Envisioning a World Without Men

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photo: Bernard Grant

A couple of years ago, Boulder artist Michelle Ellsworth came across a story in the newspaper that grabbed her attention.

Michelle Ellsworth: It said in short that the Y chromosome was in peril; that it was shedding genes at a rate that was going to ultimately lead to its obsolescence.

The Y chromosome is what makes men, men. The article detailed how, millions of years ago, male and female chromosomes had around 1000 genes each. And while the female chromosome has retained that number, the male one now has fewer than 100. More news stories followed, such as this one, from Nightline.

Nightline: If these English scientists are right, women will be able to create all the sperm they need from stem cells. Men will be obsolete.

Ellsworth, who teaches dance at CU-Boulder, thought all of this science could inspire art. Her new one-woman show is called “Preparation for the Obsolescence of the Y Chromosome.” It’s in Boulder next week. The show explores the question, “what will we miss if men go extinct?” She speaks with Ryan Warner.