A new species of mutant crayfish clones is taking over Europe, but for some reason, no one seems particularly worried about it. In fact, if anything, it’s cause for celebration, not alarm.
Why is the world greeting the news of these creatures’ ascent with open arms? Easy: because they’re female crayfish. Everything else about the species, though, is very distressing: Scientists have finally published the results of their attempt to map the genome of this particular strain, the marbled crayfish, also known as marmorkrebs, and the report shows that the species came into existence a mere 25 years ago and already numbers in the millions. Not only are they “multiplying like Tribbles on the legendary ‘Star Trek’ episode,” as the New York Times reported Monday, they’re doing it without the help of male crayfish. Instead of mating, these crayfish reproduce asexually, by dividing their own eggs, creating a species of nearly genetically identical lady-crayfish who have come to rule the pet stores of Germany and the wilds of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and beyond.
In other words, normal crayfish are just like the rest of the ain’t-shit crustaceans (over)populating this planet with their weak-ass invertebrate game. But an all-female army of crayfish seizing power by cloning themselves, creating the lobster equivalent of Themyscira, the feminist island utopia in Wonder Woman? Yaaas, my arthropod queens!
Ironic misandry is alive and well, and despite Katie Roiphe’s difficulty deciphering it, it has reached a stage where it seems obvious that cheering on a squad of crayfish clones is the normal and correct thing to do. There’s really a lot to admire: self-sufficiency, strength in numbers, claws. Sisters are doing it for themselves! This is feminism in 2018: Our well-qualified female presidential candidate may have lost to a man with no public office experience to speak of, but at least we can root for the eventual takeover of female-dominant mutant crayfish.
Is there danger in anthropomorphizing animals and identifying too strongly with them? Instead of lifting up crayfish as feminist icons, wouldn’t our energy be better spent correcting the sexism that infects our own row of the animal kingdom? Maybe so. But there’s little harm in glorifying these beasts while we can. As the Times notes, in the long term, species that reproduce by simply cloning themselves are ill-equipped to develop the kind of genetic diversity that might protect them from disease and other threats. So let’s hail our mutant clone sisters while we can. Who run the world? Girl crayfish. The future is female crayfish. Crayfish hold up half the sky. Crayfish rights are human rights. Wait, what? My pincer bites back.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus