomy or castration) or the surgical removal of the reproductive glands (testes) of the male animal. The outer is left, only the testes are removed.... Interesting how for the female it is the actual organs but with the male only the "glands" are removed.
So, with these two answers and since they refer to the specifics of the male and female animal anatomy, I guess they can't be interchangeable. Of course, that just means that I'm going to push for people to start using "de-sexify" when they talk about taking their pets in to get the "fixed" (because I don't really think removing pieces and parts from a pet should be considered "fixing" them...although I am all for "de-sexifying").
Question 3 - Can a female be a eunuch? Turns out that based on the official Wikipedia definition a eunuch is a castrated man, usually one castrated early enough to have major hormonal consequences. However, in 1970 a book entitled The Female Eunuch was published became a key text of the feminist movement. The book's main thesis is that the "traditional" suburban, consumerist, nuclear family represses women sexually, and that this devitalizes them, rendering them eunuchs.
So there you have it. Spay and neuter are gender specific and females technically cannot be eunuchs..... What do you want to know now?