This study produced by the American Physiological Society found that women who are involved in a long term weight training program will produce more growth hormone. The study involved the following scientists and universities : Kraemer, Jeff S. Volek, Barry A. Spiering and Carl M. Maresh of the University of Connecticut, Storrs; Bradley C. Nindl, U.S Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Mass.; James O. Marx, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Lincoln A. Gotshalk, University of Hawaii at Hilo; Jill A. Bush, University of Houston, Texas; and Jill R. Welsch, Andrea M. Mastro and Wesley C. Hymer, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Penn. It seems that the female body is more complex than previously thought. This study was produced in 2006 and was published the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. The investigation shows that women are capable of building strength and muscle. It also allowed physiologists to understand to a greater degree how weight training in general improves metabolic function and muscle mass. Growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise under regimens that contained 3 to 12 repetitions with varying loading. If women are attempting to build as much strength as possible then their load bearing activities must vary. This is also beneficial for building a stronger skeleton and avoiding bone related diseases. The role of endocrine function is more intricate than previously thought. This is why women’s endocrine physiology must be considered to create training programs to enhance performance.
Hormones are chemical messengers that are transported through the blood stream. They are directed by an endocrine gland or isolated gland cells which allows for a physiological response to be triggered. This happens in cells that contain receptors for a particular hormone. Hormones can be categorized in three different classes.
These classes are peptides, monoamines, and steroids. The pituitary gland must labor hard to maintain Hypothalamic–pituitary–target-organ axis. Hormones are just one way in which the human body can communicate from cell to cell. Gap junctions, paracrines, and neurotransmitters perform these functions. Growth hormone acts as a repair worker acting as a builder. Its function is anabolic based. Somatotropin (growth hormone) expains why children rapidly grow when the reach a particular stage in puberty. The pituitary gland is the conductor, which resides near the hypothalamus. It has a posterior and anterior section which both sections produce hormone for the body. Hormones are not only important to communication between organ systems, but they do effect the performance and training of an athlete.
The endocrine function is different for females compared to males. It was once believed that women were at a physical fitness disadvantage, because they produced more estrogen. Men’s greater testosterone allows for a body of lower body fat percentage and more muscle mass. However, it seems that when women train at a certain intensity, growth hormone acts a source of muscle and bone development. So, there is not a hormonal disadvantage rather a physiological difference. If the female body does not produce high amounts of testosterone, it merely relies on another hormone to produce bone and muscle growth in response to stimuli. Depending on the fitness training stimuli the results would be better for building strength on ones that cause growth hormone to respond. Growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and has other functions. It contributes to halting tissue break down, fighting stress fractures, and improves metabolic function.
Growth hormone molecules are composed of 191 amino acids. These molecules are capable of fragmenting into smaller units. These fragments can attach themselves to other molecules. Growth hormone can also attach itself to binding protein. There exists 100 variations of the growth hormone molecule. Growth hormone comes in different forms depending on its function and role in a particular task. What researchers did in this study was to used the technique of measuring immune response. Immunoassays are examinations that are conducted by physiologists to detect changes in the immune system. The tibia line rat growth assay also detects biological function of hormones.To find out more the experiment involved subjects doing exercise for a certain period of time.
The experiment involved subjects separating into two groups. The first group would train upper bodies only. The second group of participants would perform total body training . The reason for separating the training in this fashion was obvious. If women have lower levels of upper body strength and can increase it through training, it would be easier to detect hormonal or physical changes in this region. Women do not have stronger legs than men, but are closer in strength to men in that region of the body.
There was also a subdivision within those groups. Half used heavier weights with fewer repetitions. The other sections used lighter one with a more repetitions going up to twelve. Blood samples were acquired both prior and after the training experiment. This experiment lasted for 24 weeks. This was enough to make several conclusions and assessments. The presence of growth hormone depended on the exercise or training regimen used. Growth hormone’s appearance varied with the test used for detection. This implies that the pituitary gland adjusts the amount of growth hormone relative to weight training stimuli. The body possibly has the ability to adjust the amount of growth hormone or type depending on the activity. The larger sized variants of growth hormone will be produced more if a woman does more heavy lifting.
Growth hormone has multiple functions in the human body. There is a possibility that it has an effect on muscle fiber distribution fiber itself. Growth hormone also contributes to both amino acid transport and metabolic tissue energy expenditure. There are different types of growth hormone, but they will not respond in the same way. It is unknown what effect oral contraceptives would have on women in relation to this. The authors of the study intend to investigate that further. There should be some factors that could have effected the experiment. The tests given may not be as precise when measuring hormone changes in the blood stream. It does not seem like a major factor, however could women’s menstrual cycles effected them during the training sessions? Also it should be accounted for the fitness level of the participants. If there were women who had weight training experience, this may cause an alteration in data. If another experiment were to be done it may have to be another subdivision with women in an experienced or non-experienced weight training group. So far, it looks as if this is correct, but it needs more study.
This would seem like an advantage in terms of endocrinology in regards to women embarking on fitness programs. This would not be enough to close the physical strength gap between the sexes. Growth hormone as the study indicates functions similar in a role of what testosterone who do in a male under a particular training regimen. It is not an exact substitute, rather it is a difference produced from sexual dimorphism. Puberty and the physical changes that come from it explain the differences in elements of physical fitness capacity. Women produce lower levels of testosterone, but it does serve a purpose in their bodies. Bone strength and ovarian function are the roles testosterone plays in females. The hormone may also be important to women’s sexual functioning as well. The physical changes are documented by the Tanner scale, a chart that displays the gradual development of the body during puberty. James Tanner developed the modern growth chart as a guide for pediatricians. He also was a pioneer in using human growth hormone to treat children with endocrine disorders related to body development. During the tanner stages men’s testicles will increase in size increasing the amount of free testosterone in the body. Ovaries produce more estrogen compared to androgens. There are five stages on the tanner scale in which genitals and body composition will change due to the function of the endocrine system. Pubic hair emerges in both sexes and physical growth will transition a child’s body to a full grown adult. Men get their strength spurts around the fourth and fifth tanner scales. Women do not get strength spurts during this stage of the human life cycle.
Prior to puberty there is no difference in strength levels between boys and girls. When puberty causes hormonal changes which increases men’s physical fitness capacity. This mean under the same training conditions women would not reach the same strength levels. Theoretically, if a woman were to train with a method that increased her somatotropin levels, she may get stronger than she would have with another technique.There still is a question about what are the full extent of women’s physical capabilities see as it has only been recently that there has been study on this subject. The nature and function of hormones relative to training seems more intricate than what exercise physiologists would have expected. This new information could also contribute to medical advancements as well. There is still more to learn about the human body and women’s bodies in particular.
The article published from The Federalist written by Travis Scott in 2016 questions women’s ability to meet physical fitness standards for combat positions. While sexual dimorphism, biology, physiology, and physical fitness are factors to the success of combat integration, Travis Scott makes it clear he is no advocate of women in combat roles. The Federalist has a conservative perspective and the majority of such political orientation are opposed to women in combat. It seems odd that conservatives and a Republican Party in particular holds women in such enmity who merely volunteer for service. They are thought to be the political group with a strong emphasis on national security and being pro-military. The reality is the opposite. Service members would have a worse time under conservative administrations that follow flawed foreign policy and engaging in aggressive war. Scott argues that it is possible that presence of women could effect military effectiveness. His reasoning is that women are not physically capable of being effective combat soldiers based on sex differences. Science does not state women are less capable, it only shows that men and women have a different physical fitness capacity. The only reason women in combat would not work is that women are given a lower standard resulting in the men doing more labor for the sake of women being in such military occupational specialties. Travis Scott states ” feelings don’t matter, effectiveness does” but his argument is based on emotion. Through out history women have been involved in combat in various societies and nations around the globe. While males on average men have a higher physical fitness capacity, it is not impossible for women to meet standards if instructed in the proper manner. Women who fight will not endanger national security, rather perpetual warfare, a belligerent foreign policy, and a corrupt political system.
Before one just uses the term science the definition should be comprehended. Science can be defined as the “exploration and study of the natural world through observation and experiment.” How this is done is through the scientific method. Under this system a hypothesis established, an experiment is conducted, and data is then collected. The experiment is observed for particular characteristics. At the end of the process, a conclusion is produced. The experiment must be reproducible and then it can be considered fact or scientific law. Travis Scott’s position that women are not suitable for combat is not based on science, rather a confirmation bias. First it goes off the assumption that no women could possibly meet the physical standards. The second problem is that also assumes that all men are at high level of physical prowess. If such an experiment were to be developed to see how mixed gender combat integration could work several conditions would have to be met.
The women would need physical fitness training prior to even attempting. The mixed combat Marine study had issues because women were coming in volunteering for the experiment at various fitness levels. According to the study the women volunteering had too meet only the minimal male standard to be part of the experiment in 2015. They were compared with experienced all male units. The problem was that it did not take inexperienced men and women and see how performance develops. The problem is that men and women for training on different physical fitness standards. That is why a unified fitness standard needs to be established that meets the demands of a particular occupation. There reality is that women have fought in wars both past and present. Certain women may be able to perform at a level higher than some men. Women have been in combat seeing as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had no distinguishable front line.
It is obvious that sexual dimorphism is a factor in physical fitness performance. Travis Scott basically uses the difference between male and female bodies to indirectly say that women are low quality soldiers. This assumes that all women are weaker than all men. Men are on average taller, denser bones, more muscle mass, and stronger tendons. This also include more strength in the ligaments of the body. Not all men are built like Rambo, which is why physical fitness before entry is the key. If women’s fitness level is lower, it would mean they would need to train prior to even entering basic training. There are several factors that contribute to physical strength. Sex and endocrinology are two of them. Muscle fiber type is essential. Type II muscle fiber is more suited for physical strength and men on average have more of this type, but the distribution between various muscle fibers vary among individuals. Genetics can also play a role in somatotype. A mesomorphic woman will have an easier time developing strength compared to an ectomorphic woman. Size can also be a factor in muscular strength. A larger skeletal frame means more area to house muscle on the body. Men and women have the same muscles and they can respond to training. They will not reach the same fitness level of a man who does the same training regimen. These factors are important,but not the only element essential to combat. Other skills and knowledge are also required for a modern military.
The Navy, Army, and Air Force have a specific set of standards that are not just physical fitness. Soldiers have to have an education beyond that of high school and be in good health. This does not mean physical fitness is not important. The higher injury rates women sustain in the US military are due to particular factors. One common problem is that their physical fitness level is low prior to entry. Women would have to build enough strength and endurance before basic training, then prepare for their military occupational specialty. Every person who enters will not perform to the highest level. Travis Scott give the impression that the US Military is full of super soldiers. Women at the time of the study were not fitted in the correct body armor. Knowing that female and male bodies are different a change was made to make female body armor more ergonomic. Gradually, improvements have been made to correct such problems.
The strongest women will not be as strong as the strongest men. This does not mean you have to be a top performing athlete to be a soldier. Women need weight training programs to build their strength. The problem with Scott’s sports analogy is that sports are also separated by weight class for both sexes. When soldiers meet in combat they do not organize themselves based on weight classes when confronting one another. While warfare and sports have similarities in terms of collaboration and strategy, there is a major difference. It is about killing and defeating enemy combatants. Sports has rules that regulate unfair play or general fouls in a game. The Geneva Convention is designed to prevent abuse by armed forces adhering to certain rules of war. The issue is there is no enforcement of it and certainly no sports like referee to ensure fairness in terms of conduct. Jobs that require a higher level physical activity do cause attrition rates. Both men and women can fall victim to it. Many soldiers get knee and various joint injuries because they are overloaded with gear. This has to be adjusted to prevent high rates of medical discharge or veterans who are in poor health. Even the most physically fit soldiers return with either joint or head injury trauma. This can be stopped with the engineering armor that is strong and light as well as reducing soldier carry load.
The US soldier is put under unnecessary physical strain, when the strenuous activity should be mostly done in the actual fighting. Too many are getting injured during training. The American population has an overall lower level of physical fitness. Sedentary life styles and obesity could complicate recruitment efforts. There may come a time in which women are needed, because there are not enough men to fill such positions. The US military has was not able to meet its recruitment targets in 2017. The US birthrate has been declining and the trend may continue. These are considerations that must be accounted for in the coming decades. Even if there are men who do not have weight related issues or poor health, they may not be in the physical fitness condition to meet particular standards for a job. It would make no sense to ban women who are qualified simply on the basis it makes some men uncomfortable.
The frailty myth still seems to be present in general thought in regards to women in physically demanding occupations. This falsehood is repeat multiple times : ” women who physically exert themselves too much over extended periods of time will be subject to muscular atrophy and other biological complications.” Female athletes do exert themselves to a higher degree, but their bodies do not just collapse. Women are vulnerable to the female athlete triad, ACL tears, and too low levels of body fat can effect the menstrual cycle. Male bodies can deteriorate depending on intensity, it is just slower due to size and body composition. Saying that women’s bodies were not equipped for combat seems ludicrous. There are female fire fighters, police officers, and construction workers who have too meet a physical fitness standard. The same arguments were used against women in these professions was they were not physically capable. After such discrimination was challenged women began appearing more in these professions. It has been proven with female athlete women can increase their strength and with proper knowledge can prevent injury. The issue of muscle power can be negated to an extent through exercise and nutrition, yet there is one element that may not be changed through an exercise regimen. Running speed depends on the size of the heart and lungs. Women’s pelvic structure is wider which does not contribute to speed. Oddly enough, Travis Scott does not mention this.
Scott does admit that even if women were to meet the standards, he claims the victory would be short lived. Attrition becomes an issue for all soldiers, but it can be addressed with proper medical care and an emphasis on maintaining health. Women may have to train in a manner which increases their upper body strength. If they are closer to men in the lower body, this should be an easier task in comparison. Sex differences do not mean women are not capable of certain jobs; it means that the most physically demanding would be harder for them. Reaching a certain physical fitness level for a female athlete can be a difficult task. It is possible, but it will take longer compared to males. This comes down to the stages of physical development during puberty. Prior to this, the sexes are equal in terms of physical strength. The male strength spurt occurs around age thirteen in which there is a divergence. Muscle cells and muscular hypertrophy operates the same in women which means they can be responsive to stimuli induced by exercise.
The question about whether or not combat integration is possible has to be answered relative to the standards of various branches of the US military. The position that women are not good combat soldiers ” because science says so” is faulty reasoning. The foundation of science is that it uses logic and reasoning to come to a conclusion about a problem. Travis Scott has a confirmation bias, rather than a genuine inquiry. Biology and physiology cannot be ignored in this equation, but there is a deliberate distortion of history in other sections of his position of women in combat.
The only way women in combat will be successful is if women meet the same physical demands and requirements. The approach has been a practical one in which a unified physical fitness standard shall be used . The Marines are attempting to devise a revision to the physical fitness test . This discarded the flexed arm hang and required that female recruits do pull-ups. Scoring was adjusted as well. There was a dip in performance, but this was to be expected considering it is harder for new Marines to adjust to these standards. This time around more women performed better on pull-ups than years past. The new standards are not lower, rather that are designed to be specific and focus on functional fitness. The US military had introduced a new test called the Occupational Physical Assessment. When it was introduced it reduced injury rates during basic training. This has helped soldiers immensely. Not only does it reduce the cost of dealing with such injuries, it improves soldier fitness by a more efficient method. Women still had higher injury rates. However, there was another problem holding women back. Women needed to meet weight requirements. Some women who engaged in weightlifting exercise gained weight that was muscle, but under use of the body mass index it would classify them as overweight. Women gained mass from training, but fell out of the requirement based on their height.
The problem was addressed and change has occurred slowly. The Army Combat Readiness Test will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test. The Army Combat Readiness Test measures muscular strength, explosive strength, and agility. The test wants to simulate combat tasks rather than making it a series of workout sessions. Fighting is different from simply going to a gym or competing is a sports event. This is why the old standards must be abandoned. A separate standard based on sex , does create resentment among male soldiers who think women have it easier. The are seen as less competent or qualified. These prejudices can be challenged with a unified fitness standard. Lowering standards is not the solution. This has been avoided so far.
The physical fitness standards are now being changed to train recruits to meet the exact criteria for various occupations. Although it is based an decades of research, the battlefield is unpredictable. The nature of global politics has changed dramatically.
War has been erroneously been called a male only affair. History proves otherwise. There have been multiple times in which women took up arms and fought in various wars. Scythian civilization, Celts, the Iceni and Arab civilization had women warriors. The West tends to only think of a warrior as male. This had not been true for ancient history or the contemporary period. The Soviet Union had female soldiers who served as snipers, fighter pilots, and were involved in combat operations during World War II. Dahomey ( Benin ) during the 19th century had women warriors. During the wars in Indochina (1945-1975) women fought in both North and South Vietnam. The unfortunate aspect of this is that the women who fought in war have been lost in history. Only recently women’s history has attempted to rectify such a narrow view of history.
Women in combat is certainly nothing new. It also is nothing new to America. During the American Civil War women disguised themselves as men to fight in the conflict. They did this both for the Union and Confederacy. There are also cases of women being active in the American Revolutionary War. Mary Hays McCauley fought in the Pennsylvania State Regiment of Artillery. She fought alongside her husband, loading cannons, and distributing water to other soldiers. She acquired a nickname which became something of American legend : Molly Pitcher. McCauley was not the only woman to serve. Women would appear in combat and the military onward. Cathy Williams was the only African American female Buffalo soldier. She served from 1866 to 1868 and was only discharged when her sex was discovered. Although Williams was denied recognition during her service, a monument stands in her honor at the National Infantry Museum. The major shift came when women could officially work for the US Army under the Women’s Army Corps. This women’s branch of the US military began in 1942 and was disbanded in 1978 when women became fully integrated with male units. It would seem that the next logical step would be opening combat jobs to women. Although the Gulf War ( 1990-1991) saw women taking part in particular operations a combat ban was imposed in 1994.
The woman warrior can be found in various places and points in human history.
This ban was not because women were incompetent soldiers. It was designed to keep them out of particular occupations. Claims of incompetence or inferiority were used as justification for discrimination in the US military. When the US military became integrated African Americans were face with vicious hostility. When Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed there was conservative backlash. Under the Donald Trump administration there are attempts to ban transgender service members. The hostility women face in the US military is just another part of a long legacy of institutional intolerance and prejudice. So far, the increased diversity of the armed forces has not caused a break down in US military strength.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – A Marine performs the grenade throw portion of the maneuver-under-fire event of the Combat Fitness Test during a trial exercise on July 8. The CFT is being implemented throughout the Marine Corps to test Marines’ ability in combat related exercises. Photo by Lance Cpl. Patricia D. Lockhart
Today women are fighting in conflicts just not in an official capacity. FARC, the Peshmerga, and the Tamil Tigers had female combat soldiers. Rebel groups or insurgent groups across the globe may use women as fighters. They fight with less resources and aid compared to women soldiers from the US. This is why the thesis ” Everyone up to this point in history has understood why: If the fighting were left in the hands of women, this country’s spaces for freedom and the pursuit of happiness we hold so dear would not exist ” is a flawed analysis of history. The only reason freedom or liberty can exist is if government power and military force is restrained. The Posse Commitatus Act limits the power of the federal government using the armed forces to enforce domestic policies or law. Law enforcement is left to police officers, not generals. This is also why there are three branches of government to regulate political power. Travis also distorts another element in history saying “ideas of fairness and equality are social constructs that are upheld solely by the might of men.” This is incorrect, because such concepts are enforced by constitutions and the rule of law. It is the over emphasis on might and the obsession with power that enables authoritarian systems. This is why the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement was important.
It made sure that civil rights and civil liberties were for all citizens of the United States. This comes to another problem with this mode in thinking when Travis says : “if women receive fair treatment in public or civil life, it is because strong men have provided safe arenas so society can grant this to them. ” If women waited for men to make society safe for them they would have never gotten the right to vote, own property, or have equal education. Violence against women is prevalent in the West as well and women had to resist to improve their status. Saying that men gave them rights is ludicrous. If America waited for independence from Britain it would have still been a colony. Rights and freedom must be fought for, because an oppressor will never give them willingly. Women have been motivated in multiple points in history to engage in armed conflict if they felt the cause was important enough.
There is a concern that physical differences could have an effect on close quarters combat and unarmed combat . Normally, the conservative argument is that women are not good fighters. The focus them comes to muscular strength. The detractors are convinced that there no women who could beat a man in fight ever. The difference in strength can be closed to an extent,but there is more to being a good fighter than having strength. Skill can be an equalizer and particular martial arts like judo can be utilized to overcome larger opponents. Women are not taught to fight or defend themselves. They are not even taught basic physical skills. Physical education courses have different standards, even when there is limited strength difference between boys and girls. There is a bias that is shown, which believes women are physically inferior. when women of high physical skill display their talents they are ostracized as anomalies. Travis Scott holds this position: ” There are anomalous handfuls of females who, with sufficient training in hand-to-hand combat, can handle themselves in and around their weight class, or effectively fend off larger assailants who do not know how to actually fight. ” He then articulates the following : ” Also, there are probably biological markers for why these woman have such a physical capacity in the first place, which most women lack.” Travis Scott argues that women not be great fighters compared to men with the same training or in a similar weight class. Men who are smaller would be at a disadvantage in hand to hand combat, but no one attributes that to their sex. The military teaches soldiers of all sizes how to fight effectively with hand to hand combat techniques. This should work just the same for women.While it is true men can women in pure brute strength fighting skills can give women an advantage.
The problem is a fitness and fighting skills issue. To solve this problem one must ask the question how strong can a woman get through training? This depends on the factors related to physical strength and the specific occupation task. The average woman with a consistent weight training regimen can attain at least a 40% increase in muscular strength within months of training according to studies on the American Council on Exercise. This is less than half, but it is a significant gain. What this means it will take women longer to reach a fitness goal. Lifting heavy will increase strength, while lighter weights are more effective at endurance. Women will have a harder time build upper body strength, which is an area that should be focused on. A smaller rib cage and narrow shoulders mean there is less room to house muscle. However, it can still be built. Women have the same muscles as men, which do not radically differ anatomically.
Women have to make fitness their top priority if they want to be part of combat units. While long range weapons make hand to hand combat seem dated, there are times when it is necessary. A soldier could be disarmed or run out of ammunition. Unarmed combat is different from hand to hand combat, because no weapons are involved. Hand to hand combat would refer to weapons such a daggers, spears, or batons used in battle.
Krav Maga has been used by the IDF in Israel as an effective hand to hand combat fighting technique. Women also learn this in the IDF also with their males counterparts. The US Navy, Marines, and Army have various hand to hand combat training systems. If women can punch and kick nothing should hinder their success. The one element in physical fitness capacity regarding strength difference could be a challenge. Differences are not an indication of inferiority. Travis Scott’s assertions become more bizarre when emphasizing that war is a man’s job: “The vast majority of women (if not literally every woman you know) will boast that they can do everything a man can do—until it involves fists. ” If vast wars could be solved with simple fist fights maybe so many people would not die. Wars are fought with guns, planes, tanks, bombs, and it is even going into cyberspace. He further pontificates “women retreat from this domain, falling back on some moral code that says, while woman are “equal” in the highest ideological way, they are not physically equal to men.” All people are not of the same strength, intelligence, or skill level,but this did not stop armies from drafting different types of men. While men are on average stronger than women, there are women who can be stronger than men.When a person enters the military they have to molded to be a soldier. There has to be an expectation that all will succeed with their training otherwise make functioning units will not be possible.
A person does not need to be physically strong to kill. It must also be noted that ” biological realities constantly reinforce the physical inequality of men and women.” Women were traditionally excluded from certain occupations due to discrimination, strict gender roles, and cultural pressure. While sexual dimorphism can be an explanation of why there are few women in manual labor jobs, it is not the only one. The author seems to believe in the gender stereotype that women are more peaceful. While men are more aggressive which has a biological and social basis, there are cases in which women show aggression. Men express it in a physical way compared to women. However, this does not mean women will not use their fists in some instances. Although it is a smaller statistic, women do engage in domestic abuse.
These cases are often overlooked and not taken seriously. This is due to the notion that some how female equals victim, which does not represent the entire situation. Travis Scott ignores this by stating “from here many will infer that it is a man’s moral imperative not to strike women, ever, because it would be sadistic, evil, and “unfair.” This is not an ethical imperative it is based on dated chivalry and gender stereotypes. It is wrong for a person to assault anyone, but if a woman does it to a man there is no repercussion. A woman being an attacker or aggressor breaks the gender role script. Women are suppose to be helpless and dependent on men for protection in this frame of thought.
These women look like they could take on some guys in a fight.
This is why many are still trying to accept the fact women have been in combat in both the past and present. The only reason more women were not involved in certain areas of public life was that they lived in cultural and political restriction. There were individual women who overcame such obstacles and there periods of history in which women’s status was higher. While lack of opportunity can be to blame, there are certain realities that must be noted. Women’s numbers may never be equal to men’s numbers in the US military. There has been dramatic increase in numbers of women in various branches, but there may be some areas in which women will be a very small minority. The Navy SEALS has a high drop out rate for its vigorous training program.
If men are having a difficult time with that it would be twice as hard for women. Making a quota based system adds a level of complication. A rational target goal of recruits for military branches would have to be done if numbers are to increase. Even the fittest woman could struggle with the training in elite special forces units. These only make a small portion of the US military. There have been thousands of combat jobs open to women that were once closed to them. The solution to the fitness issues related to women in combat is follow certain health recommendations. Women must build their upper body strength. They need to train in a manner that prevents joint related injuries. All the sex differences will not be eliminated through training, but it can make women into competent combat soldiers.
Scott’s assessment lacks credibility when he says ” In the past, more often than not a society would send little boys off to die at war before they would send women,and adds “This is because even grown women are not as physically reliable as adolescent males.” The reason child soldiers in the past and present are mostly boys is due to the idea that man’s sole function is to be protector and fighter of the community. There was the shared belief that men should be happy to go off and die no matter what the cause of the conflict or reason. This idea of male sacrifice has put men in unfavorable positions. Adolescent males are not on the same strength level as a fully grown woman. Only with their last strength spurt and added height by age 20 does a man reach his full muscular strength. Puberty is slower in males relative to growth. Women do not get a strength spurt, yet reach their full height by age 16.
The muscular strength level of an average woman would be higher than a teenage boy. It is at the age of 20, that the gap is vast. A woman who trains can reach the strength level of a man who is average or slightly above that level. There is advantage in terms of women’s higher fatigue resistant type I muscle fibers.The strongest women would not have problems with the physical tasks required of a combat force. Sex differences or the presence of women will not put the US military at risk. The United States has pursued a policy that enables danger and a series of foreign policy failures.
The United States wants to remain the dominant world power. Doing this has caused numerous conflicts around the world. The US has taken on the role of world policemen, except this is not about the enforcement of justice. The wars Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Somalia have degraded the health of the nation in a political and military sense. The War on Terror is nothing more the excuse to wage perpetual warfare across the globe. The challenge is not insurgency or terrorism, rather a military industrial complex. America’s economy has been centered around permanent warfare. Without it, there could be harmful economic consequences. There is no way for this to logically continue without resulting in economic, political, and social turmoil. Functioning on a imperial system, while engaging in large power competition will cause collapse in the future. The US is functioning on a system of Cold War policies in which it believes it needs to contain an ideology or a nation.The string of military bases and presence in foreign lands has nothing to do with national security. The objective is to have economic and political domination of the world. The US is more than capable of defending itself against any country.
The US wants to stop a multipolar power system in world politics. This means that the US could no longer impose its will on countries that disagree with its policies or wage aggressive war. It explains why there is sudden belligerence against Russia and China. China is becoming a more powerful country both economically and militarily. Russia has reemerged on the international stage. There is no evidence that these countries want to destroy the United States, but that are presented as menaces. The US seeks to interfere with various regions globally on the grounds of human rights and democracy promotion. This myth is constantly presented to the American public, which justifies war crimes and aggression. The NATO-US invasion and subsequent assassination of Muammar Qaddafi induced the refugee crisis and many still continue to flee an unstable North African region to Europe. The removal of Saddam Hussein caused the rise of terrorism in Iraq with Al-Quadea being active in Iraq and the creation of ISIS. ISIS became active in Syria along with other rebel groups. The US, the EU countries, and the gulf monarchies are seeking the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad. If this is to happen there will be more terrorism, regional instability, and an immense influx of refugees to Europe. What these past and current conflicts demonstrate is that neoconservative foreign policy has endangered national security. Polices of regime change and nation building are not logical or safe. The US loses its wars not because of its soldiers. It has some of the best trained fighters among the world’s armed forces. Adding women to combat will not result in failure relative to military conflicts. Aggressive war, misguided foreign policy, and large power competition will ultimately cause the downfall of the United States. Hopefully, politicians and military leaders reverse such policies are reorient America in a rapidly changing world.
What should be understood about war is that it emphasizes technology, tactics, and a comprehensive strategy. Travis Scott is correct to say that war is more complicated than just exploding targets. While women coming on to combat units is a major change, it may not be large enough to cause a disruption. The only reason such a problem would occur would be from the backlash coming from male soldiers who despise them. The US military has to be prepared for this backlash. Israel is an example of how a military can successfully integrate women into combat units.
As of 2018 mixed sex units are increasing in Israel according to the IDF. Scott’s assertions that the statistics are exaggerated are not entirely accurate. The women of the IDF are serving in the army as pilots, naval combat officers, combat intelligence, and the artillery corps. Their solution to getting women fit is to give them a training program that focuses on building upper body strength. Nutrition is also the focus in which women get a iron and carbohydrate rich diet. Women’s numbers have increased, but this has not cause the IDF to be less effective. The reason Israel continues to win most of its wars has to do with its ability to change and acclimate. Along with the financial backing of the US it remains one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East. The problem with Israel is that it seeks an expansionist policy in the West Bank, blockades Gaza, keeps African immigrant in detention centers, and could be seeking war with Iran. Here the only solution is a diplomatic one, not war. Israel’s comprehensive strategy was to fight defensive wars against its neighbors. It began embarking on expansionist ones with the Six Day War in 1967. Besides strategy, technology continues to have a dramatic impact on warfare. Killing machines have become more sophisticated. Tanks, guns, drones, fighter jets, naval ships, and nuclear weapons almost render the physical strength of soldiers worthless.
Technology does work in women’s favor if brawn power is lacking. This still does not reduce the importance of physical fitness. There is a level of strength required for being on a tank operation crew. Combat vehicles require the loading of shells and missiles. Many of the early physical tests involved simulating battlefield tasks. The testing that occurred at Fort Stewart had women do casualty drags and barrels of mounted guns on to Bradley vehicles. These experiments were simulations of battle and required a level of strength. What can be concluded is that women can be successful if training is done in the right way.
The women here are lifting guns and barrels that are 65 pounds and over.
Although it is the weapons that do the work, a soldier has to be strong enough to load artillery shells and move guns. Strength is pivotal in that regard. The Navy also requires that sailors be proficient in swimming. The air force also requires its fighters to be in shape. From a logical perspective there seems no reason for qualified women to be excluded from combat positions. Tactics are also important to warfare. The United States still fights wars in a frontline environment, when the shift is going in the direction of asymmetric warfare. When the US acts as an occupying force in places like Afghanistan guerrilla warfare is used to build attrition of forces. The United States has never gotten over its defeat in Vietnam and it constantly haunts the country. The invasion of Grenada and the Gulf War the US gained in a sense its military confidence back. It then thought it was impervious to defeat and began going off in quests of military adventurism. Somalia was attacked in 1993, Iraq was struck once more in 1998, and Kosovo was bombed in 1999. When the Iraq War occurred in 2003, it shattered the illusion that the US was invincible. The only way to have true national security is with a dramatic change in America’s approach to international affairs. The new tactics that should be employed is diplomatic strategies and the reduction of US presence in multiple regions. If this does not change America will continue to see a string of military defeats.
What can be concluded is that science does not say women in combat is an impossibility. History proves that women have been a part of warfare for a long period of time. This is why the assertion ” we have enough information to say the government is currently making decisions based on political correctness and feminist policies, rather than mission effectiveness and scientific data” is a spurious claim. The US military has been upgrading its standards and conducting experiments to make women in combat be successful. The reason the US has a great fighting force is due to the fact it is able to solve problems and meet the demands of various challenges. Women in combat can be successful, if the military and the political wants it to be. There should be realistic expectations. The left will have to accept that the numbers may never be equal due to the difference in physical fitness capacity and personal choice. There may be more qualified women, yet they may not show interest in a combat occupation. The right has to acknowledge that women are going to be a large part of society and the wider public sphere.
Keeping women out of the military or combat jobs is no longer the status quo. If the third wave feminists really value equality, they should support women registering for the selective service. That is a double standard that should not remain. Otherwise what they really want is the presentation of equality, but with special privileges. There is no conspiracy of “political correctness” or ” social experiments.” The world is changing and so is the US military. Using buzzwords or neologisms does not hide the fact that there are people who want to exclude women from combat jobs no matter how skilled or competent they are. Detractors cite science as the reason , however if they actually did research, it discredits them. What biology, physiology, and anatomy tells us is that men and women differ in total physical fitness capacity. Women can increase their fitness levels through training. One can hold the view that women fighting wars is not appropriate as their opinion. Yet, opinions are not facts. No one denies that there are biological differences, the problem is saying that those differences automatically mean women will fail as combat soldiers. When science makes a claim, it has to formulate a hypothesis based on known inferences. When Travis Scott states ” we know all female units are less effective than all male units” or that ” mixed sex units are less effective” there is limited or no data to make this credible. The Marine Corps study would have to be replicated and produce the same results to be designated scientific fact. There has not been any through study of the performance of an all female unit. Science must be rational and objective, two attributes that are lacking in studies of women in combat.
Wisecrak is a website that examines philosophy, humanities, science, and analyzes popular entertainment from an academic perspective. They also produce videos for their youtube channel. Eight Bit Philosophy examines questions of science, ethics, and human society. A particular video of interest is the question of drug use an the manipulation of the human body. Simply put, can drugs make a person super human? To answer this question one must figure out what it means to be human. If this such a biological feat was to be possible it would have to be done through genetic engineering. The only thing drugs do is alter organ systems rather than changing the genetic foundation of the human body. This also raises questions about transhumanism and what is natural. Human biological evolution has been changing for millions of years and could radically change in the distant future. There is always the fear with new developments and technologies, that humankind is “playing God.” The reality is that such advancements are inevitable. Like computers, automobiles, and more lethal weapons they are a part of human civilization. The Francis Fukuyama position is flawed on several points. It assumes that such advancements would threaten democracy and goes off the assumption that inequality has a biological basis. The rise of transhumanism is occurring, but only with careful thought and supervision can this not became a dystopian nightmare.
There needs to be an exact definition of what is superhuman. The definition of such a word and concept means abilities that would exceed far beyond what the body is physically and mentally capable of. The term superhuman can also be associated with human enhancement which means that physiological or biological limitations can be overcome by means of artificial or natural means. Drugs could be classified as a form of human enhancement technology . While the medical use can be extensive it can be used to improve human abilities far beyond what would be in unchanged perimeters.
The superhuman concept used be something of pure science fiction. The idea of being as strong as Wonder Woman or being a real life Super Girl would be considered comedic farce. However as the 21st century progresses there is a greater understanding of biology, physiology, anatomy, and the health sciences. Human enhancement technologies now include reproductive technologies, which can allow the infertile to conceive. People can change their behavior and mental state through ritalin, adderall, and neurostimulation. The most visible display of human enhancement is the dramatic change in appearance people are capable of to their bodies. Plastic surgery, medical implants, prosthesis, and performance enhancing drugs can alter the body in a multitude of ways. Strength training can alter the body not just through exercise, but by means of supplementation and diet. Nanotechnology , neurotechnology and information technology will certainly be a part of this transhuman revolution.
The women here have changed their bodies through training, diet, use of supplements, and a knowledge of the human body. This is an example of human enhancement at a rudimentary level.
While genetic engineering is still in its infancy, it is only a matter of time before in will further human enhancement. This will be to a greater extent beyond what can be achieved through training or diligence. Future superhumans could be made with genetic engineering rather than drugs. The problem with drugs is that their effect can be temporary and the side effects could do long term damage if abused. Genetic expression can influence behavior, abilities, and phenotype. A superhuman would have high intelligence, physical strength, and speed according to what would be conceived scientifically. The abilities of mythology, comics, and popular culture would be come reality.
It may be possible to engineer the human body to a set of specific attributes. One could be engineered to have the intelligence Mae Jemison or Maryam Mirzakhani. The athletic talent of certain sports stars could also be engineered through genetic manipulation. This could be what the possible superhuman would be like, if ever engineered. The objection to this is normally that doing such a thing would be unnatural or have questionable ethic motives. Many believe it would destroy what makes us human. What it means to be human would have to be answered first before exploring larger questions.
Philosophy and science have attempted to answer the question what it means to be human. The question is does not have a complete answer. Biologically we are the last of a primate species and the descendants from a common genetic ancestor shared with other hominids. Philosophers have argued humankind’s ability for rational thought distinguishes them from other species. The essence of humanity other argued is human emotion and social interaction made us distinct. There may not be one answer to what makes a person human. It has now been theorized that early homo sapiens could have mated with neanderthals and denisovans. There did exist subspecies of archaic humans that became extinct. Modern humans are the last surviving species of the genus homo. Interbreeding may have been a common practice.
When the term natural is used people mistake it for normalcy. The fact is nature can be strange and human evolution has resulted in strange biological developments. The rise of bipedalism, the increase in endocranial volume, the variation in sexual size dimorphism and the change in social communication behavior in comparison to other primates was not normal. There are multitude of bizarre organisms on planet Earth and more that may not have been discovered. Paleontology and anthropology are demonstrating that the origins and behavior of mankind is more complex than previously thought. The fossil record keeps getting larger not just for primates, but other organisms that were present during the Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic Eras. Naturalists, Paleontologists, anthropologists, and biologists have to act as detectives of a distant past.
The only way to make sense of these findings to to eventually find the common genetic ancestor of all primates. Doing so will provide genetic information, which will allow the question of what it means to be human. More information is needed to actually answer the question of what it means to be human from a biological perspective. This is why the concept that altering the human body is abnormal seems to lack cogency. Nature can be erratic and unpredictable depending on the environment. Ideas of what is normal or abnormal do not have relevance when it comes to natural selection.
The problem with such enhancements by either pharmaceutical or genetic means is that it could hold the potential for abuse. As the Eight Bit Philosophy video articulates, there could be a possibility that individual differences could be wiped out in favor of one paradigm of humanity. People could create designer babies. This almost sounds like society similar to A Brave New World in which a scientific dictatorship. The worse abuse also could be the rise of sate sponsored eugenics. Selective breeding, serialization, euthanasia or discriminatory social and legal policies were the result of the eugenics movement of the early to mid-20th century. The worse abuse came from Nazi Germany resulting in genocide. Ever since 1945, science that either focused on genetics or genetic difference has caused controversy.
The rise of neo-eugenics also creates another problem. The issue is that it focuses on the profit motive in regards to human and genetic enhancement. Unlike the negative eugenics of the past, it wants to see more people reproduce. This type of liberal eugenics can be seen in fertility clinics in which couples can get sperm or eggs from men and women who match attributes they believe are desirable. Gene therapy, artificial insemination, and egg donation are a few examples of liberal eugenics. While it may not seem awful for someone to have a child if they are not capable or alter genes to combat disease, the problem arises when only one group has access to this technology and biological enhancement. The upper class of society will most likely have more access to such technology. This will not only create more social inequality it will also happen at a biological level. If superhumans do become a reality resistance would be futile. There would be vast divide between the enhanced and the non-enhanced. Besides negative social developments there may be a point in which such human enhancement technologies may go too far.
Humankind could create its own living monsters. This has not happened yet, but it should be taken into consideration, if this scientific advancement is to continue. There must be some form of regulation to prevent the rise of possible man made abominations or possible medical harm to people. Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein was not only a warning about the abuse of scientific knowledge, but the need of having an understanding of it. The more knowledge humanity obtains the more there is a need to utilize it responsibly.
Francis Fukuyama a prominent political scientist and political economist has been known to be solicitous about the rise of transhumanism. He claims that this could be a threat to liberal democracy. This is more of an exaggeration considering the other problems with such a political system. There has been drug abuse to some degree or another in various societies, but it has never been the sole factor in the collapse of civilization or a political system. Human being still do not what the exact definition of being human is. So the argument that such drugs like addearall or ritalin could threaten what it means to be human seems to be a hyperbole. The real issue is that normal human traits such as being tired or needing a period of rest could be described as being a condition that requires medicine. The problem may not be the existence of the drugs themselves, rather the over prescribing of such medications.
It is implied that the roots of inequality in society are biologically based. There are people who are more intelligent than others, physically stronger, or in better health. This does not explain why there is a pyramid structure in various nations globally. The roots are sociological not biological. The rise of property, food surpluses, and permanent settlement cause a divide among people that had not existed in hunter gather societies. A settlements grew into villages they would grow into cities. This required a government that could impose order by force. Women’s status was not because of their sex difference or other biological differences , rather the fact that in particular areas of the world they were denied access to education, employment, and equality under the law. If people were all the equal at a physiological and physical level that would not change the sociological structure. Race, class, national origin, religion and gender would still be used as an excuse to exclude groups that are not part of a ruling hierarchy or dominant group. The fact is that there is no equality under the law in liberal democracies. The rich and powerful will dominate government no matter what political system is in place. The reason liberal democracy struggles is that it requires an informed, educated, and active citizenry. The End of History thesis does not take into account that other forms of government could rise that are not liberal democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union was not evidence that liberal democracy is a triumphant system, rather its competitor failed to produce improvement for its people. Liberal democracy may meet the same fate. It fails to challenge poverty, racism, sexism, or address economic instability. While the free market is associated with liberal democracy it will also be its downfall. Neoliberal capitalism is not interested in freedom or justice, rather the objective of profit maximization. This has relevance to the increasing influence of pharmaceutical corporations who gain more power through lobbying congress. This could effect the public with drugs that are not safe getting FDA approval. This makes Fukuyama’s argument contradictory, because there should be nothing wrong with drugs as long as they advance the free market which he supports.
Neoliberal capitalism is a threat to democracy, because it could possibly lead to a version of fascistic corporatism. Big business and powerful government form an alliance to run a country. Those who control the government and business will be the masters of the public. This frightening scenario shows people will be reduced to compliant and obsequious consumers who do not question authority or the status quo. Drugs altering human nature would be the least of civilizations problems if such a system were to evolve. Human nature can be both compassionate and cruel. Technology or in this case drugs are not terrible. It depends on how they are used and how they are managed.
What needs to be understood is that there may be no line between humanity altering drug or simple supplement. Both are inducing changes in the body beyond what would be the standard physical limitation. The idea of normal or normal state could have different meanings. If a person were to be completely natural meaning not taking any drugs at all this would mean they would have to not consume genetically modified organisms, medicine, or change their body through exercise and supplements. During the course of one’s lifetime, it is possible to alter your body with drugs, supplements, and foods that would not be considered normal. Normal or natural does not apply to the animal kingdom. Evolution demonstrates genotype and phenotype can change with environment as well as mutation, genetic drift, or gene expression. The idea of normal may just be imaginary considering how strange biology can be. It can be flexible as well. Women who train their bodies to the highest level are altering them beyond what would be by certain standards a natural state. Supplements and exercise can push women’s physical strength to greater levels than if not done at all. Performance enhancing drugs can boost strength and speed, but they still do not make a person superhuman. Drugs can only alter certain organ systems for a period of time depending on dosage and the length of long term use. When use ends, the effects will not cause permanent change. There could be lasting side effects from abuse.
Coffee or Whey do alter the body from a normal state. Substances or drugs only become an issue when addiction occurs. This is the problem with addearall. The opioid crisis arose when doctors prescribed too many of these drugs and patients gradually got more addicted. Criminalizing drugs has created a number of problems. The War on Drugs increased the number of people in prison, targeted low income and African American communities, and remains the foundation of the prison industrial complex. There should be no fear of drugs altering humanity. It has been done since the first herbalist began exploring the medicinal properties of plants during the Paleolithic era. Various substances that we consume are not found in nature. Humanity is moving to a new era in which it can control its own biology and even possibly its own evolution through biomedical science as well as technology.
Drugs would not create superhumans. The gains made from drugs would only be temporary human enhancements. Francis Fukuyama is incorrect in saying that pharmaceutical developments could push humanity to transhumanism before genetic engineering. This type of biotechnology would be long lasting through manipulation of various genes. Drugs can only change the function of the physiology of organ systems,but not alter gene expression or sequence of DNA . There are multiple genes that are responsible for certain traits. So far, there are at least 15 different genes responsible for iris color of the eye. Certain genes can be “switched on” causing an expression. Theoretically a certain combination of genes could be switched on or off to alter a person. If the ACTN3 gene and the genes of chromosome 12 were manipulated it is very possible to create the ultimate athlete. Anabolic steroids or erythropoietin could become obsolete in the future. Gene doping may become something very common in professional sports or for recreational. Some state this creates an uneven field of competition for those who would rather not enhance themselves through drugs or genetic engineering. This could potential force some people and the wider public to remain competitive with enhanced superhumans. The position has a flaw, because our different body types make the playing field uneven. There are people who are taller, stronger, or more intelligent than others. It would seem the people who have less of these attributes would benefit more. The repercussion of this would be destroying individuality in favor of an identical conformist mob. Genetic engineering of humanity will happen,but there are serious bioethical questions that should be answered first. Technology can be either used for positive or malevolent purposes. Only when it is used responsibility possible dystopian futures be avoided.
When humanity reached the moon in 1969, this opened the door to space exploration. The possibility of human colonization of outer space has become a reality in the 21st century. However, there are challenges in this endeavor of space exploration and settlement. Space could be a harsh environment to human health. Specifically, the muscular system could be at risk in a microgravity environment such as the Moon or Mars. Physical inactivity poses a risk to astronauts in space. A study by The Journal of Physiology reached this conclusion when conducting a 21 day simulation. Living on Earth which has a higher gravitational field has made the body unaccustomed to microgravity environments. This could also effect other organ systems, which include nervous, skeletal, and cardiovascular system. There is also the challenge of hypoxic stress. There could be solutions to some of these problems, but long term spaceflight and human exploration could pose significant health risks. If this were to be done, astronauts would have to have a vigorous exercise program or an environment that could generate a gravitational field similar to that of Earth.
The experiment only used 11 subjects. What was examined was the specific mechanisms in which tissues were getting energy by means of sugars and fats by means of oxygen. The 11 active subjects would have the knee extensors examined from the exercise session. Mitochondrial respiration was determined by biopsy from the skeletal muscle tissue. Another section of the group examined whole body exercise, producing a fascinating result. The whole body exercise group result in the discovery that hypoxia could be more pronounced during whole body exercise when stress on the cardiovascular system is present. The trouble with this study is that all the subjects were male. There could be a different result for female astronauts that is not accounted for. There are going to be more female astronauts in the future and sex differences should be accounted for.
The mitochondria and muscles of men and women do not differ. However, body composition and physical fitness capacity is significant. The potential for muscular atrophy is high, Men have a higher muscle mass percentage compared to women. If muscle loss during space travel is high in them, it would be more severe in women. Musculoskeletal mass compared to males is lower in women, which means weight training or load bearing exercise is a necessity. Astronauts must have high level of fitness to survive and maintain health in space. The whole body exercise portion would be more of a precise assessment compared to examining knee extensions. The reason knee extensions were probably used is it would provide information even if you did not have female subjects. The problem with that is that men also carry more muscle in the legs as well. The physiology of oxygen transport behaves the same, but not the physical fitness capacity.
Fitness levels and an optimum health condition would need to be a requirement before going on a long terms space journey. So far, research has revealed much but more has to be discovered. The research and experiments were conducted by University of Udine, University of Pavia, University of Munich, the Swedish Aerospace physiology Centre, University of Trieste,Milano Polytechnic, and the German Aerospace Center. That impressive number of collaborators are taking the next step into space exploration. The chief investigator Bruno Grassi stated ” this research will help prepare astronauts for spaceflight and it improves our understanding of how muscles respond to long periods of inactivity in association with hypoxia.” While these gives some indications a sample size should be larger to include women. From that point other considerations should be made if space colonization becomes realized.
Women may be more likely to get struvite kidney stones, more urinary tract infections, and orthostatic intolerance. Men do not have as much of the immune system response compared to women. Being in space can also effect hearing and sight. The experiment conducted is needed to assess possible solutions to maintaining optimal health in outer space and other planets.
Hypoxia becomes a concern in space and other planets. This condition is when the tissues of the body do not have adequate amount of oxygen. The tissues of the brain, liver, and other organ systems could be damaged if they do not receive oxygen. The study indicated that inactivity is most likely more harmful to the musculoskeletal system in space. Oxygen is essential to the human body. Which explains why hypoxia is a major concern for long term space travel. Cellular respiration requires oxygen to break down sugar for adenosine triphospahte. The by products are CO2 and water. Oxygen can be considered the fuel of life. The Earth contains 21% oxygen in the atmosphere. Oxygen is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. Knowing this is essential and that the human body had adapted to gravitation this poses a challenge in attempts to create colonies on the Moon or Mars.
Mars does have a harsh environment. The atmosphere is 95.7% carbon dioxide, 2.7 % nitrogen and 1.6 % argon. The surface temperature ranges from 125 degrees celsius to 25 degrees celsius . The planet does contain frozen ice caps, which demonstrates extremes of weather. Mars has volcanoes and networks of canyons. The major hazard is ultraviolet radiation.
The air of Mars is thin in comparison to Earth. It is only 0.6 % of Earth’s atmospheric pressure, but it has enough density to allow for weather on the planet. For a space explorer dust storms pose a risk. High winds enable go through the planet moving the red sands causing both regional and planet wide sandstorms. The axial tilt of Mars is similar to Earth’s. This means Mars has similar cycles of seasons. The ice caps of Mars grow in the winter and shrink during the Martian summer. If astronauts were to go to Mars it the poles would not be a safe landing site. There would also would have to be a consideration of the danger of dust storms. If astronauts were to entering Mars when a planet wide storm happens this could mean serious peril.Mars would most likely be more harsh than some of the deserts on Earth. The planet at one time could have been Earth like and may have contained water on its surface. The evidence could be the scars seen in beds in sedate.
Physical fitness and health condition are essential to any astronaut or space traveler.
It may be possible if Mars was similar to Earth, that over a number of years it could be made habitable with human engineering. A water supply and an agricultural development would have to develop to make this viable. The planet Mars is in a current state harsh to life that attempts to settle there. Reaching Mars is the biggest challenge at the moment. According to an experiment conducted on the International Space Station, the muscles of astronauts lost 40% of their capacity to do work. This experiment had astronauts up in space for a total of 180 days. Even astronauts in the best shape experienced muscle atrophy. NASA has made a conjecture that it would take at least 10 months to reach Mars, with an intention of a one year stay. The return home would require an other 10 months. If the rate of muscle atrophy is high then this means astronauts would not have the strength to be ambulatory or mobile. The current exercise machines in ships would have to produce more loads to prevent muscular atrophy.
Holding on to muscle mass would require a high weight and low repetition workout. There are two devices that hold the solution to the issue of musculoskeletal heath. The Interim Resistive Exercise Device and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device are new technologies that could provide the exercise needed to maintain strength. Machines that contribute to cardiovascular fitness are effective, but more is needed for maintaining the health of the bones and muscles. If this is not done, long spaceflights could be a hazard to health. If people were born in environments that have gravity going to microgravity will be an immense adjustment.
The skeleton and muscles need gravitation. There also is another question related to the circulatory system. While it is clear what can happen to both the muscular and skeletal system it has not been fully elucidated what living in a microgravity can do to the cir circulatory system over an extended period of time. If circulatory system health is not optimal, this will negatively impact the entire body. There either has to be a way to reduce the time of spaceflight or make the human body adjust to the tough environment of outer space.
The Moon would be the best candidate for possible colonization. Unlike Mars, it does not have intense sandstorms. There is the issue of solar radiation and no atmosphere containing gases. Covered in craters and remains of what was likely to be volcanic eruptions. The surface gravity of Earth’s satellite is only 0.17g compared to Earth’s 1 g. The same problem with musculoskeletal could occur if one were to stay on the Moon for a long period of time. Spaceflight exercise equipment would still be a requirement. There needs to be more studies in regards to full body changes due to exposure of radiation or other matter in space. Animals or microorganisms could either be helpful or harmful to human space travelers.
Bruno Grassi stated ” the results obtained on skeletal muscles, moreover, will have to be interpreted in conjunction with those deriving from other studies of the PlanHab project, dealing with the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune and central nervous systems and metabolism.” There may even need to be an examination of various cells of the body during spaceflight. Once these problems of physical condition can be solved, travel can be made safe. If a mission to Mars is to happen, the Moon should act as an experimental terraforming site. Spacecraft will have to be more durable if it is to go on extended missions. This means its size will need to expand to accommodate housing needs, exercise space, a work area, and sanitary facilities. Such missions will require huge amounts of finance. This project should not be the task of one nation; it should be a collaborative effort among the world’s astronauts, engineers, astronomers, and astrophysicists. Space should not be militarized, but made into a place of habitable settlement for all. It will only be a matter of time before humanity is able to travel among the stars. The biggest obstacle is getting physically prepared.
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%.
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.
The Frailty Myth is a monograph written by Colette Dowling that states two questions “can women be equal to men as long as men are physically stronger ?” and “are men in fact stronger?” Dowling claims that the answer is that “strength and physical skill for all women is only a matter of learning and training.” She states that the strength gap and performance gap can close when ” when women and men are matched in size and level of training.” Her reasoning is not exactly correct. She is right that physical prowess and athleticism is not male only. There have been plenty of skilled and talent athletes that have emerged in various sports over the years. There are sociological issues that prevent women in many ways from reaching higher in the sports world. many women simply do not have the opportunity to do so. It is clear that environment does play a role. This does not mean biology does not play a role. The third wave feminist argument is to base such differences on environment only. Dowling’s work it states almost women could have sports performance levels equal to men. There are biological, anatomical, and physiological reasons why there is a performance gap. This gap will most likely shrink with sociological barriers and stigmas are eliminated. When that occurs the records may not equal men’s. Unless there is some radical change in human evolution or physiology millions of years from now, there may in our life times no significant change. If she wanted to make the best argument, her writing should have had more sources from exercise physiology journals. Without them, the text has less cogency when tested against biological, anatomical, and physiological science.
Dowling states there should be a new way of assessing performance. It does raise a legitimate question. Who and what is being compared ? Obviously the comparison is between men and women at high physical fitness levels. Comparing a female athlete to an out of shape man does not prove the argument. The assessment here should examine both male and female athletes of the same training level. The comparisons must be of women and men involved in the same sports.
Besides the biological, physiological, and anatomical differences there has to be an account for individual variation. The variation in natural physique can differ among people no matter what their biological sex is. Certain body types people are born with. Other body types are better suited for particular sports. Long distance runners are more on the ectomorphic side, compared to weightlifters. Comparisons should be of women and men who are both the same height and weight. Accurate record keeping is comparatively new to the history of sports. Since it has began, human performance has improved. The reason could be a great understanding of the human body, training methods, and improve healthcare. There is also the factor of performance enhancing drug use, which can distort data. Women too have improved, but there remains a 10% difference in performance. Granted women had to overcome ( and still do) barriers in the sports world their rise has become rapid. It is however doubtful that women would be competing with men in mixed categories in certain sports.
There are some biological differences that explain performances level variation. These differences are influenced by genes. Men contain XY chromosomes, while females just contain XX chromosomes . The difference can be seen on the 23rd pair. The SRY gene in men produces sex determining region Y protein. This protein is responsible for male characteristics. This causes the development of the testes in the fetus. This will later have an impact on the physiques of men. Women do not have this have this happen. They develop ovaries. The gonads will produce different hormones and have an effect on the endocrine system during puberty. The primary biological difference between the sexes is the reproductive system. This is also connected to hormonal differences in relation to the varying levels of testosterone and estrogen. Androgens do provide men an athletic advantage, but estrogen contributes to athletic performance. Estrogen can aid in muscle recovery after work out sessions. Some research suggests that it acts as an antioxidant prevent possible inflammation. Colette Dowling is correct in stating that this sex hormone does not put women at a disadvantage.
The female athlete has to take into considerations specific health issues. These are related to concussions, ligament or tendon injuries, or menstrual irregularities. If a woman over trains hypoestronic amenorrhoea can occur. This is a condition in which estrogen is low and periods cease. The menstrual cycle itself is not a disadvantage to women athletes, yet their still is an effect on the body. The factors that could cause female athletes to be susceptible to irregularities include low body fat, late menarche, immature reproductive axis, and poor nutrition. Biological differences do influence physical fitness capacity.
Anatomy the science of body structure also explains gaps in athletic performance. The skeleton has morphological differences between the sexes. Women’s skeleton’s are less dense .Women have a wider pelvis which effects running speed. The thoracic cage also differs in women. It tends to be rounder and not as large. A larger skeleton means that there is more room to house muscle on the body. The structure of the pelvis also makes the legs of women form what is called a Q angle. This is one reason why the fastest woman would not be able to out run the fastest man. Denser and large bones add to a biomechanical advantage. The muscular structure does not differ. Women have the same muscles, yet total amount causes the difference in absolute strength. Men have less body fat to begin with and a higher percentage of muscle. Women can still build muscle mass, yet retain a higher body fat percentage. Men have more upper body strength and women come closer to the lower body. Some researchers even believe that men’s muscle fibers might even be larger. This combined with a larger portion of type II muscle fibers allow for more power. The respiratory system of men and women also play a role in athletic performance. Women have smaller hearts and lungs, which means total aerobic capacity could be lower.
Oxygen and blood work together to provide the body energy during intense physical activity. The lungs engage in gas exchange taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The heart technically is a muscle that pumps blood. The tissue of the body requires oxygen for function. The nervous system is also active in the process of movement both voluntary and involuntary. The anatomical structures do influence performance, but function is critical as well.
Physiology describes the function of and mechanisms of an organism. The Frailty Myth would benefit from having greater explanations into sports medicine and sports science. The physiological differences also account for athletic performance gap. Oxygen has to be transported to the muscles so that it can produce adenosine triphosphate. This allows for muscular contractions. Men’s aerobic power is greater due to the fact they have higher hemoglobin levels. This makes oxygen get to the tissues faster compared to the function in a woman’s body. The greater amount of testosterone men have allows for greater protein synthesis. receptors bind to muscle cells initiating the process. This androgen also increase growth hormone which is released during exercise. It should be understood this is only one factor that is involved in muscular hypertrophy. Growth factors also contribute which include insulin, insulin like growth factor 1, heptocyte growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor. The biggest factor is metabolic function. Women metabolized food differently meaning more of it could be converted into fat stores.
Training is critical to any athlete, but diet cannot be ignored. The physiological differences in women must be accounted for if a training regimen is to be designed for maximum performance. There is still much to be learned, because most of the exercise physiology studies have been done on male athletes. Although the monograph suggest another technique of measuring performance in terms of biomechanics ( using height ), it still is clear that there is a gap. Ellis Cashmore’s mathematics is correct when measuring relative velocity between Florence Griffith Joyner and Carl Lewis. However, it is unlikely she would have reached his exact speed or surpassed it.
Dowling was quoting a ports sociologist, however the assessments of Per-Olof Astrand seem more accurate. There is room for improvement in women’s records. Overtime there will be improvement when more is discovered about the human body’s exact physiological functions. The anatomical, physiological, and biological factors are explanations for differences in performance. Yet its should be realized that other factors are playing a role in outcomes.
If the idea that women could reach physical performance levels equal to men were to be experimented, some conditions would have to change. Colette Dowling provides a great explanation of how performance is effected by sociological factors. There has been many medical myth surrounding women’s bodies and exercise. Psuedoscience from 19th century Victorian medicine was designed to discourage women from using their bodies. During that period women were thought to need a rest cure, before they entered puberty. Too much exercise was though in some circles of the medical community to cause “genital decay.” The medical community, eugenicists, and physical educators believed the only purpose a woman had was to reproduce children. The idea the female body was too weak for strenuous activity was common place. When this was disproved there were still efforts to exclude women from the sports world.
While today it has become better. it is not an equal playing field. Girls are not taught physical skills to the same degree as boys at a young age. Physical education is not taught the same way to girls. Skills such as running and throwing are not normally passed on to girls. Besides strength and speed, skill is also important to athletic performance. Boys do not naturally throw better at a young age, they are taught to. Girls rarely get that type of training from their fathers. From ages one to thirteen there is no difference in physiological capacity between girls and boys, yet the physical education standards are different. As girls mature into women, they face extreme body image pressure. The woman who wants to pursue athletic endeavors may not have access to the best training facilities. The goal of an experiment is to have the most precise measurements. These sociological factors effect measurements. Until this changes, records will only be accurate. Women have come far considering in just a short period of time. The question how much they can improve athletically is still a mystery. It would be too presumptuous to say that improvement never happen.
The concept of physical equality that Dowling proposes is a peculiar one. She states that” strength and physical skill for all women is only a matter of learning and training.” The physical capabilities of individuals vary. There are obviously men stronger than other men. Using the term physical equality implies that women are by default in a state of physical inferiority. Nature does not create organisms that are inferior. According to such logic, certain organisms should not be extinct. Neanderthals were much stronger than the homo sapiens, but failed to acclimate to a rapidly changing environment. Thus using physical strength as a basis of measuring “superiority” or “inferiority” has no scientific basis. How strong a woman can get depends on certain factors. Genetics, body type,diet, and training method account to the extent of total strength capacity.Men just on average have the ability to be physically stronger.
Sexual dimorphism is the result of millions of years of primate evolution. It has been theorized that it developed out of the specific needs of the environment and the process of sex selection. The average size and height difference between men and women relates to an emphasis on male competition for females in the human evolutionary past. If there was not such an emphasis, men and women would be of a similar size. That does not mean there cannot be variation within the human species. There is phenotypic and genotypic combinations that make individuals unique while still being part of the same species. Height, weight, and skin color vary among human populations. Being female does not automatically mean weak. Women have to train harder to reach a particular physical fitness level. This means if a woman is attempting to perform on the same physical level as a man she would have to use more of her physical power reserve.
Strength is harder for women to attain, but it can be done. It is still debatable whether or not women should train like men or have a program tailored to them. The best approach is to load bearing exercises to allow for enough micro-trauma to cause muscular growth. Smaller weights may not be as effective.
A 132 pound woman untrained should be according to rough estimates able to bench at least 64 pounds. If training remains consistent in a few months could reach 82 pounds. Jennifer Thompson who is an elite weightlifter benched 300 lbs only weighing a total of 132 herself. The average male weightlifter novice’s bench press can be 135 lbs. Women can reach a male novice lifting strength level or intermediate. Others like Jennifer Thompson could possibly overlap ( 290 lbs is the highest range for bench press). The conclusion that could be drawn follows a model of Gaussian distribution. This graphically shows the function of probability. The middle of such a graph shows the common average ( men are stronger than women ) while there are opposite ends of the graph showing showing other variables ( women stronger than men or weaker men ). Normal distribution is a useful too in statistics and analysis of data.
What can be drawn from this is that women at elite levels will not perform exactly like their male counterparts. The strongest woman will not be as strong as the strongest man. The weakest woman would be weaker than the weakest man. Through training a woman can at least reach or come close to average male strength.
An Experiment that measures hand grip strength. Looking at the pictures below it gives an idea of where men and women would fall in terms of physical strength.
The strongest women and the weakest men. Obviously them being male does not automatically make them stronger.
The strongest men and the weakest women. Men have a higher potential at gaining more strength.
It is rare that women surpass men in strength given the same training regimen. There are unique exceptions that can exist. Here is another problem with Dowling’s concept of physical equality. There are women who have surpassed men in physical strength already. The goal seems to have been reached when comparing a man of a low or average fitness level. Colette Dowling’s approach to her argument is not based on a scientific method.
The scientific method functions on particular methods to reach facts. She states her hypothesis the first step in the process. The athletic performance of both men and women is both testable and observable. It does not have compatibility with other hypothesis, although it is a newly investigated question. The claim that the strength gap will close can go through a process of experimentation. The women would be the independent variable. To get precise data one would either have to examine Olympic records or make this a controlled experiment among selected subjects. Observation has been an important part of the sciences. A controlled setting can reveal more than attempting to do this at an actual sporting event. After observation the data must be analyzed then possible conclusions can be made. The experiments must be done again to prove that the hypothesis is correct. Only then can it be called scientific fact. Men and women of the same height and weight are not equivalent in all areas of body strength. Women who are the same height and weight of a man can be estimated to have at least 80% absolute strength. What accounts for the difference is upper body size. This explains why men’s records are higher in weightlifting and shot put. Women’s records have remained stable since 1983. There remains a 10% difference in athletic performance.
When’s performance falls with in the range of a 90% ratio. This indicates that their is the possibility that women’s athletic performance can increase. There are athletic advantages women have in terms of flexibility and the utilization of fat. Looser joints aid in figure skating and gymnastics. Women may have an advantage in distance swimming due fat. This may allow for higher bouncy and reduce drag in water. It has been theorized that women may have more muscular endurance compared to their male counterparts. Women have physical advantages, it is only now that they are being examined. The conclusion is very different from Dowling’s. Women will not close the performance gap, but narrow it. It is correct to say that the female body is not biologically inferior or frail. Peak physical fitness levels are higher in men based anatomical, biological, and physiological factors. However, this does not stop women from achieving high levels of performance. As more women enter the exercise physiology field and sports science there may be new discoveries into the extent of women’s physical fitness capacity. Dowling’s work only partially withstands a scientific investigation.
As astronomers and astrophysicists discover more about outer space and the universe as a whole, there is the possibility that in the future humanity will regularly explore space. There could be chances in which humankind will engage in terraforming. There does exist exoplanets that may be Earth like. There will of course be the need for astronauts in the movement for wider space exploration. Such a journey either to reach a star or another planet would have a level of danger. Humanity reached the moon in 1969, which was the product of the Space Race during the Cold War. At that time most of the astronauts were men. Gradually, women began to become astronauts. There was and continues to be a common myth held that women are not physically fit enough for space travel. This is scientifically incorrect, yet there are still some considerations in terms of physiology and biology of a female space traveler . The environment of space can effect human health and the body. Some changes are sex specific and others occur in both. radiation, weightlessness, and effects on fertility are hazards. There are also other variables to consider for a long journey into space.
There are particular requirements to be an astronaut. Education wise astronauts must have a master’s degree or higher in a science that could include mathematics, engineering, astronomy, biology or chemistry. There are many with very diverse scientific backgrounds on ships. There is a physical an astronaut must pass. Applicants must be in the best physical condition. One requirement is that a person has 20/20 vision. Candidates must be able to handle pressure on their bodies. Under water exercise has to be done to acclimate them to the pressure of space. They must be able to swim three laps in a 25 metre pool. This has to be done without stopping. Then the same action is performed with the space suit.
The Women pioneers of space exploration as shown above include Mae Jemison, Valentina Tereshkova, Sally K. Ride, and Liu Yang.
Astronauts are basically given a scuba diving instruction. There are points in which water landing could occur and water survival training is critical. There is a height requirement which demands you be 190 cm tall to be a commander or pilot astronaut. Being a mission specialist the height requirement is less ranging from 149 to 193 cm. This may be the hardest obstacle for women,because on average they are shorter than men. This could be negated one day when spacecraft becomes more advanced. An astrouat’s routine fitness regimen involves running, biking, and weightlifting the are most essential. Endurance is required to handle the weight of space suits weighing close to 300 lbs (136 kg) . There has to be an exercise regimen while in space to prevent bone and muscle loss in space. The lack of gravitation does not give the body the work that the skeletal and muscular system need. There also has to consideration for the circulatory system. One requirement is that an applicant must have a blood pressure of 140/90. This has to be at the reading when sitting. There are situations in which face low and high levels of barometric pressure. There also involves training in reduced gravity aircraft. This contributes to a space explorer getting acclimated to microgravity environments.
These requirements need an individual to be in great shape and health. Applicants must also have some flying experience. Flying experience is only required if you want to be a commander or an astronaut pilot. The training for astronauts has become more efficient compare to when it began in the 20th century. When the simulations began in 1957, applicants had to get in planes, while sustaining the aircraft’s sinusoidal or parabolic maneuvers. A colloquial phrase for reduced gravity aircraft became the “vomit comet.” Around 1973 NASA took supervision of the the training program from the US Air Force. Then by 2008 a private company known as Zero G Corp became responsible for training. Flying in a wave pattern and reaching the midpoint of the parabolic motion allows the passenger to experience weightlessness. During this period weightlessness only lasts about 25 seconds. This will have to be done consistently to adequately prepare space travelers. This can make people ill with changes in motion. A person with extreme motion sickness may find it difficult to become an astronaut. These requirements do not seem as intense as other physically demanding occupations, but are still rigorous.
There must be a consideration of sex differences in physiology and biology. The muscular and skeletal structure are important to physical fitness. Men have on average more muscular strength compared to women. This does vary depending on health condition, age, and genetics. Men have a larger portion of upper body strength estimates vary women contain at least 40% less skeletal muscle in the upper body and 33% less in the lower body.
The reason for this is based on endocrine function. Women produce more estrogen and progesterone allowing for more body fat. Even the most muscular woman is carrying more body fat compared to a man. Androgens and specifically testosterone allow for a greater amount of muscular hypertrophy. This does not mean women cannot build muscle or strength. When a training regimen is the same for both men and women it would still result in men having a higher physical fitness level. The gap has to do also with staring point. If men have more muscle mass prior to the training regimen the gains would be higher. Weight training still has the same effect on a woman’s body, just not to the same extent. Men have more type II fast twitch muscle fibers. However, the body does switch been the more endurance based type I and the more powerful type II muscle fiber. Strength doe not only depend on the actual muscle, but the neuromuscular activity. The rate of muscular contraction is critical to exerting force. Women do experience muscular hypertrophy in which muscle grows and repairs after exercise. Relevant to space travel for extended periods of time, it women do not exercise they would experience atrophy at a faster rate.
To counter this it is essential that women build up as much strength as they can to prepare for a microgravity environment. The more musculoskeletal strength the more suited an individual is to space and longer travel. Women have lower bone density. This explains why they could be more susceptible to osteoporosis. The female skeleton has a wider pelvis and smaller thorax compared to the male skeletal structure. The reason men have an upper body advantage is that wider shoulders can allow more muscle to be housed there. More muscle correlates to more fibers being recruited to produce force. The skeleton is the frame that holds the body together, while ligaments and tendons contribute to movement as wells well as acting as structural support.
Cardiovascular fitness is also pivotal. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which effects how Vo2 max functions. Oxygen is transported to muscles to aid in the production of adenosine triphosphate for muscle contraction. A larger heart means that more blood is going to the tissues. Women have lower levels of hemoglobin which means their aerobic power is lower. Hemoglobin is a protein that must transport oxygen from the lungs to other tissues. Besides the muscular, skeletal, and respiratory system there are also considerations related to the reproductive system. Menstruation is not an issue or a hindrance. The only difference is that hygiene will have to be performed in a different manner. The more threatening waste management problems that involve urination and defecation. Gynecological health will not be effected from being on a space ship. However, there is a concern relevant to both men and women in regards to radiation in space. This could cause fertility issues, which explains why most female astronauts wait before having children. It possible for humans to procreate in outer space, but no such experiment has been attempted. It is unknown how a baby would develop in a space environment. This is why there are some restrictions on what female astronauts can do while pregnant. Female astronauts cannot do neutral buoyancy training while pregnant. Underwater dives which could last to eight hours could have negative effects on a developing child. There are some differences in how men and women react to extremes in the outer space. Reduction in oxygen supply (hypoxia), varying temperatures, acceleration, isolation, and impact are examples of sex differences. These are minor and vary depending on the individual.
There has not been an extensive study of female astronauts in terms of health and physical performance. The reality is that there have been few female long duration astronauts. The few that exist are individuals and such a small sample would not reveal anything about a much larger group of women. Female astronauts could be at higher risk for ovarian and breast cancer. Urinary tract infections are also another health concern for female astronauts. Even bacteria on women’s bodies can be altered during spaceflight. Another observation is that some astronauts suffer vision loss. There are many problems that can occur to the organ systems of the body in space. If bone is shed too much this will lead to kidney stones. This is a health problem that effects more men rather than women. There needs to be more studies of female astronauts and more in general. If humanity is seeking to colonize space or other planets women have to be a part of the process. There is obviously a gender bias in the sciences and space exploration. NASA conducted tests from 1960 to 1961 to see if women could handle the rigors of space travel. Jerrie Cobb who was a pilot who did the same medical and physical tests for Mercury astronauts at NASA. Her score placed her in the top two percent of qualified candidates. Yet, it was a period of sexist prejudice and NASA was simply not looking for female astronauts. Such barriers are being broken, but there still needs to be improvement.
Wyle qualified ultrasound procedures for diagnostic use aboard the international space station. Credit: PHOTO COURTESY OF WYLE INTEGRATED SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING GROUP
Staying in space would have long term effects on health and the human body. The reason has to do with how humans evolved. Our ancestors developed in an environment with gravity and space has a zero gravity environment. That is why bones and muscles are effected from a sudden change in environment. Human beings are just like other animals in the sense that their biome is essential to their survival. Outer space is a more rough terrain than any desert, polar ice cap, or ocean. The health effects can only be fully understood when one stays in space for a period of time.
Remaining in space can cause a change in the human body. The semimotor system gets disrupted to a degree. The inner ear is responsible for balance an when this is disturbed one can get nausea. Sinuses could get clogged due to the fluids of the body floating upward. The skeleton can lose mass and it is possible for astronauts to lose about 1 percent each month. Muscles can atrophy from not being used in a microgarvity environment. There is a solution to such problems which include taking vitamin D supplements and exercising 2 hours and 30 minutes six days a week. The cerebrospinal fluid may be effected by the microgravity, which results in changes in vision. Although there is the possibility of changes in physical health, mental health is also given attention. Being with a small crew away from larger populations can effect emotional states. This information can reveal much about how women would fare in long term space exploration. Seeing as their muscle and bone mass is lower it would be wise to do strength training prior to training as a astronaut. The rate of muscular atrophy would be faster compared to men. Men and women with ectomorphic body types may be more vulnerable to bone and muscle loss.
Doubtless of sex each person could react differently to space. Long journeys are complicated by radiation and the fact that the magnetic field of Earth protects us from such hazards. Going further into space would require more technology to maintain a healthy body. Even with exercise equipment, muscles of astronauts can lose up to 40% of their capacity for work. Planning an expedition to Mars would be vary precarious. The Journal of Physiology conducted a study in regards to the effect of weightlessness on muscles. The results showed that astronauts lost about 35% of their muscle fiber force. NASA has estimated it would take at least 10 months to reach Mars and 10 months to get back for one mission. Space does pose health hazards, but it is an unexplored wilderness still filled with unknown possibilities. There are exoplanets, blackholes, stars, nebula formations, and dark matter.
The solution to the threat to muscular health was to develop the Advanced Resistance Exercise Device. It is unknown if this new technology would be as effective in combating muscular atrophy. The only way to know with certainty is to measure the amount of muscle loss astronauts sustained when coming back from space. This exercise technology has been around since 2008, prior to that there was very little effective workout equipment for training the muscles. Exercise and high quality diet can prevent health issues on flights.
NASA did conduct a study in which it examined how men and women handle spaceflight. The problem is the study only contained about 57 female astronauts. There were more men representing a total of 477. The records were examined between 2013 to 2017. The report showed that men had a greater tolerance for spaceflight in particular categories. Women were less likely to have hearing loss or vision impairment. Women according to the study lose more blood plasma and have a higher heart rate under stressful situations. There is very little difference in immune system response to space. Both men and women suffer from motion sickness during space travel. It happens at different times. Women experience it when arriving in space, while men have it coming back to Earth. The overall leading heath risk seems to be visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome. NASA and the International Space Station want to extend missions beyond six months to a year .
The conclusion that one would automatically come to is that women do not make quality astronauts. This is not true, but it reveals how possible solutions can be developed. More women are need for such studies to ensure precision in experiments. Spacecraft will have to either increase in speed or navigate in a manner in which one can easily travel from one point of space to another instantly. This has been theorized by astrophysicists in which traversable wormholes could be used to go long distances. Doing so would allow humanity to avoid certain health hazards. Distance is the biggest obstacle. Alpha Centari another closest to Earth is 4.4 lightyears away. This means it would take light 4.4 years to reach Alpha Centari from Earth. One astronomical unit is equal to 150 million km ( 93 million miles ). Humanity will have to go far to reach something of interest. NASA must then study the problem of long term spaceflight from perspectives of exercise physiology, health science, biology, aeronautical engineering. and the general astrophysics of space.
Women are capable enough to handle spaceflight. There are some considerations that should be taken into account in terms of physiology and fitness. Muscle atrophy and bone loss are serious concerns. They can be negated to an extent through training and technology. There are sex specific health related issues that must be examined. Some wonder why explore space at all. There are legitimate and practical reasons. The first reason is that it part of human nature to be curious and explore. Since the first hominins migrated off the continent of Africa humanity has been colonized the Earth. The Bantu migrations, the Polynesian migrations, the Turko-Mongol nomads, and the Age of Exploration prove humanity does not remain still. The next step will be to go into space. Another reason for space exploration is to find and colonize Earth like planets. Seeing as the Earth is being destroyed by climate change and disregard for the preservation of the environment that would be more reasonable. There will be more exploration in the future and it will only be a matter of time before masses of people will travel through space. Hopefully a generation of female astronauts will be contributors to this project.
Lunau, Kate. “Why We Desperately Need to Study More Female Astronauts.” Motherboard, Motherboard , 19 Apr. 2016, motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4xa38j/why-we-desperately-need-to-study-more-female-astronauts-NASA-Sally-Ride.