Women’s Gym in Afghanistan

The first ever women’s fitness club open in Kabul. Fitness culture has been growing around the world and it is no longer exclusive to men. This fitness club in Afghanistan shows that women are doing something to reassert the rights they lost under years of war and neocolonial conquest. The gym is owned by Tahmina Madidnuristani and she states that it was her lifelong ambition to run a business. Violence from the Taliban, Haqqani network, and multiple terrorist organizations make leisure activity difficult in Afghanistan. Sports facilities are limited and few women have access to them. This however is changing. Women’s lives are so restricted in remote areas they are forbidden to go to school or gain employment. The opening of a fitness club is a major women’s rights statement. The new fitness clubs that are emerging have grown in popularity and male disapproval has not stopped women from joining. For once, Afghanistan has at least some positive news.

Women’s Gym in Afghanistan

The University of Washington Women’s Sports Medicine- Running on The Moon (2013)

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Running on The Moon

It was in 1969 that humankind reached the moon. The Apollo 11 spacecraft carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Micheal Collins,  and Buzz Aldrin. The Apollo program was discontinued in 1972, with unmanned  probes doing exploring.  The space race between the Soviet Union and the United States had ended, but this did not mean more space exploration stopped. There has been discussion of a possible return to the moon in 2024.  As the 20th century drew to a close many discoveries were making humanity change the way it thought about the universe. Kepler has stumbled upon planets out the Solar System that could be Earth like. If so, then it means that they are ripe for human colonization. What must be done first is to understand the long term effects of space on the human body and experiment with making a quality base. The only solution would be to return to the Moon. The University of Washington’s Women’s Sports Medicine blog wrote in 2013 about a  major concern facing astronauts on the International Space Station. Living in microgravity environments can negatively impact musculoskeletal health. Looking for a solution  the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine   collaborated with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute along the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. An experiment was conducted with parabolic flight. Subjects were exercising and being monitored for specific changes in the body. It should be noted that their may be some differences in how male and female bodies react to limited gravity environments. Although there are fewer women astronauts, the number is gradually increasing. The problem for NASA is that it has not adjusted to this change. One problem is that there may not be enough space suits fitted to women’s bodies. The first all female space walk was cancelled due to this problem. The parabolic flight simulation experiment only examined one aspect of space travel. Other factors are just as important in such a journey.

       The parabolic flight experiment used nine subjects. The subjects would then do locomotor activities in the experiment. How changes were measured was by senors on the mid-lower back and around the ankle. The subjects were placed on a treadmill along with a load device ( to simulate loads on Earth). Two flight campaigns were conducted. There conditions were present in the experiment which subjects exercised in. These conditions were zero, lunar, and Martian gravity. The team remains in the process of taking data and using it to create software to recognize activity done in microgravity environments. What will then be extrapolated is an exercise monitoring system to monitor musculoskeletal health while in Outer Space. This may even have applications to treating osteoporosis in the biomedical fields.

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Earth is not the only planet that has a moon. Neptune, Saturn, Uranus,  and Jupiter have them. Beyond the Solar System are exoplanets. Most of the known universe’s mass consists of dark matter, which remains a mystery to astronomers and astrophysicists.
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One of the test subjects running in zero-G along with a simulated lunar load. There should have been more subjects than just nine. A bigger sample probably would have given more data.
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If astronauts are going to be in space for long periods of time all hazards must be assessed. Only then can humanity master space travel. Another barrier is technology. Spacecraft must be durable for harsh environments.

The experiment seems to be sound in its methods. Yet some problems arise if examined critically. There were only nine subjects, which is not an enormous sample. This may distort the data in the final analysis. Having a large enough sample can at least reveal an average in terms of potential outcomes. It was not revealed exactly was the fitness level of all the subjects. Random selections tell what will happen to a person not trained to be an astronaut. The purpose to redesign fitness programs to accommodate such professionals. The reasoning is not unsound, but the point is to reach as much precision as possible. When applied to sexual dimorphism  in terms of exercise physiology , women should be given more investigation. Male and female bodies may react differently during space travel.

         Women’s bodies have lower levels of musculoskeletal mass and a body composition that retains more adipose tissue. What is already known tells us what could happen to women in space long periods of time. Women’s bodies may suffer more atrophy from a microgravity  environment compared to a man. The reason being is the a man does have more muscle mass , so the rate would be slower in terms of loss. This explains why women have higher rates of osteoporosis. If the baseline of musculoskeletal mass is low age can gradually reduce it. Other diseases and conditions such as sarcopenia can happen to both sexes. Women have a higher risk factor due to differences in mass of the  the muscular and skeletal system. The erroneous conclusion is that women’s bodies are not suited for space travel. Weight training would be essential part of women’s fitness regimen along with some running to be prepared to explore the Solar System and  beyond .

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Even the most muscular woman has a higher level of body fat compared to a man of similar fitness level .
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Sex is not the only factor. Somatotype may be one as well. This man going into space could face a dramatic loss of msuculoskeletal mass due to being ectomorphic in body type.
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If she were to be in a space mission with the thin man above, she might fare better in terms of how her body reacts to microgravity.

Prior to entering a space mission men and women should be in good health. Part of this requires a standard of fitness and a consistent exercise regimen on Earth and in Outer Space. Sometimes sex would not be a factor in the rate of atrophy of bone and muscle mass. Ectomorphic body types may be more vulnerable in space. Once more this is the result of having less musculoskeletal mass to begin with. For endomorphic body types space travel would be rougher. There must also be a consideration for long term effects of microgravity on the circulatory system. The only way to get a hold of the settlement of space is to establish a colony on the moon. Astronauts would have to stay there for a period of time and document changes in their bodies. Differences related to sex must be accounted for if method of space travel and settlement is to be successful.

      The moon is 384,400 km from Earth. The surface gravity is about 0.17 x Earth’s. One year on the Moon is  the equivalent of 27.32 Earth days. The temperature can be a maximum 123 degrees Celsius and at minimal -233 degrees Celsius. One aspect about the Moon is that the same side faces Earth. What can be seen on the surface are dark plains known as maria. Thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter thousands of images have been gathered giving more geographical details. The far side of the Moon was not fully seen until the space age. This area is populated with craters. Regolith a rubble substance covers the surface.

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The moon could possibly serve as a laboratory for terraforming.  Earth Moon could also be used as a lunching pad to the Moon.
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Human’s bodies were evolved to adapt to environments with gravitation. The challenge is adjusting our bodies to a radically different habitat all together.
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It was once believed that women could not be astronauts because they lack the strength and physical endurance. Since then, this has been discredited with exercise physiology.

  The near side of the Moon would probably be the best candidate for for settlement. Carters and regolith could make habitation difficult. The Moon has no atmosphere, making terraforming a more difficult engineering task. The South Pole of the Moon may have water ice. If so, there are two possibilities. There may be a source of water that can be purified and be used for human visitors or a place that contains life. What is known so far, it is too early to make a definite proclamation. The moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago. During the Apollo missions astronauts were able to retrieve 380 kilograms of rocks from the moon. The structure of the moon contains an iron core, a mantle, and a crust that has many craters. A positive sign is that the moon may not have seismic activity. A satellite with no possibility of  plate tectonic disturbance would indicate a level of safety. Limited geological activity explains why craters still remain. These structures are the result of meteorite  impacts eons ago.If water can be found  in deep craters at the moons poles, building a moon station could be a technological possibility. This area get direct exposure to sunlight. There was signs of promise with the Chandrayaan-1, which indicated water might be on the moon due to the reflection of light on the lunar surface. The more that is known about the lunar surface and poles the better astronauts can tame the wilderness of space.

       The fitness aspect of space travel must be taken into consideration, but their are also other heath hazards. Space contains much radiation. The magnetic poles on Earth shield organisms from it. If humankind does reach Mars the terrain there is more hostile. Sandstorms are a huge risk to any vessel entering the atmosphere. Food production becomes a real puzzle, if there is very little soil for farming. Water and sunlight are critical to plant growth. The question of transporting cattle or other livestock becomes complicated. Animals would have to survive the journey to ensure the success of farms. Establishing permanent settlement also poses a problem in terms health depending on age. Young children living in space or in a microgravity environment may not have their bones and muscles develop in a healthy manner. If their bodies are still growing a microgravity environment may complicate their development. The risk of birth defects could also be present in unknown regions of space. The elderly also in particular may struggle traveling in space.

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Space travel has to made safer for civilians to engage in it. Doing so opens possibilities of space tourism.
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The Apollo 11 Saturn V spacecraft that carried the first astronauts to the moon. Spacecraft has gotten more advanced, but it must progress further if humanity is going to other planets or possibly other galaxies.
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Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to go into space in 1963. The Soviets were ahead in the space race at first, but America reached the moon. There were some matters in which the Soviet Union was more progressive. NASA did not allow women to be astronauts at this time.

Astronauts would have to explore the unknown, remain in contact with Earth, and safely return to show that it is possible. The trouble is financing such an immense project. The only solution would be that it would be a collaboration among various nations of the world. Combining funds and scientific minds around the world will make a human space exploration and settlement project progress at a faster rate. It must be agreed upon that space shall not be used as another theater of war . When a consensus is reached, only then can the project for human exploration and settlement begin. There is another risk to going into space or an unknown planet that can not be detected by the human eye. Microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses  pose a health risk. There could be thousands of different types of bacteria and viruses on planets that human beings have no immunity to. A quarantine procedure must be put in place to prevent the spread of a lethal disease from space. The astronauts that went to the moon did not bring such microorganisms back, because  the environment may not be able to sustain life without an atmosphere. Planets that are Earth like may have wildlife that could be potentially dangerous. Science fiction has imagine strange and terrifying creatures, but it may be fact on certain exoplanets.There is the element of fear about the unknown. However, there also is the element of excitement. Humanity has reached a critical point in which we are learning more about existence and ourselves.

 

The University of Washington Women’s Sports Medicine- Running on The Moon (2013)

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be significant for women’s sports history for a number of reasons. It was able to generate high ratings during TV  broadcasts, which discredits the myth that viewers would never like watching female athletes. The number of  women athletes getting international exposure has shown that women really have reached a level of prominence in professional sport. The US women’s soccer team beat the Netherlands to secure victory in the final. The next question is will they ever receive equal pay seeing as they have won so many matches. Despite persistent challenges for women in the sports world, there is a positive result. More young girls may be inspired to play soccer. To celebrate, here are some photos capturing an important Women’s World Cup.

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2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Eight Myths About Women On The Frontline And Why We Shouldn’t Believe Them

Howitzer

Eight Myths About Women in Combat

Women entering primarily male occupations will face hostility and discrimination. Prejudice and false claims cloud rational judgement. Women entering military combat jobs has gradually become another wedge issue in American politics. The American right seems to disapprove of women in combat or  break from traditional gender roles. The Republican Party may as the years go by struggle to gain more women voters if their is not a change in regards to women’s  reproductive rights or that women are not given more leadership roles in the party itself. The American left regarding this issue may gloss over the realization that women may not enlist in large numbers or be as physically capable as a man of the same fitness level. What that means is that all branches of the US Military will not be gender balanced. Difficulties can be countered through new policies and strict enforcement . There are plenty of capable women who could make greater soldiers and slowly the US Military is realizing this . Women have been in combat throughout history, so this change since 2013 is nothing new. The Mino warriors, the Onna bugeisha, and Scythian warriors are just a few examples in history of female combatants. American history also has instances of female combatants. Women during the Civil War disguised themselves as men to fight. Even with this information, skeptics and opponents still object to women in combat. There are some myths that must be challenged to prevent hostility and sex prejudice in military ranks. Sex integration can be done in the US Military. Women’s rise to prominence really started in 1978 and their roles are going to expand in the coming decades.

              The persistent argument is objecting to women in combat roles is that they are not physically fit enough. Leanne K. Simpsons uses the more harsh statement ” women are physically inferior to men.” While detractors or sexists do not make such a blatantly sexist statement, they make it clear they think all men are stronger than all women. No such woman would be qualified unless standards are lowered. The reality is that on average men are stronger, but that does not mean women cannot improve their physical fitness capacity. This would not result in women being as strong or as fast as men with a the same training regimen. However, women can acquire enough strength and speed to meet the demands of a certain military occupational specialty. Males have more muscle mass compared to women. Even the most muscular woman contains a higher body fat percentage compared to a man of similar training. Women need to be strong enough to carry a wounded soldier, march under load, and hold supplies as well as weapons.

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You do not need much strength to fire a gun, but some assault rifles and machine guns can be heavy unlike smaller hand guns.
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Women must be given the same fitness training as their male counterparts. So far, the only changes are for functional fitness related to certain jobs.
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A Somalian female soldier fights as a tank gunner against Al-Shabab. Stella Rose is part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
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Just being really strong does not automatically make you a quality soldier.  There are many skills sets that need to be obtained from basic training to MOS.

Women can increase their strength through weight training. Women can build muscle mass, but not to the same level as a man. This is based around endocrinology and the influence of sex hormones. Prior to puberty, the physical fitness capacity of boys and girls is similar. When testosterone levels increase in a boy’s body they will a strength spurt. This means a dramatic increase in musculoskeletal mass. Tendon and ligaments also contribute to strength. Training does not enhance women’s ligament strength to the same degree. This explains why women are vulnerable to anterior cruciate ligament tears . The reason female soldier may suffer more musculoskeletal injuries is due to the fact women have less body mass to handle intense pressure. Another reason is that women are not training properly for maximal strength gain. Modern technology has negated some  requirements for physical strength. Most wars are not fought with bare fists, rather with tanks, airplanes, bombs, guns, and artillery. Nuclear weapons also complicate warfare and make it that much worse. Cyber warfare will become more prevalent in future conflicts. It seems technology and the more lethal the weapon matters more than how many points a soldier can score on a fitness examination. Fitness still is important. A combat soldier depending on their occupation or branch of service still needs to be fit and healthy enough to meet the rigorous demands of combat. Some assault rifles can weigh up to 8  pounds or more.

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There is some strength needed to carry and assault rifle . Then the weight of gear poses the problem of extra weight and slower speed.
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Women must build their upper bodies to meet the demands of some positions. When women weight train, this is the most difficult part of the body to increase strength.
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This is field artillery that requires loading shells. A female soldier would have to load them fast enough and have the upper body strength to do so. Artillery shells can be heavy . Doing this for a sustained period of time also requires muscular endurance.
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Other countries seem to be following the new phenomenon of allowing women to serve in combat. Here a woman soldier is training with her male counterparts in China . She is out running them. Biological and physical differences are not a limitation if women are trained properly.

Women will require a weight training program and a nutritious diet to prevent health problems. Rather than calling the  new standards  gender neutral it should be occupational requirements. The problem using the term gender neutral is that it is too politically charged. Women in combat will be successful just as long standards are not lowered. This has not occurred so far, rather standards are being adjusted to meet new challenges in 21st century warfare.Another factor in physical fitness aerobic capacity. Some aspects of physiology will not be altered by training.  Women’s running speed does is slower than a man’s due to differences in pelvic structure as well as the size of the heart and lungs. The hardest part of meeting physical requirements may be reaching the necessary mile runs in fitness examinations.  Women would have to have some level of physical fitness training prior to entry. Doing so would dramatically reduce basic  and MOS training injuries. It is a myth that women are physically inferior, but physical fitness capacity is not equal. The gap is much wider between the average man and average woman. If women were to be drafted it would require that get a fitness program to boost their strength. For both men and women, a weight management program may be required for them to be eligible. A large portion of the American population either is overweight or struggling with obesity. Other people devoid of weight related issues are just not physically active enough. As history has shown and the current women filling combat jobs it is clear that women are capable.

           There is a gender stereotype that men are more aggressive, while women are more passive. One myth is that women lack the aggression required to be effective combat soldiers. The truth is both sexes can show aggression, but men seem to show physical aggression more. The reasons are both biological and sociological. Sexual dimorphism and aggression may be linked to sexual selection. Men evolved to be bigger and stronger in the competition for mates. Fighting for food and territory was probably the daily existence of early hominids. There is a reason that more men are present in armies even when combat positions are open to women. Occupations that have a high degree of risk women make up small numbers. Construction, law enforcement,  and firefighting  are other occupations that have low numbers of women. There remain social barriers, but it seems it comes down to personal choice. Men may just be hardwired to engage in dangerous behavior compared to women. Then there are physical challenges. All women may not have the strength and endurance to increase the numbers in such jobs. Sociologically, young boys are raised to be more aggressive. Girls are taught to adhere to a certain set of behavior that does not deviate from a traditional gender role norm. Aggression, competitiveness, or independence were qualities  never encouraged in girls.

The reason men’s bodies evolved to be stronger was that they were built for physical confrontation. Women did not need to be physically aggressive to get a mate  or territory .  Yet, biology is changing and can be flexible. Men and women as shown above do not naturally look like this. Through exercise and diet the human body can be changed dramatically. 

Women now in various countries are challenging traditional gender roles. Women are participating in sports thought to be for men only. When watching a boxing event or an mixed martial arts match women demonstrate physical aggression that is not typically seen. Although there is a power scale difference in terms of athletic performance, women’s skill level appears to be equally matched. It should be understood that just being strong does not make you the best fighter. How a person throws a punch or kicks makes a difference in a physical confrontation. This is why hand to hand combat training is provided by armies. If a soldier gets disarmed, they can easily fight back against an enemy combatant. If women are provided the same training, there will not be problems in terms of integration of  female combat soldiers. One realization is that when women are being trained they are going to have to be deprogrammed from years of cultural conditioning. Environment does have a powerful role just like biology. Simply being in a violent and harsh environment  makes a person more aggressive. Many believe human society does not love war, but it has occurred so often in history to be true. The ancient and modern empires were built on armed conflict. Today, low level wars of proxy may merge into mass global confrontation between world powers.

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An MMA match between two female fighters. There is more to fighting than just being strong . Skillful movements are required to execute devastating blows.
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Boxing is another form of combat sport. Women’s punches can hurt if they are taught properly in utilizing their power.
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Every man is not stronger than every woman, but sex differences were used to exclude women from combat jobs.
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Although strength differences give men an advantage in hand to hand combat, there are martial arts that can somewhat help women and smaller men deal with larger opponents. Judo and karate are just a few examples.

War requires coordinated acts of aggression to make a fighting force effective. Individuals not only have to increase their aggression and fighting level, armed units must as well. Beyond the dynamic of sex and biological behavior, there is an element that effects most in the US Military. It produces high quality soldiers, but there is not the production of warriors. The warrior culture believes in fighting to the death and completing a mission no matter the cost. The United States as a country has never really had a warrior culture like other  nations around the world. Sparta, Japan, and Dahomey are examples of warrior cultures through out history. It may be time for the United States to readjust various military related policies. The first would be to stop viewing women as either victims or helpless beings in need of male protection and assistance. Women did show aggression and fighting skill in the historical past. Japan had the female warriors known as onna-bugeisha. Dahomey had the Mino warriors who would later fight French invasion.

Female fighters both past and present. The difference now is that women are fighting in an official capacity, which means they get medals and full honors as well as benefits of military service. 

It appears that women can be aggressive, but for men it just may be more natural to their sociobiological behavior. That means it may continue to be more men fighting in armies, even though women are capable. Granted the numbers will be skewed due to the historical circumstances of favoring males over females, but even with reduction in discrimination the numbers may not dramatically increase. The disturbing aspect about this is that if aggression come so natural to large portions of people is peaceful coexistence an illusion? To a degree it is. The United States has embarked on an extremely aggressive path since the Cold War overthrowing governments and invading countries in the name of democracy. The notion that if there are more democratic societies in the world then there is more peace has shattered in the early 21st century. There are more liberal democracies (although authoritarian in function ), but various conflicts are still active around the world. Tension between the US, China, and Russia may escalate to a large global conflict. The only way to keep aggressive behavior in check is to have a sophisticated network of diplomatic relations that can effectively prevent a massive world confrontation. having more women leaders would not create this peaceful world as some would like to think. Women can be aggressive just like men but such behavior is both a product of biology and environment.

          Biological sexism still persists relative to women’s mental capacities. The most laughable myth is that women lack the mental discipline required to handle the demands of combat. There are differences between male and female brains, but this does not indicate inferiority or superiority. The question of sex differences in neuroanatomy  are irrelevant seeing as the brains of individuals differ regardless of sex. Women have been present in high stress jobs and have seem no difference in performance compared to their male counterparts. the anatomical structure of male and female brains is the same. There are two hemispheres left and right. The brain is made of neurons a collection of cells. The brain contains occipital, temporal, frontal, and parietal lobes. The cerebral cortex is the site of complex mental actions such as thought and consciousness. Men’s brains do have higher volume in certain subcortical regions such as the hippocampus , amygdala, thalamus, and striatium according to a study conducted by the University of Edinburgh in association with the UK Biobank. Women’s brains had thicker cortices compared to men. Brain size or differences in our neurological wrining does not indicate biological superiority. This discussion about the brain and mind also relates to the question of mental health. Soldiers suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or take their own lives once returning to civilian life. Depression can harm both men and women, but for soldiers it becomes a more challenging battle. This is where men are at a disadvantage. The male suicide rate is higher than women not only because they select more violent means of killing themselves, but males are taught to not express their emotions. The stereotype of the hyper-emotional and unstable woman can be contrasted with the stoic man. Men are taught if they express emotion this is a sign of weakness. Women may be more socialized to be more open about their feelings. A new attitude and approach should be taken to mental health.

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Harm is not just physical, there can be psychological wounds from being in a war zone. Bullet wounds or injury from shrapnel can be seen, but mental health issues are more difficult to diagnose.
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The idea of murdering another human being may weigh heavily upon a person’s conscience. Some experiences may haunt a person for life.
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This is a sample of budget appropriations for the US Military in 2015. Very little goes to soldier health or well being. The current increases under the Trump administration have not gone to improving soldier healthcare.

 A soldier is trained to be tough and deal with difficult situations. Even the strongest people need help sometimes. That is why every soldier should have a good support structure both in and out of service. Connection with family and friends should be maintained for the sake of mental well being. The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to address the mental health crisis among service members. This requires more appropriations for suicide prevention and mental health programs. The strain of combat can make a person emotionally unstable. Men and women can fall victim to this, but men may be more vulnerable due to an extreme machismo upbringing. There needs to be a healthy expression of emotions to prevent mental distress. Most importantly the stigma of seeking help must be eliminated. Therapy can be a means of confronting mental health challenges. Addressing these problems will aid in getting soldiers readjusted to civilian life.

        Sexual assault, harassment,and rape continue to be a persistent problem. Women are victimized at a higher rate given their small numbers. There are more men in the US military, which means that more men would be actually be victimized in terms of a statistical aggregate. The numbers will never be complete, because victims are fearful to report they were sexually attacked. The possibility of reprisal or deliberate destruction of a military career make many remain silent. There is a military culture that must change. It is ludicrous to say that rape of sex crimes are a “female problem.” Children can be molested or prisoners can be victims of custodial rape. Normally, the justification of keeping women out of combat is that they will be raped or tortured by the enemy. The lugubrious reality is that a woman can be attacked by her male colleagues. The US Military has engaged in multiple war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Somalia. While it is know that the murder of civilian populations is common from airstrikes and the use of drones it is often forgotten soldiers use rape as a weapon of war. It is time for the United States to full respect the Geneva Convention and prosecute criminal activity. If the US Military cannot reduce sex crimes in their institution, then may be a solution would be to have such cases tried in a civilian court. Officers and generals of high rank can influence outcomes in military tribunals. It is difficult for a soldier who has been sexually assaulted by a service member of higher rank to get the perpetrator charged. The problem is not women in combat; it is a network of institutional corruption. When that is dismantled, then the levels of sexual assault decline.

        Unit cohesion has been a question since the ban on women in combat jobs was lifted in 2013. Cohesion depends on several factors. Collaboration between soldiers is pivotal. If men in the unit are hostile to their female counterparts, with will only result in failure. Leadership has a greater impact than how many women are in an armed unit. If a commander has poor decision making skills or lacks the imaginative thought to navigate difficult situations a unit will not be an effective fighting force. All soldiers must be willing to do the same tasks and duties. That means women should not be expected to do less, while men do more. The reason why standards should not be lowered to increase the numbers of women is that men would have to do more of the labor. This place unnecessary stain on male soldiers who would have to perform more  of the physical labor.  If women are trained on the same physical fitness standard, then there would be no problem with unit cohesion. Male soldiers must learn to tolerate and accept women as part of their units. This may never happen no matter how qualified women are, but strong human resources policies can combat discrimination or hostile atmospheres. There also is the problem of romantic relations between soldiers.

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There is a problem of soldiers dating in a unit. This add more complications to the integration of women in combat jobs.

 There has to be a strict dating policy to avoid issues related to human resources or the drama of being involved with a coworker. Such intimate relations could effect cohesion in an armed unit. Currently all branches do have a dating policy. These policies are directed at officers of higher rank and their subordinates. An updated fraternization policy would be required to maintain a level of cohesion. Unfortunately, even with such policies in place it is difficult to control human behavior and actions. Mixed units may struggle at first, but overtime it can be made to work. Women full integration may take a number of decades to complete.

          What seems to frame the perspective of women in combat is based on the idea women cannot fight or that they are low quality soldiers. The notion that female units do not work seems to ignore history. Women fought in combat when Eritrea was fighting for independence from Ethiopia. During the ancient period, women were also active as fighters in Scythia. These women of the Central Asian Steppe may have been an inspiration for the Greek myths surrounding Amazons. During World War II Russian women served as snipers and fighter pilots. Detractors claim that this was all in the past and at best random anomalies. Certainly the female warrior is nothing new appearing in both history and popular culture. Even recent history demonstrates that women are playing combat roles in major conflicts. Women have been active in the YPG  fighting ISIS in Syria. What started as a civil war expanded in a war of proxy between the Gulf states and Iran. It attracted both the US and Russia which continue to fuel the conflict. The YPG known as the Women’s Protection Unit has both protected Rojava and prevented ISIS from expanding further. Erroneously, the Trump administration declared that ISIS was defeated, but that is far from the truth. The Peshmerga, the Syrian Army, and the YPG have been containing or taking the territory that they have gained.

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A  Soviet woman sniper takes aim during World War II. Russia was a major player in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
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Eritrean women combat soldiers  celebrating. Eritrean women fought in the liberation struggle and the country gained its independence in 1993.
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The Kurdish YPG units posing in formation. They are actively involved in the fighting in Syria. The reason for mass destabilization in the region was due to the Arab Spring and western intervention.

There has been a dramatic shift with women become recognized combat soldiers. Changes will have social and political impacts. The idea of the woman warrior has been present in history. It only has been recently that modern historiography has examined the role of both individual women fighters and leaders. When the Roman Empire fought the Scottish tribes they confronted the Picti. These were warriors who were both male and female who were known for their body decorations. There may be more to discover about women’s military history in the ancient past. What this information indicates both past and present is that women can be made into combat soldiers. If given a fair chance they can excel. Bravery and determination are valued in fighters. Women can have these qualities. To say that all women are not capable at being soldiers ignores the facts of history and the current geopolitical situation.

         The pronouncement that is debatable is that women cannot perform as well as men on special forces units. Special forces training can be very physically demanding. It should be understood that many recruits give up seeing as Special Forces tests endurance, strength, speed, and mental strength. Men and women do not have the same physical fitness capacity. This means if both sexes  were given the same training regimen it most likely would result in the male subject with more strength an speed. Regardless of sex, somatotype, genetics, diet, and type of exercise regimen used can determine the level of physical fitness capacity. Based on the current standards, a prediction can be made about how many women could be on special forces such as the Navy SEALS. The fitness standards for a minimal qualification could give the average woman trouble. The biggest struggle would be upper body based exercises an area which women lack the most muscle. The minimum standards would be impossible for an average woman to do with out training before hand. For a female athlete it may pose only some minor exertion.

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The idea would be to get the highest scores possible to increase the likelihood of becoming a Navy SEAL.
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Women have less strength in their upper bodies. Lower body strength is easier to build in comparison.  Women on average have an estimated  40% less upper body strength and 33% lower body strength.
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These are the targets recruits should aim for.
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While women can get strong, one problem would be increasing running speed. Hemoglobin levels are not changed in women through training.  The most physically fit women may struggle to meet the optimum standards.

 Reaching the optimum standards for the female athlete or a woman of  a high fitness level would be more of a challenge. The higher the strenuous activity the more physical energy women have to use. Women have to train harder to attain a particular fitness level. Before one makes the conclusion that no woman could be on Special Forces such as the Navy SEALS, it should be noted that few women have attempted to join. Without a sample of women, there is no way to access possible success or failure. The only way to do that is through speculation or theorizing based on the standards and comparing theme to women’s scores in other branches of the US Military. A through experiment or examination has never been done in Special Forces to see how mixed units would preform. More women would have to join to make the statement whether women perform well or poorly. It may be awhile before a real life GI Jane emerges, but more needs to be done to attract women to Special Forces.

            Women in combat will continue to a wedge issue and a controversial topic in American political and public circles. Change is inevitable and this is something the US Military must accept. Irrational trepidation or prejudice opposed to women in combat has little cogency. What must be done is to prepare for women’s full integration into combat jobs in an official capacity. Women have already been engaging in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The concept of a frontline may be disappearing with warfare touching every aspect of life. Cyberwarfare is the new front of the 21st century and many nations will be active in it. Women will not ruin the US Military or degrade its capacity to fight. America’s problem is not that its military has declined; it has become too powerful. A combination of militarism and ultra-patriotic fervor has gripped the nation. The America First policy seeks aggressive posturing against China, Iran, Russia, and even EU countries. Perpetual warfare has been a policy of the United States since the end of World War II. Doing this will eventually bankrupt the country and put soldier’s lives at risk. The economic and social toll must be avoided to prevent domestic unrest with in the United States. The role of the US Military should be defense, not nation building or neo-colonial imperialist projects. Maybe if women gain more authority in US Military leadership such policies can be changed. The fist step is allowing women to be in combat occupations. Another step to larger institutional change is to not believe the common myth about women in military service. Progress is never secure or guaranteed and it remains uncertain if  the Trump administration will ensure the female service members have equal opportunity for advancement in their military careers.

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Eight Myths About Women On The Frontline And Why We Shouldn’t Believe Them

Shawn Ray Hints About A Possible Return of The Ms.Olympia Contest

Shawn Ray (1990s) and Margie Martin (2010s) present  impressive physiques. There is no reason why both men and women should be treated equally in the bodybuilding sports.

Shaw Ray on the Possible Return of the Ms.Olympia

Shaw Ray bodybuilding champion and fitness promoter released a very interesting video for Muscle and Fitness . He stated that it was a possibility that the Ms.Olympia contest could be revived, if the industry promotes it. There is an untrue stereotype that male bodybuilders do not welcome their female counterparts, but clearly there is no truth to that. Shawn Ray and others have shown their support for female bodybuilding and there is no shortage of talent. The Wings of Strength has done much to promote female bodybuilding contests ever since the end of the Ms.Olympia in 2014. Many detractors stated that female bodybuilding would be dead or gone forever, but it seems that it never disappeared. The IFBB support just was lacking. Shawn Ray has been a part of the bodybuilding sports for decades, which means he has some insider information. Going to shows speaking to both fans and athletes there seems to be a new enthusiasm for competitive female bodybuilding. Jake Woods has successfully tapped into a market and niche of fans that the IFBB could have if they cared enough about their female athletes. Now that it could show some potential for success that what to revive what they previous canceled. There continue to be professional shows with certain athletes making an impressive mark. Margie Marin, Alina Popa, and Helle Trevino are just a few of familiar and new faces coming on stage. It would be simply ludicrous to say that women are poor bodybuilders.They are not only showing that they are good at it; they are magnificent.

Michelle Jin is not new to the sport , but made a transition to the bodybuilding class to physique. What this indicates is that physique could easily be classified as lightweight bodybuilding. Their physiques resemble women’s bodybuilding of the 1980s. Women actually have more choices in terms of divisions compared to when they first entered bodybuilding and physique sports. That is an example of progress, yet there always is some form of backlash. Even back in the classic era many objected to women’s participation. The large debate has been what type of female body best represents the sport. There are two factions. One advocates a smaller look and the other a more massive female body. To an extent this debate has been settled with the various divisions of figure, bikini, fitness, and physique. The idea of saying that women go “too far” or are “too extreme”  has a sexist double standard. If men are allowed to be the biggest and strongest, why can’t women strive for their goals. If the Ms.Olympia returns in 2020, then judges must have a definite idea of what they want. So many inconsistencies create confusion and frustrate athletes. Can the Ms.Olympia be revived ? It depends on several factors. First, promotion and marketing must be given priority. There is a demographic of female muscle fans that would love to see the Ms.Olympia back and they are the ones who will buy tickets. Another step in this revival should be equal respect and treatment of female athletes in the fitness culture. Low prize money and limited media exposure reveal this sex bias. One pivotal adjustment is to have weight classes so that women can at least have an option in how their body looks. Some women may not care to get hypermuscular or bigger women cannot fit into the figure or physique classes. Making this change can help get more women to compete. All the divisions that women compete in should have a united front to deal with low pay or unjust treatment in the IFBB. There still should be some cautious optimism, but Shawn Ray’s prediction could happen.

Shawn Ray Hints About A Possible Return of The Ms.Olympia Contest

Daily Mail: Are Women Really the Weaker Sex? The Intriguing Medical Facts That Settle the Oldest Argument of All (2008)

 

The Weaker Sex ? What Medicine Tells Us

The term weaker sex was a general statement that women were both mentally and physically inferior to men. Historically, biomedical science also made this assumption and as a result women’s health did suffer. While it is obvious there are biological and physiological differences among the sexes, this does not indicate either superiority or inferiority. The biological sexist normally use men’s greater strength as an example of male superiority. Even more ludicrous is the argument that men’s mental capacities are greater. On average men are  physically stronger, but that does not mean women cannot be strong. Intelligence varies from person to person regardless of sex. Arguments for biological superiority lack cogency. The frailty myth still continues to be a part of the consciousness of  in the study of medicine and biology. Loweri Turner makes the wrong conclusion in her investigation. She claims ”  overall, when you add up the number of individuals affected by all these conditions, women are the weaker sex.” Turner asks the question which sex is better built to withstand disease. The assumption is that men with their greater physical strength are better suited to survive and avoid disease. The fact is women will live longer on average even when health conditions and environment are optimal. Even in countries with low live expectancy women still out live men. Women have more durational strength. Sex differences in biology and physiology do have a impact on health and how the body reacts to disease.

          Bone health becomes a concern as we age. Men have greater bone density contributing to more physical strength. It is not just the muscles, but the frame where the muscles are placed. Women’s lower bone mass and density means that they are more vulnerable to osteoporosis or possible stress fractures. Men can be at risk for bone diseases under certain conditions. According to  Professor Ignac Fogelman men can get osteoporosis from genetic factors or long term use of cotiosteroids. Excessive drinking and alcoholism could be contributors. Women can lose bone mass during menopause due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. Hip fracture becomes even more of a concern. Men and woman are about as equally vulnerable to hip fracture. The reason why the numbers for women look high is that men do not live long enough to get certain aliments. Osteoarthritis refers to when the cartilage in your bones wears down overtime. This can strike at nay joint, but commonly occurs in the knees, hands, hips, and spine. Women are more effected, because they have less bone mass and density to work with.

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Osteoarthritis will overtime erode cartilage
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Osteoarthritis can effect a multitude of joints.
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Weight training or resistance training can help maintain bone and muscle mass.

Women are not doomed to having bone related diseases unless they take certain steps. Having a proper amount of calcium and vitamin D can maintain bone health. Exercise such as load bearing exercises are important. Women need to incorporate weights into their exercise regimen. Knowing the risk factors and the nature of the diseases can aid in prevention. Race and body type can put certain individuals at risk. Asian and white women may have a higher risk factor compared to other groups. Thin people may be at risk considering they would have lower bone mass. Examining bone does not provide enough to say they men are tougher in fighting disease. The only way to fully assess that is to have men live longer in the nonagenarian stage. The what this reveals from a biomedical perspective is that women must focus and be aware of bone health more so than their male counterparts.

    The muscular system requires attention in regards to an individual’s overall health. Not only is this important to average people, but professional athletes. Women have made their mark in the fitness and sports world in such a short period of time. Some even thought that women would one day be taking over: ” there has been a lot of controversy in the sports world about whether men’s apparent physical advantage is on the wane.” It seemed as if women were breaking many records in the 1980s. The erroneous perception was that women were going to catch up to men in Olympic athletic performance. Some attribute this to performance enhancing drug use, but this would not have caused a major change due to the fact it did not alter women genetically. Drug use is higher among male athletes, so the records will never be complete representation of natural human performance. Women do not need drugs to reach impressive athletic performance. Turner notes: “a look at the bulging muscles sported by some female Wimbledon champions proves that female sportswomen aren’t the delicate flowers they once were – some experts have argued that women will eventually equal men’s speed and strength.”  Its not just female tennis players, women athletes from various sports a displaying bigger and more powerful physiques than would not have been imaginable before.

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Women’s sports performance as a whole has remained stable since 1983. There is a 10 % difference in athletic performance in certain events in the Olympics. While men are on average stronger, they do not have a monopoly on physical strength. Women’s bodies are different, but that does not make them inferior. Women’s muscles respond to weight training stimuli in a similar fashion. They are capable of muscular hypertrophy, yet there is a difference in physical fitness capacity. The muscle cells as far as anatomists and exercise physiologists know are the same in both men and women. Muscle contraction and physiology operates in a similar manner between the sexes. Strength also is related to muscle fiber type. Type II muscle fibers are better designed for more power compared to more endurance based type I. The amount of type II muscle fiber can vary depending on genetics, but on average males have more type II.

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Men have more of their strength concentrated in their upper body.
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These are the capabilities of the muscle fibers
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Bigger muscles do not always mean more strength. A weightlifter could be stronger than a bodybuilder. Margie Martin here is training for sculpting a physique, rather than building strength.

The average woman may not equal a man in strength,but the female athlete can. Sometimes they can be stronger depending on height and total weight.Male muscle is not  better than female muscle, rather it is a difference in total mass. This does effect agility. Smaller bodies are not the most agile ones. This is more dependent on how fast one can accelerate and decelerate muscles. Men may have an advantage according to exercise  physiologist Harry Brennan. Women seeing as they have looser joints have more flexibility. This would be useful in sports such as gymnastics. When looking at strength it should be examined from a point of power scaling. The weakest woman would not have the same strength as the weakest man. The strongest woman would not be able to perform physically on the same level as the strongest man. There are those rare exceptions. Obviously, being female does automatically make a person weak. One benefit related to women’s endocrine function is that women are more fatigue resistant and possibly can recover faster from a training session. Estrogen B may act as a form of protection to muscular tissue. If examined from the initial starting point of a weightlifting program, women react well to strength building exercise. It still is unknown what women’s full potential is physically. Only when more research is done on female athletic performance can that question be answered. The muscle quality can be the same for both men and women the difference is in total power. When seeing the numerous weightlifters, bodybuilders, and crossfit athletes the weaker sex concept  is another falsehood. Besides physical strength, there is durational strength. Men and women sometimes react differently to other aliments or health conditions.

        Cancer can effect a person differently depending on their biological sex. Colon and lung cancer are the most common cancers that strike both men and women. Cancer by medical definition is the abnormal growth of cells. The result may be malignant tumors that appear on the human body. There are an estimated 100 types of cancer that exist. Sometimes cancer can be called malignancy. Colon cancer can occur when polyps in the large intestine begin accumulate. Polyps are not all cancerous, but some can become malignant.  Colorectal cancer refers to malignancy in both the colon as well as rectum. Diet and life style choice do play a major role in the chances of a person getting such as disease.The symptoms include blood in stool, loss of weight, weakness, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and irregular bowl habits such as constipation and diarrhea.

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Colonoscopy is a technique of detected possible cancerous tissues in the large intestine.

 

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Smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer.
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There is also a psychological aspect to health. People engage in self destructive behaviors to cope with the stress and challenges of life. Drinking and smoking may provide some type of mental relief.

Men tend to get more colon cancer compared to women. Lung cancer it seems also may effect more men. This has to do with lifestyle rather than biology . Historically, men have constituted the most of the consumers of cigarettes and cigars. Women do not do this behavior as much. Being overweight has been theorized to increase the likelihood of developing a certain type of cancer. The strange aspect of this is that one would assume that overweight women would have more cancer. Overweight men are according to Cancer Research UK are more at risk. Lucy Boyd an epidemiologist working with Cancer Research UK  believes there is a hormonal factor that protects women. Oestrogen has an effect on insulin. When having excess weight the body produces more insulin. There may be some indications in endocrine function that may explain this disparity. So far, it appears that men are more vulnerable to cancer.

      Coronary heart disease can be linked to high fat diets, lack of exercise, and  obesity . The United States and the UK face a public health problem with more citizens suffering from this disease of the circulatory system. As stated in the article ”  true, more men get it – but it also affects millions of women (1.5 million men, compared with 1.1 million women).” However, just because more men get it does not mean women cannot suffer myocardical infraction. The false perception of heart issues being “men’s diseases” needs to be discarded. Heart diseases can be prevent with proper diet and exercise. Weight management also should be factored into overall heart health. Women may fare better in heart related conditions due to hormones. The changes during menopause provide some indication of oestrogen’s  ability to protect the heart. Women tend to have myocardical infraction after menopause. At that stage, women’s oestrogen levels decrease.  This does not mean women who have not gone through menopause  will not get heart disease.

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The basic anatomy of the heart as shown in artistic rendition. Just like a highway it can get jammed or blocked leading to devastating consequences.
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Regular exercise can protect heart health.
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Diet also plays a role in heart and circulatory system health. High fat and sugar consumption can increase blood pressure.

Failure to maintain the health of the circulatory system may lead to other chronic health issues. Stroke can be lethal and if not treated properly could cause major damage to the brain. Environment once more can play a role. Sedentary life styles have given way to an increase in heart related illness. The heart is made of cardiac muscle which is also referred to as myocardium. Coronary heart disease causes the coronary arteries to become very narrow. As a result, blood flow is limited to the heart. Symptoms can include chest pains and even heart attack. There are some parts of the body that can be equally effected by both sexes which are the eyes and the ears.  As far as medical professionals know, there is no sex difference in ear and eye problems. Age causes changes in the eyes and ears. Hearing may become more difficult and eyesight also can become worse. Both men and women should be conscious of heart health, but there should be more focus on how biological differences effect outcomes.

        The brain could be the mots complex organ and even object in the known universe. Understanding mental health and diseases related to the brain becomes a challenge. There is a sex difference in mental health. Men are negatively effected by higher rates of schizophrenia. Jane Harris  who works with a charity Rethink states ”  up to 40 per cent more men are diagnosed with schizophrenia than women – and their symptoms tend to be more severe and treatment less effective.” Boys are more likely do be diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.  Women according to Marjorie Wallace, founder of mental health charity Sane, are more likely to suffer from depression. There are multiple theories about why mental illness exists. There are genetic factors and environmental ones. Some have theorized that boys exposure to testosterone during their development in the uterus makes them vulnerable to certain brain diseases. Although there are some proclamations or ideas about this disparity that are not proven. Jane Harris claims ”  men are more likely to do things that put them at risk of developing schizophrenia – such as smoking cannabis. ” There has not been a definite link between cannabis use and extreme mental disorders. Addiction itself could be counted as a mental disorder and drug abuse is merely a product of that.  Another baseless claim was “medical research shows that heavy cannabis users are up to four times more likely to develop psychosis.”It seems unlikely that people with extreme psychosis are cannabis users. For so long, there have been myths propagated about this drug that the public can no longer distinguish fact from fiction. The use of marijuana poses limited health risk compared to cigarettes and alcohol. Gradually, the medical establishment are seeing its potential as a means of fighting disease and chronic pain. It is stated that women are more effected by certain mental health disorders such as depression overall. Yet, there is one factor that seems to challenge this accepted belief. Men have higher rates of suicide. This can be attributed to the fact men select more violent and effective methods to kill themselves. Even if that factor was not present the rate would be higher. Young men between the ages of 15 and 35 have been taking their own lives in the United States higher than since the year 2000. When examined from this perspective adults, children, and the elderly can be vulnerable to some form of mental distress or anguish at various periods during their life.

       Women may be more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases and disorders . What these diseases are is when the immune system attacks healthy cells. This makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections or harmful pathogens. Women are more likely to get the autoimmune disorder  rheumatoid arthritis. Women may have more vulnerability to hypothyroidism. There could be a possible hormonal reason for this. It has been noted that during pregnancy the conditions of rheumatoid arthritis improve.

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All microorganisms are not harmful to the human body. Bacteria that is present in the stomach plays a role in gastrointestinal health. Lymphocytes and white blood cells have to attack pathogens that could cause harm to the human body. White blood cells operate in the blood stream and other sections of the body. Lymph nodes are cells that must recognizes pathogens that are a threat to health. Autoimmune diseases can effect the skin, digestive system, nervous system, skeletal system, or other parts of the body which have healthy cells that are attacked by mistake. The examination of women and autoimmune disease is not given as much attention in women’s health. The reason for this disparity based on sex could be that there simply has not been enough research. The problem is that the medical establishment may think both sexes react in similar manners to diseases. This may not be a case of female frailty, rather lack of medical knowledge about sexual dimporphism’s relation to health outcomes.

       Reading the text, one would come to the conclusion that women are the weaker sex. However this lacks cogency when seeing total life expectancy. Women even under the best environmental circumstances live longer than men on average. This is seen in developed countries. Even in developing nations women still live longer. So, the conclusion by Lowri Turner ” overall when you add up the number of individuals affected by these conditions women are the weaker sex” is not accurate. If women live longer statistically, that increases the possibility of getting certain diseases. If this were to be a genuine test of strength or durability, men would have to have life expectancy be equal to women’s.

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Kane Tanaka has been confirmed one of the oldest people living in the world. She is 116. There have been a few men to reach their hundreds, but women outnumber them.
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Exercise can help contribute to a healthy body. Some health disparities can be overcome by basic lifestyle changes. An diet low in sugar or high fat can ensure better circulatory system health and weight management. 
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On average men are stronger, but that does not mean every man is stronger than every woman. Women through weight training can increase their strength.  Strength is no longer seen as a male only attribute. 

There is a consequence of living longer. The quality of life mad decline, if there are multiple illnesses a person gets. Cancer and cognitive decline become growing concerns with age. Dementia and are more lethal form of it Alzheimer’s disease may become a public health crisis when large portions of the population become senior citizens. This may harm women the most. Besides genetics that determine life span, environment also has a great impact. Living in a war zone, lack of adequate healthcare, poor diet, or limited reproductive rights can do enormous harm to women’s health. Despite this women seem to be the long lasting survivors. The myth that women are biological inferiors continues to be propagated, even though science has shown there is no such thing as biological superiority. An experiment or question of that sort cannot be measured nor determined. Sexists try to use physical strength as a measure of male superiority, but this crumbles when seeing women’s sports. While records are not equal to male performance, it demonstrates with enough training women can acquire physical prowess. As for health maintenance and outcomes, the medical establishment seems divided. Two factions fall between an emphasis on prevention and the other determined to find cures. Currently, it seems that there is more support for prevention for cures, rather than doing extensive biomedical research for cures. Both should be pursued simultaneously as a means of disease control. Yet, more medical professional appear to favor prevention or new treatments  ignoring quests for cures. While there are multiple diseases that are viral, bacterial,  or genetically inherited women seem to be handle chronic illness. Human evolution may have given women an edge in survival for the sake of producing offspring. Realizing this, scientifically there the idea of a weaker sex is not existent.

Daily Mail: Are Women Really the Weaker Sex? The Intriguing Medical Facts That Settle the Oldest Argument of All (2008)