josie takes the stand

Herschberger, Ruth

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Essay

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Mar-21-1997


Herschberger pretends to interview Josie, a female chimpanzee tested by Robert M. Yerkes. Yerkes used his observation of Josie's behavior to write his famous paper arguing that males are naturally dominant over females and that females naturally engage in prostitution. In the interview, Josie tells her side of the story, refuting Yerkes conclusions. She points out flaws in the experiment and offers a more woman-centered interpretation of her actions.


This short satirical piece works well to raise issues of sexual bias in even the most "objective" of experiments. It is, moreover, very funny to read. It effectively calls into question assumptions about the natural bases of sexual behavior. It also teaches a lesson about listening to the ideas of a medical/scientific "subject."

Primary Source

Adam's Rib


Pellegrini & Cudahy

Place Published

New York