Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma

The weaker sex? Science that shows women are stronger than men

Physically men on average are stronger, but in terms of durational strength women have an advantage. It has been confirmed, that women live longer than men and may cope better with illness including trauma. There is a gap in terms of old age between men and women. The article from The Guardian examines how there are sex differences in aging and how it relates to overall health. Gerontology seeks to study and explain the process of senescence. Biological aging and death are still a mystery. Biomedical science has not studied women in a serious manner, but that has began to change. Such examinations may hold the key to prolonging life and fighting age related diseases. The information written in the text comes from the Centre for Study on Sex Differences in Health, Aging, and Disease and the Gerontology Research Group. It was once believed that men were better suited for survival, because they were biologically tougher. This was a myth based on gender stereotypes. Medicine had  a tradition of casting the female body as inferior or an object that needed to be controlled. Research has shown that women are not biological inferiors, but have evolved to be survivors.

            The research demonstrates there exists two types of strength. Physical strength which is the level of exertion and force that a person can induce upon an object. Durational strength is how long a person  can live in total years. It is dependent on health condition, genetics, and environment. Steven Austad describes women’s total life expectancy as being more robust. The biologist who is an international expert on aging discovered from his findings that women lived six years longer than men. This would indicate that women on average have higher durational strength. Unlike what Angela Saini claims “the physically strong woman is almost a  myth” there is more to the human body and the science behind it. The female body is more capable of amazing feats than once believed by exercise physiologists. Women historically were restricted in using or having control of their bodies. Physical power and fitness are not male only. The frailty myth was born out of 19th century Victorian Age pseudoscience. It stated women need more rest when they reached puberty and that too much exercise would damage their reproductive organs. There was also a sexist bias in terms of what was considered gender appropriate. Since then, women have gain more opportunities to play sports and engage in physical activity. The false claims were discredited and a change occurred. The only reason female athletes are “gazed upon as other worldly creatures” has to do with people’s view of gender and the female body. Cultural perceptions of the the female body being weaker or women lacking physical competence was common place. Now this perception is shifting and with new information in regards to health it seems arguments of women’s biological inferiority are nothing more than fantasies.

The reason people feel “they break the laws of nature” has to do with sex based biases. There are people who still believe that sport is not proper for a woman. There has been a change in attitude in regards to women, exercise, and health. Strength sports specifically, women are becoming more involved in. Even the “everyday woman” has taken a interest in exercise, not just the professional athlete. Robustness, toughness, and physical power are associated with the male body, but not out of women’s reach. The physical strength difference is based on the size and endocrinology of the male physique. However, this does not mean men will live longer than women. Denser bones and more muscle mass of men means they will not be as susceptible to osteoporosis. That is one health difference that is based on sex. What must be understood about physical fitness is that men have higher capacity. Women’s bodies do respond to training an they can increase fitness levels. Men have a higher physical fitness capacity for strength, but this does not indicate a form of superiority. What it reveals is a long evolutionary history still being shaped by genetics and constantly changing environments.

      Women have a greater chance of living to old age than men. According to The Gerontology Research Group there are only 43 people today who have lived past the age of 110.  Women account for 42 of the group, with one man being the survivor. Violet Brown holds the record of the oldest person being 117. She was born in 1900 and pasted away in 2017. It is a mystery why nature has made men expendable in this regard. Durational strength does not emerge later in life, but starts with the gestation process. Boys are more likely to die when being delivered. Even when healthcare is the same quality, boys are at a 10% risk factor. Research produced from the University of Adelaide indicated that depending on the sex of the baby the placenta may behave differently. The body reacts by bolstering the power of the immune system and girls may get the most benefit. The reason girls and women are protected may have to do with evolution. Reproductive strategies for some organisms involve the female producing large amounts of young. This would mean the female of that species would have to be larger to carry eggs. This can be seen in arachnids and species of birds. Seeing as women give birth to only one child  or just a few more ( twins, triplets, or quintuplets), survival of the female would be more critical. They birth offspring and this method seems more efficient than having young all at once. This is a possible explanation why their is sexual dimorphism in primates. This also includes homo sapiens who do have a level of sexual dimorphism. It can be flexible to a degree. Most men are taller than women, but there are tall women. Obviously, there are women who are stronger than many men.

There is a level of genetic diversity among people, which results in variation. A possible method would to solving this puzzle is to examine the life span of primates such as gorillas or chimpanzees. More information could be extracted from chimpanzees seeing as human beings are closer to that ape genetically. If the females of these apes lives longer then that means women’s longevity does have an evolutionary basis. This could mean the reason girls survive even in the early stages has a genetic basis.

        Both men and women are vulnerable to disease, but women may fare better. Infections and common colds women cam handle better in terms of immune response.   Cardiovascular disease occurs much sooner in men than it does women. Hypertension also a major culprit to health showed a distinct sex difference. Men get high blood pressure earlier. This could not only be a genetic factor, but environment as well as habit based. Americans are becoming more sedentary and getting less physical activity. Combined with high sugar and fat based diets, this will cause problems with cardiovascular health. Exercise and a healthy diet is the best method to avoid cardiovascular disease. The findings of Austud revealed in 2010 that women died at lower rates from heart disease and cancer. Men and women were both equal in terms of likelihood of dying of a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. One problem specific to women comes with longevity. The longer one lives the possibility of  neurodengenrative disease increases. Women are more likely to die from Alzheimer’s disease. A powerful immune system also comes with a price. Women are more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune diseases are when the immune system attacks cells that are healthy in the body. Women’s immune systems have to be flexible for pregnancy. That is why a woman’s immune system is more active during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Immune response is also related to endocrine function by estrogen and progesterone. It seems that exercise, diet, and general habits can prevent many diseases.

There are genetic and biological factors that determine health. The environmental element is also critical to an individual’s life expectancy. Then there has to be some recognition of how disease and healthcare functions. The medical profession puts an emphasis on prevention, rather than investing in cures. There is too much reliance on drugs for certain aliments that could be addressed with a change in diet and lifestyle. Only recently have doctors been seeing the connection between mental states and physical health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There has been in the US an increase in mental health disorders, notably bipolar depression. The text does not mention how mental health differs between the sexes. This is a topic that is significant, because a person changes psychologically over a lifetime. The body needs exercise. The brain also requires it. Learning new things or being active may help prevent cognitive decline.

There still is not an exact reason for why some get Alzheimer’s disease. Only theories are proposed for this age related disease. The death of brain cells indicates as well as other forms of dementia that human beings have a cellular limit. Mitosis changes over the span of the human life cycle resulting in dying cells not easily being replaced in various organ systems. Oxidative stress from free radicals will take its toll as a person ages. The only reason it appears more women are ill is because more of them survive. Advanced age women out number advanced aged men.

        There are sociological reasons for the difference in longevity. Women are most likely willing to make regular doctors appointments. Men do not do this as frequently, which may result in late diagnosis of chronic illness. It seems in some societies women take the condition of their health more seriously. Men may also eat more unhealthy diets. This may not be entirely true, because if men and women have access to the same food their diets would not be that different. Then another problem would be buying such food. Junk food is by comparison cheaper compared to nutritious alternatives, which may also cause a disparity in health relative to socioeconomic status. The poor or discriminated ethnic groups in a particular country often suffer from lack of medical treatment or adequate healthcare. Life expectancy is lowered by terrible socioeconomic conditions. Affordable healthcare is still out of reach for many of the world’s population. The disparity even extends to geography. Western nations have higher life expectancy mainly due to the fact they have government run programs and the infrastructure to support it. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not want to provide a government run healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act was designed to get people insured who otherwise would not have had healthcare. There is also a divide between rural and urban communities. Rural healthcare is low quality with few hospitals and few options in terms of healthcare plans. Women may also benefit from a difference in behavior. Men are more willing to work jobs that are more dangerous. This does not women would not  work these jobs, but their numbers a smaller in comparison.

This difference in risk taking and to a degree competition may harm attempts at creating full equality. Combat positions have been open to women in the US, yet in some areas of the military women have not signed up. This debate comes down to nature versus nurture. The question should not be nature versus nurture. The mystery is how much do nature and nurture collaborate. Granted many women may not be able to fill such positions that are physically demanding due to the difference in physical fitness capacity. Yet, there still is discrimination that is present, even with laws prohibiting it. Women are also discouraged at a young age from going into particular fields. That is just one paradigm of the nature and nurture collaboration. Men are also taught to do things that are deleterious to their well being. The machismo around “proving ones” self leads to perilous situations or confrontations. Men may overwork themselves in pursuit of prestige or to up hold the role of leader of the community. Placing extra burden on themselves can cause health problems later in life. The lugubrious reality is that men inflict more violence on other men.  This can be seen in crime statistics. Warfare puts men at a disadvantage, because they will be drafted. Sociological factors such as geography, healthcare, or occupation can effect longevity.

         Hunter gatherer societies may allow for a hypothesis  why women were given the edge in longevity. Women probably in the ancient past did the same amount of physical work as their male counter parts. Women most likely had to do physical work along with childcare. The need for durational strength was a necessity. Women’s talent for endurance running reveals that women were probably more physical in the past, because it was pertaining to survival. When the rise of permanent settlement changed women’s health and physiques. The bones and muscles shrunk in terms of mass after the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Women’s endurance can best be described as an adaptation to environment. The migration out of Africa was a vigorous journey. That endurance  not only protected women, but the young they were carrying. Saini poses the question why are we all nor amazons? The answer is lucid, when looking at other people. There is variation in human populations. This can range from height to skin color and body type.

Human beings do not all look the same because our phenotypes vary due to genetics and environment. The association of the female body being small and waif like seems to be a modern day invention. The article does expose that ideas does not represent reality. There are countries today were women are involved in physically demanding labor. A majority of women in the Global South are employed in agriculture. There are more women going into sports, law enforcement, construction, the military, and occupations that were considered male only. There is not only biological evolution, but cultural evolution. The cultural evolution is the change of women’s roles through history. One change was the improvement of women’s health. Childbirth was in the past could mean for women possible death. Women now have safer medical treatment for childbirth. There still are disparities in terms of infant mortality. What can be extrapolated from this data and evolutionary history is that there is no such thing as a weaker sex. Trying to prove  that a weaker sex is real would not survive the test of the scientific method. Although women do live longer and have more durational strength, there are issues surrounding women’s health. Access to contraception, healthcare, and higher rates of breast cancer are persistent threats. Women still remain the long time survivors.

Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma

The Kettlebell

A kettlebell is a type a type of weight that is either cast iron or cast steel. It has the appearance of a spherical object with a handle on top.  This type of weight can be used for ballistic exercise and combines other types of training. The use of the kettlebell can incorporate strength, cardiovascular, as well as flexibility training. The kettlebell differs in structure as well. It contains a handle, two horns, and a window. The window is what the user’s hand will go in to lift it. The body of the structure is called the bell. The bottom of it is referred to as the base. Thought to be an invention of the 19th century its origins date back much further. Today, it once more has become a fitness tool that has generated interest again. Kettlebell lifting is even a sport that distinguishes itself from regular weightlifting.

          There are different versions of kettlebells  and the way  it developed in other nations took a different path. This was a widely used strength training tool. The kettlebell was just called by a different name in various countries. The common name was stone padlock or ring handled weight. There are documented cases of athletes of the Highland Games in Scotland  and Shaolin monks in China using them.

The use of the kettlebell may have ancient roots. Jan Todd historian and former powerlifter has stated that the use of objects similar to this type of weight date back to classical Greece. The 5th century B.C.E saw the development of various forms of weights and the haltere had handles indicating it was a prototypical version of the kettlebell. While there were other versions appearing around other world civilizations, this reveals much about the nature of innovation. Ideas are formulated, the prototypes are built, and later they are perfected upon. Ideas and inventions can take decades or even centuries to develop. There are cases in which technology can be lost and would have to be rediscovered.

 The haltere looks different from the modern kettelbell 

The haltere also demonstrates that ancient civilizations had at least a basic understanding of exercise physiology. Although they did not have the benefit of modern science, they were using the pure science technique of observation. They realized that using some form of resistance training increased strength. There could also be versions of  handle based weights that are not known about. The problem is that information about it is lost overtime or there is no interest in academic investigation of the subject.

       Russia is traditionally the home of kettlebell sport and its modern incarnation. The kettlebell was referred to in Russia as giro and girya. The word appeared in dictionaries there as early as 1704.  The word itself  originates from a Persian word gerani and the  ancient slavic  word gur . Translated gerani  means difficult. The word gur means bubble. Russian farmers used these objects as a counterweight to measure out grain at markets. Russia at the time was still an agrarian society, so such a device was critical. Farmers looking for some form of entertainment began doing feats of strength with giros. This began to gain popularity in farm festivals. It was not until the 19th century that kettlebells were then introduced into sports medicine. A Russian doctor, Vladislav Krayevsky popularized its use. Being the czar’s personal physician he influenced him to make the use of Kettlebells a part of  training in the Russian army.

Kettlebells were used in various parts of the Russian Empire. It was not only in Russia, that this type of weight was found. Germany also developed its own kettlebells. Gradually it became an object that was iconic of strongman routines and the emerging physical culture. The Kettlebell is not something that is purely an invention of one state or continent. There are multiple versions, depending on the time period and place. Women were also a part of the new physical culture of the period earlier than thought. Elsie Serafin Luftmann was a strongwoman who toured all over central Europe performing various feats of strength. She was known to juggle cannon balls, to much amusement to her audience. There is a lithograph dated from 1830 depicting her training featuring a kettlebell. There are depictions of kettlebells that also appear in German physical training manuals and documents. What is known about Elsie was from a German speaking region of Bohemia. Germany had a large history of physical culture and bodybuilding related sports.

Elsie Luftman as she appears on a 19th century lithograph demonstrates her strength feats. It appears as if the fitness woman is not a new phenomenon.  

The problem in trying to decipher this information was that the kettlebell was called different names. Freidrich Ludwig Jahn  who was considered one of the major developers of gymnastics was also a harbinger in kettlebell training. He created the Turner System of Gymnastics, which would later evolve into exercise programs that are used today. Many crossfit athletes still use these methods and they are the foundation of  physical education programs. There is a possibility  that   Vladislav Krayevsky  met German trainer Theodore Siebert in 1898 when visiting Vienna. The ideas he learned of he brought back to the Russian Empire. This is only speculation and requires more research, but it is clear that this device of fitness was spreading. When European strongmen and strongwomen came to the United States, they brought kettlebells with them. They opened gyms and Americans got exposure to kettlebell training. Oddly they would disappear in American gyms in the 1940s and 1950s. Kettlbells were still popular in Russia, becoming an official sport in 1948.

           Russia began to recognize kettlebell events  as an important sport. The reason the use of this type of weight disappeared in the US may be because the fitness fadism died down. Fitness is no stranger to fads that are popular and then dissipate overtime. The Soviet government at the time used the kettlebell events as a way to promote national unity and socialist values. It was considered the sport of the working class, because it did not require expensive equipment or vast training sites. There was still however a lack of standardization among the sport. Different rules and training styles were used and it was not until 1985 that rules and standards became uniform.

Kettlebell contests at their most basic form would have the long jerk and the biathlon. The long jerk was is a clean and jerk done with two weights. The biathlon includes snatches with a set of jerks. Kettlebells were a part of Soviet sports schools. These sport schools would produce high performing Olympic athletes through out the 20th century.

         Kettlebells would later reappear in the US, with the emphasis on fitness training. It never has to date caught on as a sport unto its self in America. Pavel Tsatsouline has been given credit for introducing the kettlebell as a tool for fitness. Beginning in 2001, Pavel continued to market the idea kettlebells could be used for fitness. since that year they have made their appearances in US gyms once more. Even with the immigration of Russian athletes to the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union, kettlebell as a sport has not become popular like MMA or American  football. The kettlebell shows how material culture can spread transform. What could have started in other lands made its way to Germany and then Russia. It made its way across the Atlantic remaining in America. The kettlebell was dormant, then reemerged. People who have been involved in fitness think this a passing trend, but this type of weight may have more benefits than previously thought. Kettlebells are not available in all gyms. Small boutique gyms and independent trainers provide instruction to individuals who show interest.

         There have been documented benefits from Kettlebell use. It can be used by all people of various ages, physical fitness levels, and genders. This may be an attempt to change the fitness industry away from focusing on an aesthetics and minor improvement in health to functional training. Advocates claim that it provides full body conditioning. This means the body can work all its movements together in a coordinated synergy. Theoretically it is working more muscle groups, so they may mean one could spend less time on workouts. It is dubious that using kettlebells reduces possible workout injuries. Doing exercise incorrectly or being careless can result in injury.

The higher the physical intensity level the higher the risk of injury. There is not a huge amount of data to prove that using kettlebells is any safer than other exercise equipment. There is also the claim that with kettlebells you can add strength without bulk. If it does involve some form of resistance training in its motion, then what its doing is similar to a regular weight. Breaking down the muscle and casing muscular hypertrophy. Muscular hypertrophy is not dependent on what type of weight you lift. Genetics, somatotype, diet, endocrinology, and specific training method are factors in the growth of muscle tissue. It is possible to add mass if you are using other methods of training with the kettlebell.

Women with mesomorphic body types could find themselves gaining mass with little effort no matter what the exercise. The American Council on Exercise reported that using kettelbells burned up to 1,200 calories and hour. This may seem like an immense amount, but can be achievable without a kettlebell. One aspect the kettlebell is excellent for is mobility and range of motion. An athlete requires a set of skilled and dexterous movements. The kettlebell allows for both anaerobic and aerobic workouts to be done simultaneously. Although it is unclear how effective the kettlebell is. there are enthusiasts who love to use it in fitness circles. Crossfit makes use of the kettlebell in its contests. Organizations such as the American Kettlebell Club, Art of Strength, International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, including  Agatsu and Kettlebell Training Academy offer instruction and promotion of the kettlebell sport. The reason also kettlebells are becoming popular is that video streaming sites and social media have given them more exposure.

References

English , Nick. “Kettlebell History Goes Back Much Further Than Russia.” BarBend, Barbend, 22 Nov. 2016, barbend.com/kettlebell-history/.
Nicolas , Nicole. “The Iron Truth about Kettlebell Training.” SparkPeople, SparkPeople, 21 Oct. 2008, http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1222.
The Kettlebell

If Women Were As Strong As Men Would Human Civilization Be Different?

It has often been cited that men’s physical strength built civilization. Some scholars claim that this is the reason why women were at a disadvantage. Men who are on average stronger were able to impose patriarchy by physical force. These statements are incorrect . Women’s oppression has been related to the lack of financial independence, education, and access to employment. When human societies shifted from hunter-gather structures to permanent settlement and farming much of the inequality that is recognized today began to emerge. Women were through out history not allowed to own their property. Many times when marriage occurred women’s property went to her husband. Marriage when it became part of human civilization was nothing more than a property arrangement. Women were not considered humans or citizens , but property. Marriages were mostly arranged ones. Selecting a partner is a relatively new phenomenon. It is dubious that if women were just as physically strong as men discrimination or sexism would end. An oppressor only needs to have a system of organized violence and dominate institutions to maintain control. That does not provide a reason for why a majority of societies are male dominated.  The explanation is rooted in competitiveness, human evolution, and sociology. If women were as strong as men there would be some differences in human civilization. Certain occupations, relationships, and elements of society may change.

         Civilization can be defined as a state in human society in which there has been the establishment of culture, a governance system, and a complex social structure. Egyptian, Roman, and Greek civilization are examples of early complex orders. Civilization can be found anywhere humanity decides to live. Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania have long histories of human migration, settlement, and the establishment of civilization.  Normally,  settlements occur next to river systems. Water is not only a necessity for living it also holds importance as a commodity. There could be more civilizations that existed, but they have yet to be discovered. Archaeologists and historians  have a challenging  task to rediscover the past and provide a lucid interpretation of it.

It has only been recently in that academics have given consideration to women in history and the rise of civilization. It was not until the 20th century that women’s history was given serious investigation. Prior to this, women were not given any attention at all in the historical narrative. That did not mean women of prominence did not exist. Hatshepsut, Hypatia, Nzingha, and Queen Elizabeth are just some of the women who made large impacts on history. There could be more women who also contributed, bu they are either forgotten or records of them are lost. Cultures that recorded their history through oral traditions may have either disappeared or been wiped out. This same problem can happen with written documents either being lost or destroyed. The earliest known forms of writing may have emerged around 3400 B.C.E, but there could be the possibility other writing systems could have existed prior to this. There are so many possibilities, which makes it difficult to know exactly what the ancient past was like. It is even harder to figure out women’s stories in the span of human history. Anthropologists, historians, and paleoanthrologists are to extract information from artifacts and fossils. Human evolution, farming, and technology would alter the course of world history.

        Sexual dimorphism  is the phenotypic  and physiological evidence of human evolution. Sex differences are the products of millions of years of genetic and biological evolution history. The majority of primates have a level of sexual dimorphism, but in other species the female is larger. This has to do with reproductive strategy. Arachnids produce young in large numbers at once. Canines produce puppies in liters. The reason this is done is that it possible that most will die and having more would allow for a guarantee that at least some would continue to spread genes. Primates have more parental investment in their young, because they do not produce them in large amounts. It is rare for a woman to have quintuplets. The reason for producing one child at a time was more efficient for primates. This explains why women are on average smaller than men. There was no need to be large, because the only reason to be that way was to hold young during the gestation process. This is based on theory and natural history observation. Men’s greater size and strength was probably an adaptation to compete for females. This also relates to sex selection in evolutionary history. Sex selection is mate choice in the context of the process of natural selection. The males that were the healthiest or strongest would most likely attract more mates, because they have the potential to reproduce more off spring. This indicates the possibility that our ancient ancestors may have been functioning on a system of polygyny.

Sexual dimorphism is visible evidence of the human evolutionary past. 

The fascinating part of human evolution is that sexual dimorphism actually decreased among the hominids and australopithicines . Homo Habilis males were 60% larger and Homo egaster as well as erectus were 20 % larger. This could mean that there was a shift in evolutionary history from strict competition to group defense. Size may have no longer been a favored trait and began to diminish in importance. Human beings are genetically closer to chimps which have a 35% difference in male and female size. The modern day human has only an estimated 15% to 20% size difference between males and females.  The assumption from this point would be that sexual dimorphism would continue to decrease. However, this is speculation considering there has not been a concrete explanation why it decreased in different phases of human history. The conjecture is that when humanity switched to farming and permanent settlements this effected the human body. This may explain the changes in bone and muscle strength of human beings during the rise of civilization.

 Men and women can manipulate their bodies to high physical fitness levels. Yet, sexual dimorphism does not disappear with this change in body. 

The thesis that men just by being stronger gave them dominance does not seem to be as cogent an explanation. Strength differences are partly genetically determined and can be subject to modification based on environment. A woman who works out can be stronger than a man that does not. A strong woman does not seek to dominate weaker men. If all women were strong as men the structure of society and civilization may not radically change. This suggests that differences in positions in civilization  are based on a combination of behavior, discrimination, and the pyramid structure of society. Biology or evolution does not create inferiors. Women for a longtime have been cast as the biological inferior, which has been disproved by history and science. Biological sex difference and dimorphism do not explain patriarchy.

        There does exist societies in which women hold considerable power, but are not by definition matriarchies. Matriarchy has not existed in human civilization thus so far. If one did surely it would have been during the hunter gatherer stage or have continued in some form into the Paleolithic or Neolithic ages. There is a tendency to confuse matrilneal kinship with matriarchy. There are societies in which women do have relative freedom as well, even without the presence of feminism. The Mosuo people of Tibet are a society of “walking marriages.”  Women choose their husbands by walking to the house of the man. This society functions on extending family network. The largest households are headed by women. Marriage does not exist as an institution. Women and men live together while still functioning as a family unit. As demonstrated by the structure, it does not require women to be physically strong or use violence.

Other peoples such as Minanagkabau of Indonesia also demonstrate a system in which women are prominent members. Women have the power to remove chiefs if they believe he is not able to fulfill his duties. This tribe that lives in West Sumatra may hold a record to how sex relations worked prior to the rise of farming and agriculture. There are still roles men and women have in the context of their sex, but it does not mean women are without rights. This system is not exclusive to Asia, but can be found in various places around the world. Ghana and the African continent has a tradition of the matriclan.  The Akan peoples base their whole system around female inheritance line. The men still hold the leadership roles. This would not be a matriarchy in the sense that some perceive it. The Bribri of Costa Rica once more follow a similar organization pattern. Women can inherit land and it can be passed down through the female line. Women also hold an important responsibility in this society preparing cacao rituals.

The Garo however have minor differences in sex relationships. Marriages are arranged for the youngest daughters of the inheritance line. The process for the non-inhereiting daughters follows a procedure more complex. The bride to be’s family must hunt down the groom and capture him. This is repeated until the groom acquiesces or the bride capitulates. This Indian ethnic group that resides in the state of Meghalaya would not be by definition an example of gender equality. Marriage is not a binding contract in this society, therefore couples and end it without stigma or legal repercussions. The Nagovisi of New Guinea share the trait of marriage not being institutionalized. To a degree this trait among these tribes does give women a level of freedom.

These societies are not matriarchies, rather social systems based on the matriclan. The only matriarchies that exist are one in ancient myth. Amazons were thought to be a society run and dominated by women. The question remains why the women in these societies if they have favorable positions are not seeking to dominate? The answer is in the fact there is a difference in terms of male and female competition. Men may be genetically wired to be more competitive and aggressive. If women were as physically strong this would not change as long as behavior and its  biological roots were the same.

      Farming and permanent settlement was the most significant turning point in human history. This gave rise to civilization as it is known culturally, politically, and sociologically. This resulted in the inequality that we see today. Those who could produce surplus food or resources were at an advantage compared to people who lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Relevant to women, under hunter gatherer societies they enjoyed better conditions. As the historical passage of time continued, their status would fluctuate and the dramatically lower with the rise of monotheistic religion. Farming began around 8000 B.C.E resulting in a switch from hunting. Animals were domesticated with the most important animals such as oxen and horses used for traction around 3000 B.C.E. What started in the Fertile Crescent (Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt ) spread to Europe. Elsewhere farming and agriculture developed independently. The spread of farming caused a growth in population. This was the birth of civilization with the pyramid structure of social hierarchy. Chiefdoms would become cities. Mesopotamia saw the rise of some of the world’s first cities. Between 4500 to 2000 B.C.E the world witness the beginning of civilization. Women lost status in this transition to civilization. The theory that men were advantaged because more physical strength allowed them to monopolize manual labor, which gave them more control over food supply and therefore more authority. The problem with this is that technology negates the need for muscle power. As time progressed the Industrial Revolution occurred and machine power was outpacing human power. At this point it seems that physical strength was not as essential, when civilization became more technologically based.

      There are some professions in which women at at a disadvantage. The physically demanding occupations such as law enforcement, firefighting, military, construction  and sports have fewer women. The reason is not just sociological, but biological. Women have less muscular strength than men and have higher attrition rates the more intense the physical activity gets. This means only a few women would have a presence in these fields. Proper exercise and training can help women perform better. However, the numbers will not be equivalent. If women were as strong as men there would be higher numbers in these fields assuming laws against discrimination were enforced. It should be understood that more women in particular professions does not equal a peaceful society. More women in the military or police would not lead to calm. The reality is states around the world are held together by violence or threat of violence directed at its citizens. Laws are more about control, rather than protection. Gender stereotypes, such as women being more peaceful have some believe erroneously that wars would stop if more women were in power. There are women who have advanced the cause of aggressive warfare. Condolezza Rice was an advocate fro the attack on Iraq and Hillary Clinton convinced the Obama administration to intervene in Libya. Ethnic, religious, and national hatreds are too powerful, so women being in power would not change anything. The numbers relative to physically demanding occupations would change, however if the power structure remains the same there would be little difference. The most radical change would mean that sports would be co-ed. If there was little difference in strength and speed there would be no reason to have separate divisions. This does not mean automatically women’s sports would become more popular, because there would probably remain the discriminatory obstacles based on sex.

           It seems that male dominance is not based on physical strength, rather around differences in competition and aggression. These traits were part of the evolutionary past and continue to have influence on behavior of humankind. Men tend to have more aggression and are more willing to use physical violence. This is not completely biologically based; boys in various cultures are taught to be more aggressive. This does not mean women are not capable of violence or fighting. They show aggression in a different manner that is verbal according to anthropologist Helen Fisher. The male response is a physical one. This difference in aggression and competitiveness explains why there are more men in the military, politics, and business. To an extent, these profession to require a level of cooperation. At their core it is about being as aggressive as possible to reach the apex of power. Women must maneuver in a system that is against them and sometimes the reach this level of power. Others may be stopped.

Ellen Sirleaf President of Liberia and Sheik Hasina  Prime Minister of Bangladesh are political survivors specifically because they are competitive in their government structures. Countries in which female leaders try to balance certain systems either find themselves deposed or victim to the corrupt political structure. Dilma Rousseff  former president of Brazil was impeached by a corrupt judiciary system. Yinluck Shiawatra the former Prime Minister of Thailand was removed by a coup disguised as a Constitutional Court decision .   Women who are in power have to be more cunning and aggressive to maintain it. Politics, commerce, business,  and finance  are a few areas in which societal power rests. Women lag behind in terms of reaching a glass ceiling. Even with reforms and anti-discrimination laws there remains a persistent problem. The difference in male and female competitiveness and aggression hinders the women’s advancement. It would take many years to change particular behaviors. One step would require parents to encourage their girls to be more competitive and go into fields that are male dominated. This may change this gender based disparity that is seen in modern civilization. I may not negate it completely, millions of years of the evolution of behavior cannot be overturned instantly.

          If women were as strong as men, this would effect relationships between the sexes. Men with more insecurities would have trouble adjusting or men who believe in strict gender roles. There is already a reaction to women becoming more financially independent or being a bigger presence in the workforce. Sexual harassment and misconduct in business, media,  and the entertainment industry   demonstrate that men still want to keep women out of particular areas. Women’s rise has often been met with violence is societies that want their submission. Domestic violence may not even disappear. Although men represent a higher number of perpetrators, women make up a smaller percentage. It is not clear if this would increase or decrease with women having more strength. Traditionally, men attracted female attention through status. When arranged marriage decline in the world, men and women began to select their own partners. The men with the most money or resources had an easier time getting companionship. The shift now is that women can acquire high status without male assistance, which has changed the gender dynamic. Men with less resources will struggle more to find long lasting relationships. This explain why it would be rare to see a female CEO dating a janitor. The practice of endogamy  applies to class, ethnic group, and religion. Men would have to either compete more to establish  meaningful relationship. While there would be a change in amorous relationships men’s behavior might change in how they treat women. Some men think they can bully or direct violence at women just on the fact they are stronger. This would change, because women would no longer be considered easy targets. Like any oppressed group women  revolted against mistreatment and feminism radically changed women’s status in society.

        The biggest change to women being as strong as men would be that the dynamic of protectionism of women and male disposability . These two concepts are reliant on one another and to some extent harm attempts at establishing gender equality. The idea that women must be shielded from life’s hardships was designed to restrict their freedom.Women were in this perspective too weak and helpless to survive on their own. Male disposablility was the idea that men should be glad to sacrifice themselves no matter how deleterious for the sake of community. This was basically an argument used in times of war. Men should in that view be happy to go off in die in a cause that they might not have investment in or could benefit from. The idea that men are naturally tougher comes from the notion they are physically better suited for hardship.Survival depends on many factors and strength is not the only one. If men and women were of the same strength capacity these two practices would end. The concept that women need male protection is based out of  dated chivalry. If women were seen as capable then the whole dynamic would be altered. Women would in this regard become disposable and would most likely end up being drafted or doing things that were once thought to be improper for them. Tasks that require strength or physical skill were thought to be improper for women to do. Even though women have proven themselves capable, there are still objections.

         Civilization has been a speeding train of change and development. Technology has drastically changed our culture and society. From the first primates to leave Africa to the modern cities of the contemporary era humankind has come a long way. The hunter gatherer stage of human civilization was the probably the closest point in which society was completely equal. Yet, this could even be brought into question. Hierarchy exists even when a modern form of government is not present. It seems that human behavior is not wired for equality, rather competition. Behavior and social structures are important indicators of how a civilization functions. This explains that why women if they were strong as or stronger than men would probably not be in a better condition. Competitiveness and aggressiveness has driven history. This came at a cost. It resulted in imperialism, constant warfare, and many egregious injustices. This has created much anxiety about whether humanity can survive. There may be small chances of hope that this can be reversed. Currently, it seems there is a rise for some women to power whether it is political, social, mental, or physical. These scenarios are only speculation and the future still remains a mystery.

References

Harari, Yuval. Sapiens A Brief History . New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 2011.

Ehrlich, Paul. Human Natures  Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect . Washington DC:                         Island Press, 2000.

Woolf, Alex. A History of the World the Story of Mankind From Prehistory to the Modern           Day.  London : Artucus, 2013.      

Garrison , Laura. “6 Modern Societies Where Women Rule.” Mental Floss, Mental Floss , 3 Mar. 2017, mentalfloss.com/article/31274/6-modern-societies-where-women-literally-rule.

If Women Were As Strong As Men Would Human Civilization Be Different?

Hidden Obsessions & Female Muscle

Hidden Obsession

There may be more admirers of the muscular and athletic physique than previously thought. These fans and supporters do not openly admit there appreciation. They tend to remain anonymous going on to forums, websites, and social media. There is a new culture that has emerged from the internet. This article from femalemuscle.com  describes the lurker. This type of internet user goes online specifically to search or collect materials that are related to an interest they do not want anyone to know they support. Lori Braun wrote this article to explain this phenomenon. It has been suggested that lurkers make up to 90% of internet groups( Nonnecke & Preece 2000). It actually could be more, because this survey may only be a small sample of  a population. The internet is infinite and global. One subject that is still taboo is that of the muscular woman. The image invokes feelings of either objection, support, or lust. There is no reason why the muscular woman should be seen as abnormal or taboo. It does reveal the misogynist  and conformist nature of society. It is one that is exclusionary and hates anything that is different. Such animosity that women face reveals how rigid beauty standards encourage sexist prejudice. Simultaneously, it forces men to either conform to a conviction or system that they may not agree with. The fear of fetish seems to be one stigma, but this may not be so bizarre itself. Lurkers and portions of female muscle fans hide their love of the strong woman physique due to pressure, conformity, and the fear of sexual expression.

           Images that are absorbed through media and culture do impact our believe system. These value that are transmitted or memes spread. Beauty concepts are no different. Thinness has been valued as the ideal for women’s bodies. The thin body image is constantly presented as ideal and normal, even when in reality women vary in body type. When women do not conform to this standard, they face pressure from the community or wider society. The muscular woman challenges notions about the capability of women’s bodies and what they can achieve. These women face pressure to look a certain way that is valued by the society. The pressure also works in another way in regards to male supporters. Men who are more vocal about their love of muscular women face the same ostracism. Criticism can come from friends or family. Athletes face the same type of treatment. Many ask ” why would a woman do this to herself ?” or “what type of man would be with a woman like that ?” Such rude question demonstrate that the community or group is attempting to pressure men and women to behave and act in a certain way. The pressure is designed to have men in this case like the same ideal.

A man who says he likes muscular faces harsh criticism form the majority. There is also the pressure to have a support stop liking what they have a genuine interest in. The pressure to like one type or version ob beauty is pervasive. Some refuse to acknowledge that there are multiple aesthetics. The secret admirers of female muscle are pressured to not like it by either being insulted or shunned. Pressure is powerful in groups. This is a reason men hide their love of female muscle. Female muscle fans do not present the muscular woman as the sole version of beauty. They like other types of women, not just strong ones. The common misconception is that men prefer one type of beauty.This is one explanation why the internet provides a relatively private space to enjoy something taboo.

The female muscle fan would probably find many types of women attractive.  

Peer pressure does not only effect adolescents, but it carries over into adulthood. This unfortunately forces people to behave in ways they may not like or do certain actions they do not want to gain approval in a community.   Men hiding their love of female muscle is a means of avoiding backlash.

      Conformity has in general made the majority of female muscle fans silent supporters. Female muscle and more specifically, female bodybuilding is not a mainstream sport or activity.  A subculture can either generate fear or confusion among the mainstream, which promotes conformity in a dominant culture. Those who do not conform are either outcasts or regulated to that of the bizarre. The fans are also put into this category. Such attitudes even reveal particular biases. The attacks on female muscle fans either are directed at their sexuality . Men are accused of being gay when, they are merely just attracted to women who are strong. This is a projection of homophobia, because the accusation is used as an insult. There is nothing wrong with having a different sexual orientation, however it is used to insult heterosexuals also exposing  sexism. Those who project such  vituperation  are also saying that a physically strong woman is not feminine. This is false, but they still function on the idea that men are strong and women are weak. When this is proved incorrect negative reactions occur. The fan of female muscle may not want to deal with such vituperation and ignorance generated by the closed minded.

There has been a shift some what to accepting larger women. There are plus sized models and women who refer to themselves as curvy. Some call this an outgrowth of fat acceptance. Whatever the case, this does show that the level of body conformity has been weakened. Supporters of this movement do not embrace women of physical fitness. The opposite of this is the strong is the new skinny zeitgeist. So there are some supporters that are not completely in a lurker stage. Women with some muscle are getting exposure and sometimes lauded. Fitness modeling, crossfit, and a generation of much stronger female athlete are responsible for the sudden change. To an extent the female athletic figure has gained some mainstream exposure.

There are some who say they like the look of the athletic woman’s body, yet they have a limit. As long as they do not “cross the line” coded language for getting too big it is accepted by some. Although there is preference and different tastes, there is no reason a woman should limit herself or potential. While large muscles on the female frame may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is their choice. They are not doing this to please people; it is done for themselves. There is no such thing as too much or too big. Oddly, even the hyper muscular woman can be rejected in the sports world. They were the first to show that it was okay for a woman to be physically powerful. That simple act changed the way women thought about themselves in sports and fitness.

It also changed some men’s perceptions about women to a degree. The physically powerful woman is not a threat or grotesque. To the female muscle fan she is another model of beauty. Conformity and the demands of it make fans of female muscle rare reveal their strong approval. Some will even deny it when asked. The internet also becomes a safe space were the female muscle fan can enjoy their interest without questioning or judgement.

       It is no surprise that fascination with such women is more than just their athletic feats and records. There is obviously a level of attraction for the muscular woman. This goes beyond just look at pictures. There are men who pay to see women flex and even test their immense strength against them. Schmoes are a part of the female bodybuilding culture and they are not open about their participation of sessions. Some feel embarrassed by their love of muscular women. This extreme female muscle fan is either viewed as a pervert, sexual deviant, or predator. The truth is these are men of various ethnic, class, and religious backgrounds who engage in sessions. There could be a possibility that if society was more accepting men would not have to go to sessions in secret. Many men who do engage in sessions do not talk about it to their friends or family. There are men who are even married who participate in sessions. Having a fetish is not strange, because it is a part of human sexual expression.

There are fetishes related to strong and muscular women. Sthenolagnia and cratolagnia are common among female muscle fans. However, that does not automatically mean that every single female muscle fan has this fetish. They may simply like the look, but not be active in sessions. There may be fans who have a desire to do sessions, yet erroneously associate it with prostitution. There is another smaller element of that that has developed in the bodybuilding subculture. This is a recent phenomenon, compared to the longer existence of sessions and mixed wrestling.

Some athletes go to extremes to finance their sport endeavors. It seems tragic that some athletes are forced to do this when they are participants in a lucrative fitness industry. These elements make some female muscle fans more reluctant to be vocal about their support.  It should be understood that sessions are not prostitution. Arm wrestling, mixed wrestling, muscle worship, lift and carry are normally part of sessions. The intent is not copulation( this does not mean it does not occur) . This association between sessions and prostitution although two different practices is another reason there are men who hide their fetish. The problem is that society has an issue with human sexuality and nature. It either attempts to suppress it too much or be extremely puritanical. There is not a healthy balance and it causes people to behave in unusual ways. Being secretive about the love of female muscle seem unnecessary.

        The internet has allowed female athletes to gain more exposure, when television has failed to do so. Yet there is a negative consequence. Online abuse and cyberbullying seem to be a common problem the muscular woman or female athlete faces. Rude comments and insults appear on social media or comment sections of various websites. These range from sexist, racist, or homophobic attacks. They even are transphobic with comments stating ‘these women look like men”  or ” that is a tranny.” Cyberbullies and what are colloquially referred to as trolls have a platform to spew their hatreds and prejudices without any repercussion. Suzanne Germano for example said she once read a comment about herself  that read as follows ” sleeping with her would be like sleeping with a man.”

 While this comment demonstrates an intense ignorance and lack of intelligence it also shows how prevalent sexist attitudes are. The author of the online abuse comment shows that they only value women for their appearance and or for sex. There is also another phenomenon that has emerged from the internet. Those people who deliberately attack women such as these to hide their own love of them. Doing this just reveals they cannot accept the fact they like them. Some people are more susceptible to peer pressure and this lack of constitution projects itself in that manner. There are those who are vocal about their opposition, but are not exactly trying to do online abuse. They may say “this is weird ” or “women should not be allowed to do this .” They justify their objections and judgments by saying they are merely expressing their opinions. True, you so have the right to free expression, but that does not give you the right to be rude. Then from a point of logic why post comments on videos or sites in which you do not care for or like ? This is obviously an attempt at attention. Being anonymous online emboldens people who want to act in unacceptable ways, but are stopped in a real life social setting. There is a positive note. For all the cyberbullies, there may be even more supporters.

       There is a way that the stigma of female muscle can be overcome. One solution is exposure. The internet has helped in the sense that more people and see that they do exist. This helps normalize the idea and people will not be so shocked when they see them. The public must get used to the idea women can look different from what they have seen in media and other materials. The most important change that needs to happen is that fans of female muscle must be more supportive and not keep their love a secret. Become members of the athlete’s websites and social media. Defend your support when some one questions or criticizes you about it. That change can help break some of the cycle. Do not be afraid to say what you like. People must learn to accept that women and be different and multifaceted. There are women heads of state, CEOs,  and women in STEM related fields. These were thought to be male only sectors, but that has changed. So if women can have political and economic power, there is no reason why physical power cannot be a part of that. It is possible with time, the muscular female may get a level of acceptance. Cultural beliefs and perceptions about women will have to change.

Hidden Obsessions & Female Muscle

Neolithic Women Were Probably Stronger Than You

Popular Science

There seems to have been discovered a breakthrough in paeloanthropology. Rarely have women been studied from the Neolithic period, but this has now changed. When researchers from the University of Cambridge compared the bones of women living during  the first  5,500 years of farming they were stronger compared to modern day female athletes. This discovery changes what we know about female physical capabilities. It also reveals much about how environment can influence biology. These fossils from Central Europe are a fascinating look into the ancient past and the rise of civilization. This also has implication on human health. The modern day rower or soccer player if they had to compete with Neolithic women may have found themselves out matched. Although there is no preservation of muscle tissue, a large skeletal structure indicates that these women did no manual labor. Framing during the Neolithic Age required more manual labor. There was not the benefit of modern technologies such as tractors, plows, or cultivation based machines. This study will not only tell us more about the evolution of the female body, but also generate more interest in the study of  paleontology and anthropology.

            The study published in the journal of Advanced Sciences  compared the athletes and average non-athletes bone density to that of the Neolithic women.  These women living 7000 years ago clearly had impressive upper body strength. The study used rowers that do use much upper body strength and also did use soccer players to examine the lower body. Runners were also included.  However, it is curious to know if weightlifters would come closer to Neolithic strength. The study did not use this type of athlete, which may not compete the whole story of the physicality of Neolithic women.

The powerfully built arms of these women may have developed from repetitive motion in farming. Grinding grain was more laborious before the rise of the treadmill. This study was the first of its kind, because most research focused on the fossils of early man. This may alter the way in which the rise of civilization is described. It was often believed that men were the makers and movers of civilization, due to their greater strength which they used to maintain dominance. This is hypothesis is not correct due to the fact we clearly see that women were capable of manual labor and that dominance in society is not related to physical strength. The roots of inequality are based on the rise of property and the surplus it created. Hunter gatherers would be at a disadvantage compared to those with a permanent settlement.

Allison Mactintosh does reveal that just examining the bone is not a precise measure of strength. She is the author of the study, which and based on her background in archaeology she explains that there is a biological basis. Bone as known by anatomists is living tissue and supports the muscle that encases it. Physical activity and the type of workload done can alter the shape, thickness, and total density of the musculoskeletal system. This is not the same for men and women based on difference in the endocrine system. Testosterone allows for more bone density and differences in bone surfaces structure. The changes in male skeletons is more dramatic due to the influence of hormones. Testosterone causes bone to grow on the outer surface, while estrogen causes growth on the inner contour. Inner core density does not contribute much to musculoskeletal enforcement. What this means is that Neolithic women were probably not stronger than Neolithic  men. It seems sexual dimorphism was still acting on evolutionary history, but with minor adjustments.

There is not a linear relationship between workload  and bone damage as the study demonstrated, but there are problems when comparing bones. Comparing Neolithic women’s bones to a modern day male skeleton would not tell much about women’s strength or fitness capacities at the time. It would be interesting to see how different the results would be. It is described as comparing apples to oranges , however there could have been a level of variation among Neolithic women. There exists variation in individuals and this could have held true for the past. A possible conjecture is that the Neolithic woman would be stronger than the average modern man, but may not exceed the physical capacities of the highest performing  elite male athlete. To get a full assessment one would have to compare Neolithic men and women’s bones as well as modern day humans. The results were fascinating. Women living 7,400 to 7,000 years ago had arm bones 16% stronger than rowers. Women of the Bronze Age ( dated 4,300 to 4,500 years ago)  had only 10% more arm strength and 12% weaker in the legs. The Neolithic women would have been 30% stronger than your sedentary Cambridge student. There was a variety in terms of the tibial bone. Some of the Neolithic skeleton’s resembled that of modern day sedentary women.  This data shows that women did lose strength with the passage of time. This can be explained by technology, cultural shifts, and change in societal structure.

             The Neolithic Age was different from the high tech society of the 21st century. Women during this age had to grind grain by hand by means of pounding two stones together. This had to be done with a saddle quern. This process can take hours a day.

There still remain places in the world in which women do this, but in the Neolithic it was much more physically demanding. This was not the only activity that contributed to Neolithic woman’s physical strength. Women were known to milk cows, get water, and made hides and wool into clothing. These were not simple chores. Before the washing machine, dishwasher, or household appliances chores were vigorous workouts. This means women were doing more than just childcare. It was assumed that most of what women did during this period was either being pregnant or watching children. There duties extended beyond that as this new information reveals. Misleading conclusions were based on biases based on sexist prejudice. It would only make sense that women who have to have some strength too meant the demands of an environment that was rugged. The Neolithic Age or the new Stone Age saw the rise agriculture. Human societies went from hunters to food producers and this revolution happened in the Near East. Framing and animal domestication would become the foundation of emerging civilizations. It is believed that society at this point functioned through elementary families, extended families, and a much larger clan. Clans would then form a bigger tribe. Clans were identified by a totem, an animal or object that was revered. The Neolithic revolution spread to Egypt (4000 B.C.E), the Balkans ( 5000 B.C.E),  India ( 3000 B.C.E), Central Europe ( 4000 B.C.E) , and Britain (3000 B.C.E). African, Asian, and Mesoamerican civilization developed Neolithic culture independently. There is the possibility that labor divided by sex was not as rigid as thought. Evidence suggests that women were involved in the construction of dwellings and making tools even during the Paleolithic stage. The idea of “women’s work” and “men’s work” does not exist. Roles between men and women vary overtime and culture. Women doing physical tasks at this period was not seen as something gender inappropriate. There is a mystery on just how it was decided which sex would be assigned to a particular task.

 Neolithic society was very religious and based around animistic beliefs. What is known about Stone Age culture is based off the artifacts uncovered from Catal Huyuk (6500 to 5400 B.C.E)  in southern Turkey. This preserved village contains pottery, woven textiles, mud-brick houses, and plastered walls with murals as well as carved reliefs. Prehistoric art in caves and elsewhere gives archaeologists a record of the past. It can even be argued that Neolithic humankind  were the first historians. There remains speculation about the type of governance and social system that was used in the Neolithic. Some scholars believed that these societies were ruled by a council of elders. This did not mean women did not have any status. Catal Huyuk reveals that Neolithic societies did believe in a mother goddess. Uncovering more female fossils will add to the growing knowledge of women’s history.

        The condition of human health changed with the rise of farming and the end of hunter gatherer networks. The bone structure began to change. The bones became less rigid and straighter in comparison. This was confirmed in the study by means of  a computerized tomography scanner and 3D   laser imaging system. The arm bones and shin bones were scanned giving visuals of this gradual change in body. Looking at the twists and shape of the bone revealed how the muscle was placed on the body. There was more variation in strength among early prehistoric women compared to the modern day.  It is hypothesized that men split their time between hunting and farming.  Hunting required at least some running, which may explain why their was a change in men’s shin bones, while women’s did not change much. Evolutionary anatomy is now telling scientists much about the shift in health. Our bodies were designed for physical activity, which explains if we do not get enough our health suffers. The modern day health challenge comes from heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This provides clarification for why more women as they age are vulnerable to osteoporosis. The musculoskeletal system needs exercise.

Women of this type of physicality are rare in modern society. However, there was probably more variation in the prehistoric past .

There also has to be consideration of nutritional changes throughout history. Alice Macintosh notes that eating less meat and replacing it with more grains and vegetables would have an effect on the body. Protein is essential for muscular hypertrophy. An active to sedentary system may have caused women’s bones to weaken overtime. Men were also effected by this change, but seeing as they had more bone and muscle mass it may not have been as dramatic. Another health consideration for Neolithic women was pregnancy and childbirth. Women were vulnerable to complications in the past due to child birth.

Changes in health and physical fitness can happen either rapidly or in this context millions and thousands of years. There are some indicators of health that modern humans out rank the Neolithic peoples on (Life expectancy was estimated to be at least 25-40 years in the prehistoric era ) . Life expectancy has increased. This will be trend that will continue globally, unless other factors do not stop it. Warfare and inadequate healthcare systems can dramatically reduce life expectancy. Access to clean drinking water and medical care are factors. There is a trade off with living longer, Age related illnesses such as dementia or  diseases related to the circulatory system become more common. Women on average live longer, so this has major implications for their health. The advancement of biomedical science has improved the quality of life for many. It must be remembered that it has roots in the ancient past. Before medicine became came the science that its is today there were the herbalist of the prehistoric times. Medicine could be as old as humankind itself. Medicine has its origins 50,000 years ago, when people began experiment with various plant life. The fossilized teeth of Neanderthals contains traces of herbs chomomile and yarrow. The conjecture is that these were some of the first medicines to treat various aliments. One can deduce the fact that humans are still vulnerable to disease and various aliments is that the human body was not evolved to be healthy. The sole function was to spread genes and reproduce offspring to have those genes propagate further in a biome. Environment, genetics, and technology can influence the condition of human health. Framing may not have improved the quality of human health as previously thought.

          Further research could put an end to the idea that certain jobs men are just biologically better designed for. One of the arguments of keeping women out of particular occupations is that they are too physically weak for ones that require strength. As the prehistoric past is being uncovered it is now understood that women were not living entirely docile lives. Ridged gender roles and strict divisions of labor were products of early civilization and ancient empires. Societies became more divided along pyramid hierarchy structures with the leadership and upper class at the top of the order. Women were excluded from the public sphere depending which civilization they lived in. Women who lived in Egyptian civilization had more rights relative to women in Greek civilization. Status varied,but got worse with the rise of monotheistic religion. The former mother goddesses were discarded in favor of one male God. This placed them in a subordinate role, which would later be overturned. Women had to struggle to equal access to education, employment, and basic rights. When women started to enter occupations that were mostly male dominated, pseudoscientific rhetoric was used as a justification for excluding them. While women have proven themselves in the military, law enforcement. firefighting, and construction misogyny still remains. women as we have seen in the past did not shun manual labor. They were deliberately excluded from it because some men did not want to compete with more people for jobs.The argument was that women were taking away jobs that men needed. The problem is not that there are more women or people entering the workforce. The issue is that capitalism and the economic structure it created is naturally unstable. What started with farming in prehistoric times lead to property, then a barter system, and from there actual currency. Resources will always flow more to the ruling class, while the majority get the least amount. The division of labor is not biologically based; it is a display of a male dominated structure that was born out of the industrial revolution. Women were thus regulated to a domestic sphere unable to take part in public affairs of the industrialized nations. Women’s subordination or physical weakness is not their natural state. This came about through cultural and sociological shifts in various societies. Women had various roles in history. It is just up until now it was not given much academic investigation. Women of the prehistoric world are a new mystery. They could have been laborers working for other tribes or fulfilling more duties or responsibilities of the wider community. Just like today women are active in numerous occupations, but if civilization were to collapse it would be difficult to know what they did. The artifacts uncovered only tell part of much expansive stories. Archaeologists, paleo anthropologists, evolutionary anatomists and historians are now embarking on a journey to understand woman’s prehistoric past.

Neolithic Women Were Probably Stronger Than You

Study: Women Trained In Self-Defense Far Less Likely To Be Sexually Assaulted

Self Defense

Originally published in 2015 a study was conducted in Canada seeing if self-defense was an effective method at prevention of sexual assault. The study focused on university students who underwent 12 hours of self-defense training  courses. The women who underwent training were less likely to victims of attempted sexual assault or attacks in general. The study reached conclusions that were made by the self-defense instruction company Model Mugging. They surveyed 60,000 students it was revealed that 98.3 % were able to avoid assaults, while 97% were able to fight off their attacker. There was also a portion of 80% who did not have to sue physical force to stop an assailant. While these statistics are positive, there is a problem. Sexual assault is an under reported crime, so the numbers of women who are victim to it could be much higher. There are issues surrounding self-defense and effectiveness. It cannot be denied that self-defense  essential to women’s health and well being.

        The common misconception is that self-defense does not work. This falsehood has been born out of the idea that women are victims. It also stems from the conviction that women are too physically weak to defend themselves. The frailty myth has created a dangerous situation. It should be understood that men are not impervious to women’s kicks, punches, or skilled movements. Criminals and assailants normally select victims that they think are easy targets. The average man is stronger than average woman, but the equalizer can be made with learning martial arts. Judo, karate, and taekwondo are just a few forms of martial arts that can aid in women’s self-defense. Simply being strong does not guarantee preventing or stopping attack. If a person does not have fighting skill or technique they will not be as effective at protecting them self.

Learning self-defense is the key. Also preventative measures are also important. Being aware of your surroundings and the people next to you in an environment is pivotal in personal protection.  There are practical considerations in terms of effectiveness. The body has vulnerable spots of attack. The  head, abdomen, and groin are major striking points that can inflict much pain. It should be realized that one strike does not debilitate an attacker automatically. Many strikes and hits may have to be used. The point is not to beat the attacker like it is a match. If there is a possible route of escape, that should be the first option.

The article describes the myth of the “juggernaut foe.” This is the attacker that will not get harmed when punched or bruised. The fact is these attackers are not henchmen on a television program or film. Possible assailants could be people you work with or live next to. They could vary in size and strength levels. They reality is a large portion of rapes are done by a man the woman knows. Date rape and acquaintance rape are prevalent in society. May be it is not so much women are incapable of defending themselves, but the shock of knowing someone they thought was an ally is really a predator. This is exactly why the notion women need a male protector needs to be overturned. It is more likely that women will experience violence from an intimate partner. Domestic abuse rates are higher for women compared to men. Globally, women’s physical security is under threat. The situation is better in the West mainly because of the influence of the second  feminist movement in the 1970s and changes in the laws.

Map3.1NEW_Womens_Physical_Security_2011_compressed      There is exists no place in which women are completely secure. The reason for this is either due to warfare and traditional societies that do not regard women as people.  Women may not be given equal protection under the law. If women globally lack physical security it only makes rational sense to have self-defense skills. Women can fight back if taught properly. This requires learning how to use the body effectively and unlearned certain aspects of social conditioning. Women are taught that they cannot excel at anything that requires strength or physical skill. Then it requires women not being as fearful. To a degree women are taught to fear and obey men. This must be challenged. Women must learn physical skills to be effective. Physical education for girls may be more important than just maintaining health.

Learning to protect yourself is essential, especially in a world with the problem of prevalent sexual harassment and misconduct. All the female boxers, MMA fighters, wrestlers, weightlifters, and bodybuilders have shown women are capable of creating powerful bodies. Self-defense does work, but some styles of martial arts are probably more effective. The study did not specifically say which fighting style was used, so there is no answer to this question.

     Strangely enough, there have been objections to women’s self-defense from a group that one would think would be advocates. Victim feminists are critical of women’s self-defense, because they think it promotes an atmosphere of rape culture. Nia Sanchez who in 2014 stated that women needed self-defense to prevent sexual assault was attacked by victim feminists. The Miss USA contestant and martial artist was actually making a logical argument. There is no element in victim blaming when who empower themselves physically. This does not excuse a culture in which sex crimes are so prevalent. Prisons, college campuses, and the US military have a problem with rape. However, victim feminists never discuss these cases of sex crimes .  This is why the #me too movement will most likely not be effective. It only focuses on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace or positions of power, rather than all spheres of society. The other problem it presents women as constant victims that must be babied and protected. Wallowing in victimhood   is not progressive or empowering. A manufactured dissent movement from social media will not solve the problem of sex crimes .  This also leads to the issue with the concept of rape culture. It believes that boys are taught to rape and this creates rapists. It does expose that there is a culture of misogyny in various communities that do not value women as people. However, no one is teaching boys to rape. The rape culture concept presents all  men as rapists or potential rapists.   The idea of teaching a rapist  not to rape seems as ludicrous as teaching a Ku Klux Klansman not to be racist. The solution to this would be to teach boys that girls are your equals and not sex objects.

rapeculture
Rape culture may not be as descriptive. This is misogynistic oppression ,because it is designed to control women in some way.   This by definition would not be considered a culture.
rape-culture-4.png
Misogynistic oppression harms society in many ways. The rape culture theory does not understand that all men get demonized. This revised chart of rape culture explains  it has a cycle, but fails to see how victim feminism acts a contributor.

Culture by definition can be defined as ” the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization” or “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” The behaviors that are defined in rape culture are aberrations and crimes. These behaviors are anti-social and unacceptable to polite society. This explains why it is hidden from public view and why individuals of power can get away with sexual misconduct. Donald Trump and Ray Moore were able to commit sex crimes without punishment , because they were men of power. These individuals should be caught can punished to the full extent of the law. The problem is that sex crimes are not taken as seriously in the US criminal justice system. There needs to be a change in the attitude of law enforcement. They are guilty in terms of the institution that does most of the victim blaming. That culture of siding with the criminal, rather than being an advocate for the victim has to change. Victim feminists are not helping women by presenting them as helpless and need of protection. The #me too movement could fall to this or be co-opted by other groups with an ulterior motive.

The best method is to be proactive and to also utilize other techniques to overturn the system. Women have to break themselves away from a state of learned weakness. This will also have to be challenged also in the media. Women are too often presented as victims or subject to gender stereotyping . Time Magazine or the New York Magazine have presented the helpless victim image on their covers. Media attention does help a cause, but it must be managed in a method that can convert the public to a particular cause. When victim feminists do not support self-defense for women, they are really being anti-woman.

         There is another equally ridiculous argument against women’s self-defense that goes to another spectrum. It has to do with women gaining false confidence and becoming drunk on power. There is a notion that women who get power in any sense will become abusive and men will be their targets. They will go out and pick fights with men or end up harming themselves. This does not happen, if it does it is rare. Some individuals are more violent than others, but learning self-defense has never caused a person to go out and randomly assault people.

The point of self-defense is to protect one’s self not to  be aggressive to other people. Their is subtle misogyny in this position. Women who show too much strength are considered dangerous, erratic,  or out of control.  Women showing competence or skill can intimidate some men who believe that women should hold a secondary position in the societal order. Women showing power especially physical power, induces some trepidation in some men. The fear is projected in the myth that if women can defend themselves men will be harmed in the the process. So far, such comedic irrational  fears have not materialized. The only reason such people would object to women defending themselves is that is another way for women not to be controlled. Simultaneously, it is a way for some men to maintain rigid gender roles.

The problem come with that fact that for so long masculine identity has been associated with strength and machismo. Fighting or dominating women has unfortunately been a part of that. This explains why their is such a negative reaction to women who have physical skill and power. It is a new age in which women all around the world are rising economically, socially,  and politically. This has caused men to either fell threatened by the change or react with violence. Physical strength some feel is the last thing men have left in a world of  rising women. This is not the case either, considering women are also becoming involved in sports, fitness, and physical activity. This change should not be seen as an attack on men, rather society becoming more equal between the sexes.

The problem was that there was not a men’s liberation to accompany the women’s liberation. As a result, boys get mixed messages about what it means to be a man and how men should treat women.  Society seems to tier between the dated machismo of the past and the equality values of the present. There is also a wider battle between extreme social justice warrior and extreme alternative far-right conservative that prevents rational discussion. Although controversial, the false confidence does have some truth. Some women may do things they could endanger themselves. Walking alone at night in a dangerous neighborhood, hitch hiking, going to a home of a stranger, or drinking too much at a party could be taking unnecessary risks. Decision making is critical to personal protection.  While there are victim feminists, there are also power feminists who are extreme in the opposite direction. They do not believe in equality, rather that women should just amass as much power as possible. It functions on gender antagonism rather than harmony between the sexes. Relevant to self-defense it may given women an overestimation of their physical abilities. To them women hitting a man is not a problem, but if a man does this it is a tragedy. Violence is never justified or acceptable, but women who are engaged in assaults are not seen as something serious. There does exist women who do engage  in criminal acts of rape, domestic violence,  and sexual assault. This is not a concern to the power feminist. There are women who even assault men with the expectation there will be no retaliation or condemnation. Violence is horrendous no matter  who does it. Women should realize when you lay your hands on someone that escalates conflict to another level. It should be clear that starting a fight with someone stronger than you would not be wise.

Nia Sanchez who has a black belt would know better than to pick a fight with with Theresa Bostick. There is a difference in fighting skill, but the difference in strength is far greater. 

Women attacking men is not something that should be promoted. Power feminists subtlety encourage this to a degree. The desire for power feminists to compete with men on all levels has created a toxic atmosphere. The one area that they have met a road block is the physical one. Due to physiological, biological, and anatomical differences women are not have the same physical fitness capacity as men. This does not mean women are not physically capable of inflicting harm. This is why male victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault are not taken seriously, because it is thought men are suppose to be strong enough to protect themselves. Gender stereotypes work in both ways and distort reality. It assumed that women naturally would be the victim and men the predators. This is not always the case. Women can be the perpetrators and men can be the victims. The majority of statistics show that it is men who inflict the violence, but women make up a small portion of initiators. The myth is that one needs to be physically strong to be abusive. That is not always the case. A woman could resist abuse, but refuses to do so because they still have a dependence or love of their partner. Abuse even occurs among same-sex couples, which is rarely studied. This problem is more complicated than previously thought.

Which of these women do you think committed an act of domestic violence? If you answered all three of the strongest ones you are wrong. Hope Solo was charged with domestic abuse (bottom right corner)  when she allegedly beat up her nephew and half sister. 

The domestic abuser is not some man in a wife beater shirt or a hulking brute. They can be male or female and come from various class and ethnic backgrounds. The distorted logic of the power feminist is that women should be as hostile to men in every since of the word. To them it would be better to be offensive rather than defensive. This is somewhat understandable if crime statistics show how prevalent rape and sexual misconduct are. The problem is every man is not the enemy. There are men who are just as vexed about sexual assault and the abuse of women. Nothing will be accomplished if men and women are against one another. This could morph into something much more sinister. The US has in particular a culture of violence and self-defense has found itself caught in that particular controversy.

        There is a divide in self defense about the use of weapons. Guns are in particular a controversial subject. There is an element of truth that guns can be an equalizer when confronting a person more physically powerful, yet there are problems with this claim. The first has to do with gun safety and training. If  an individual does not regularly go to a shooting range or train with arms they will not be effective of using them. The same also goes for hand to hand combat. If one does not practice the skills they learn will become dulled. This is where a false sense of confidence could actually hold some merit.

Just having a gun does not make a person safer. It is possible that it could be used against  the owner. Access to the weapon and how fast one can pull the trigger are factors. There are also factors that influence hand to hand combat. How fast are the attacks and skilled the attacks are make a difference. While confidence is important in defending one’s self there should not be an exaggerated sense of ability. Caution and careful consideration of a situation should be the first step to any self-defense strategy. Having a gun or martial arts skills does not make a person invincible.

The US is dealing with higher levels of gun violence than ever before. Mass shootings and gang violence is enabled by the prevalence of firearms. More guns means more opportunity for criminals, terrorists, and hate groups to cause havoc. The conservative motto is ” an armed America is a safe America” does not hold truth. There is a possibility that an assailant could have a gun and a much better one in terms of firepower. This means the advantage is negated. Gun control can reduce crime and make society safer. Adding guns to self-defense only complicates matters. There is a possibility one could shoot a person by mistake or suffer a fatal accident themselves. Women who may be paranoid or have an over exaggerated idea about men’s strength could be just as fast to pull a weapon from their bag. Gun advocates claim taking away guns will leave women vulnerable. This is not true if they learn how to fight. It seems the motivations are not about women’s well being, but rather to enrich gun manufacturers and increase the power of the gun lobby politically. The alternative to this ( or counter argument) is that stun guns or mace can be used. This only works if it is readily available and if it can be used fast enough. The best defense is your arms, hands, and legs. These are with you at all times. Unarmed self-defense may be more reliable, but there has not been a study to prove this position.

         What needs to be understood is that self-defense is not just about fighting. Avoidance and escape  strategies are required for any effective program. Learning to comprehend certain surroundings and read the body language of individuals allows for prevention. Having good judgement can help a person avoid a perilous situation before it starts. Also a change in mindset is helpful. A woman who demonstrates a level of confidence, forcefulness,  and assertiveness will be the least likely to be victimized by a predator. This can happen to anyone, but there are methods of fighting back. Do women need self-defense? Given the current situation it is necessary. It is still a  dismal  state of affairs that women and even girls at a young age are subject to sexual abuse. It would be wonderful to see a world violence and crime free, yet this is only in the dreams of utopians. Sexual assault may not be completely eliminated, but it can be reduced. It requires being proactive and change in attitudes. Every man should encourage their wives, girlfriends,  daughters, and female friends or associates to learn or get involved in a self-defense course. Their safety and well being depends on it. Law enforcement needs to take accusation seriously and punishments must be more severe for sex crimes. Till that happens, women must stand up for themselves and not wait for men to protect them. The study shows that self-defense can work,but it needs to be taught to more women.

Study: Women Trained In Self-Defense Far Less Likely To Be Sexually Assaulted