There have been arguments that men are biologically and physically superior to women. This has been proven false, because scientifically it has been proven that ” biological superiority” does not exist. Men and women are biologically, anatomically, and physiologically different . This does not indicate a superior or inferior sex. Science reveals much about the battle of the sexes in terms of physical abilities and biology. The Psychology Today article does claim there is no clear winner in terms of the battle of the sexes. However, from an evolutionary and health perspective women are the winners. They are more likely to live longer compared to men. Women are in this regard not a weaker sex. Other measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) are not a reliable measure. While the other scientific statements can be verified, measuring intelligence may not sustain the rigors of the scientific method. Psychologists are still debating what is intelligence. There exists health disparities among the sexes that are due to both environment and biology. There is no stronger sex, yet women are winners in the test of survival.
Men have more physical strength on average. The difference has to do with the amount of free testosterone in the male body. This cause a difference in body composition resulting in a greater percentage of muscle mass. Muscles are not the only contributor to physical strength, it also includes bones, ligaments, and tendons. Muscle cells are the same for both men and women the difference is amount. Women retain higher fat levels no matter what their body type is. Males have a greater number of type II fast switch muscle fiber, which allows for more explosive power during a physical task. Until the onset of puberty, there is no difference in physical strength. When puberty starts women’s bodies gain more adipose tissue from estrogen and progesterone.
Women do not have the strength spurt that males gain during puberty. Both sexes have growth spurts during these years. Girls have their growth spurt earlier meaning they will for awhile be taller than boys. Between the ages 9 to 14 girls are growing faster than boys. Boys experience growth slower. The first stage happens around the age of 10, but there is a dramatic shift around the age of 13. The largest growth spurt happens around two years after puberty. The last growth spurt happens at the end of puberty. Between these two growth spurts the strength spurt increases muscle mass and broadens the shoulders. The largest disparity between physical strength in the body between males and females is in the upper body. Women are closer to men in the lower body, but not stronger in that area. Men have an estimated 50% more muscle mass in the lower body and 66% more in the upper body. The average woman’s body is estimated to be at least 35% muscle weight compared to men’s 50%.
|Olympic Records in Weight Lifting – Maximum Lifts|
|2012||Clean & Jerk||F||187kg||Zhou Lulu||75kg+|
|2004||Clean & Jerk||M||263kg||Hossein Rezazadeh||105kg+|
|Highest Male Record Below Women’s Maximum|
|2000||Snatch||M||138kg||Halil Mutlu||< 56kg|
|2012||Clean & Jerk||M||177kg||Óscar Figueroa||< 62kg|
|2012||Total||M||327kg||Kim Un-guk||< 62kg|
This explains the difference in athletic performance. However, it should be realized that strength is not solely determined by biological sex. Age, genetics, health condition, and training method are also important factors. Women respond to training stimuli and can benefit from improved health. The reason why women would have higher rates of osteoporosis is due to the fact that they have lower bone density. As a person ages they lose both muscle and skeletal mass. This could be more severe for a woman as she ages, Strength training can reverse such issues and preserve bone health. It is not impossible for a woman to be stronger than a man. It is unlikely that a woman would reach the same level of strength as a man on the same training program. This has to do with starting point. If males have lower body fat and more muscle prior to training this means their physical fitness capacity would be higher. If women natural strength is lower, that means they would be behind in terms of attempting to reach the same out put. Then there is the consideration of size. Men are taller and have larger frames, which correlates to housing more muscle on skeletal frame. Women relative to their size can see an improved level of strength.
Women’s muscles can experience hypertrophy, just not to the same degree as men. All men are obviously not stronger than all women. A woman who strength trains can at least reach or surpass the strength level of an average man. Somatotypes vary among both men and women. A woman with a mesomorphic body type could see far greater strength gains compared to a woman with an ectomorphic body type. While the weakest men are still stronger than the weakest women, it would seem unlikely that they could be stronger than the strongest woman.
It is clear that men do not have a monopoly on physical strength. The difference is in total amount of muscle composition. The difference means that there are some health implications. Women will have a harder time losing weight and obesity could be a higher health risk for women. Men may be stronger, but that does not indicate superiority.
Men have greater cardio vascular reserve compared to women. Lungs and the heart are bigger, which means greater lung volume per body mass. Men compared to women have a higher red blood cell count including higher hemoglobin. This means men can run faster than women. Oxygen is a crucial component to aerobic fitness and hemoglobin contributes to the transport. The difference in running speed is not only related to specific organs, it has to do with pelvic structure. Women’s wider pelvis reduce speed compared to men. Endocrinology and the changes in puberty also effect women’s fitness. A smaller heart means less blood is pumped. Women’s hearts are about 25% smaller compared to men’s hearts.
Men may also be able to run faster longer. Although men and women have the same muscles in the legs, the muscular composition is still more in the male lower body. Women have the advantage in terms of fat acting as an energy source. This becomes useful in ultramarathon events. While women can build impressive legs which aid in running men contain an estimated 80% muscle mass composition in the legs compared to women’s 60%. That 30% difference correlates to a slower run speed for women. The Vo2 max is even lower for females who are sedentary compared to men who are also.
There are differences in circulatory system health that effect women in different ways. Heart disease is a major health concern for both men and women as they age. Seeing as women live longer this means that the risk factor increases. Women’s heart disease occurs often later in life and can go undetected. Coronary heart disease in the United States claims men and women in equal numbers. This is related to weight, diet, and health habits. The reason there is a slight disparity in diagnosis is that most of the medical studies on heart disease were done on men. Women do have lower blood pressure which gives them a level of protection from cardiovascular diseases prior to menopause. Women who do suffer heart attacks on average have them by age 70.
Many aliments can be avoided by a change in exercise and eating habits. The major problem is that many people are not getting enough physical activity. It is clear that too much sitting and inactivity has negative effects on the circulatory system.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. There appears to be a disparity between men in women in this regard. Women are least likely to suffer from anti-social personality disorder, autism, tourette’s syndrome, and psychopathy . Men are least likely to suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and eating disorders. There seems to be questionable data in this regard. Examination within the US military demonstrates that both men and women can suffer PTSD at high rates. It should also be noted that the suicide rate among men is higher compared to women. This statistic could be distorted mainly because men often choose the most violent method to kill themselves compare to women. Men may be experiencing more psychological distress than what is reported. Cultures that value hyper machismo teach boys and men to suppress their emotions, which could be deleterious to their mental health. The expression of dolorous emotion in such cultures causes men who do to be seen as weak or unstable. Women are free to express a wider range of emotions or feelings, because it fits within the gender cultural stereotype. Mental health does have biological causes, but environment can have an immense impact on well being. The problem also is that their is a stigma surrounding such illnesses. Eating disorder such as anorexia,bulimia, and binge eating are higher in women. This has more of an environmental basis with eating disorders being more prevalent in Western culture. The obsession with image and in particular the thin body type has caused these disorders to increase. It is more common in teenage girls and young women who at that stage in their live value physical attractiveness. The consumption of mass media images that present one version of the female body has caused women distress. It has only been a recent development that medical professionals are taking mental health seriously.
Intelligence has been a constantly debated and controversial topic in psychology. One issue is the idea that intelligence can be measured. There continues to be bias against women and other ethnic groups in this regard. At one time it was claimed that men were smarter than women. Such claims like the correlation between race and intelligence have proven to be nothing more than pseudoscience. It is doubtful that intelligence can measured by a test or scale. Unlike scalars or vectors IQ may not even be a fixed unit. Psychology and other sciences have not produced a specific definition for intelligence. It is at best a hypothetical construct. This is why the statement ” it has been suggested that the variance (or spread) in IQ scores is greater in men.” The text continues : “if this is true, there should be more men than women with an exceptionally high IQ.” This revelation written then claims that women should have less learning disabilities. Intelligence can vary from person to person and even putting it in a graphical set of data is a problem. To get a precise measure we would need to know what exactly intelligence is. Also all individuals who take such tests would need to have the same education level. The literacy rates of women are lower globally compared to men. Throughout human history women were denied access to an equal education and it was only in the 20th century that this was reversed. There still remains a disparity in education among the sexes.
Realizing this, the concept of IQ cannot survive the rigors of the scientific method. There are psychometric, cognitive, and cultural theories of intelligence. The first IQ test was developed by Alfred Binet . The term IQ was only developed in 1914 by William Stern. Lewis Terman developed the IQ concept further by standardizing the Binet’s test for the US. These tests were developed around the period of eugenics and pseudoscientific biological racism. Sexism also was a part of this and a common falsehood was that women were not as intelligent as men. Male brains are contain larger volume, while it has been suggested that women have more cortical thickness. The brains of individuals vary regardless of sex, but this does not indicate men have more intelligence. Male and female brains are capable of great amounts of intelligence. Measuring it is may not be possible. Unlike height , which can be measured and defined ( the average man in America 175.8 cm tall compared to 162 cm for women) intelligence seems more like an abstraction.
The brain is a complex organ that is involved in thoughts,problem solving, emotions, motivation, and organ function. Human evolution demonstrated that the genus homo species has been developing intelligence for millions of years. Intelligence being a measurable inherited unit lacks cogency. Saying men are more intelligent than women is not scientifically correct. While the root of intelligence could be based in the neo cortex and frontal lobe, there is no method to measure it. IQ tests only show how well a person takes exams or which subjects they are more knowledgeable about.
Women have an advantage when it comes to fighting infectious diseases. Women contain more white blood cells and produce at a faster rate more antibodies. This is an advantage men do not have. What leukocytes do is act as a protector and guard for the body against infectious diseases or possibly harmful foreign substances.The body is strengthened by this.
There are multiple types of white blood cells which include lymphocytes, monocytes, basophil, eosinphil, and neutrophil. The body can be stronger in more ways than one. It seems women have the ability to handle disease better compared to men at least in terms of immune response. The preconception would be that men would be better at handling such infectious diseases or viruses. What is colloquially referred to as “man flu” may not be fiction. This means that women’s immune systems may be more robust compared to their male counterparts. Wrong is the assumption that just because men would have more physical strength, they would be better biological survivors. There is more than just one type of strength.
The reason women have this advantage could be related to microRNAs. These pieces of genetic material are responsible for silencing particular genes. The X chromosome which has microRNA located on it may give women an edge in terms of the immune system response. There could also be an explanation based on endocrinology. This research is still relatively new, so many elements are still unclear. Women survive trauma better, which could be rooted in a long evolutionary past.
Men can father children into old age. Women’s reproductive capability ends with menopause. The reason for this is based on millions of years of primate evolution. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution there are traits that are naturally selected. The goal of organisms is to reproduce offspring so that certain genes and traits can be spread. Charles Darwin did not understand the mechanism that caused traits to spread. It was not until the science of genetics mad such understanding possible. Men have a reproductive advantage in this regard being able to father children in advanced age. Women have an advantage due to the fact they actually give birth. X linked recessive disorders are rare in women . However, it appears that boys are more fragile at birth. Infant mortality is higher for boys compared to girls. This can be reduced through changes in healthcare,however it can still exist in developed nations. Nature may have made men more expendable, because female reproduction was just too important. Women have to keep the species going in this respect. The text is taking its analysis from an evolutionary psychological perspective. Environment cannot be ignored either. Psychological traits according to this perspective evolved out of adaptations in relation to natural selection and sex selection. This may explain behaviors such as promiscuity or human courtship behavior. Our ancestors adapted reproductive strategies for survival and some of these behaviors can be see today. The problem is observation and experimental procedure. It is unknown how early humans behaved compared to modern humankind. This difference between male and female fertility does have an evolutionary basis.
Environment does determine health outcomes. It is not only genetics that are a factor for why men have lower life expectancy. The gap is closing in developed countries to a degree with men being less involved in physical labor and women engaging in unhealthy habits. Smoking and drinking are still done, even when there is public knowledge of the health risk. Women may live longer as the article points out simply because they do not take as many risks. This translates to areas in the workforce that are considered dangerous. The military, police, construction, and firefighting are examples in which women’s total numbers are low. Discrimination is not the only answer, it has to do with choice. Women are not willing to risk danger to the same degree. Then there is biology. Physically demanding occupations require a certain level of fitness. Women would have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level compared to men that have more natural strength.
This would mean a difference in attrition rates in such physically demanding occupations. Despite the physiological and biological differences women have been able to become a part of such professions. Training can improve women’s performance. If is a matter of training, why are there not more women in these professions ? Some of this has to be based on an element of evolutionary psychology. There may be an instinctual drive that alerts women not to take risk. If survival depended on reproduction of the species, taking unnecessary risks was not worth it. There also could be an evolutionary psychological explanation of why more women are not involved in the fields of science and information technology. Women can be just as intelligent as men, however there may be certain way the male brain is wired. Men may have more of a preference for mechanical and technological related topics, because building was part of their evolutionary past. Traditionally, women have been excluded from such professions and unequal amounts of education, put them at a disadvantage. This also translates to human health. Having inadequate healthcare, limited hospitals, or a reduction of reproductive rights negatively effects health outcomes. then there could be public health crisis that effect an entire population. An epidemic or pandemic could effect life expectancy. Drug addiction outbreaks such as the opioid issue in the US is currently reducing life expectancy. A dramatic change in environment can change health outcomes.
The article concludes with the statement that “so at least in biological terms,there is no clear winner between the sexes. Considering that data known and what has yet to be learned that may not be an accurate conclusion. Women have more durational strength. Men’s greater physical fitness capacity would indicate they would be biologically stronger, but total life expectancy tells otherwise. Sex differences do influence health or possible illness. Women consistently show that they are survivors in many cases. Women even outlive men when conditions are stable. From a biomedical standpoint there does not exist a stronger sex, but it seems women win the test of longevity.
Nature does not dictate a battle of the sexes, because compatibility was needed for survival. Women’s durability was to ensure that off spring would be successful in the environments in which early primate species lived. Humanity now has reached a level in which it can manipulate its own health and biology. The rise of antibiotics, scientific surgery, and a genetic understanding of disease has vastly improved health outcomes. Men still lag behind in terms of life span. Many women also have medical issues in regards to breast cancer and access to contraception. The author Neel Burton has a background medicine, seeing as he is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are not the same as psychologists, because they take a medical perspective on mental illness with the belief it can be cured. Burton should realize that women from a biological view would be the winners, based on the rate of survival. This does not mean one sex is biologically superior . Misogynists often claim that the biological and physiological differences of women mean they are inferior. Difference is not an indication of inferiority. Sexual dimorphism is the product of evolution and environmental adaptation. Scientifically there is no way to test for biological inferiority or superiority. What can be concluded is that women might be stronger than previously thought.