Psychology Today : Do Tests of Physical Ability Discriminate Against Women ?

Do Tests of Physical Ability Discriminate Against Women? What skills are really needed to succeed in physical labour jobs?

This article published by Psychology Today proposes a simple question. Are tests of physical ability discriminatory against women. This depends on several factors. To answer such a question one has to understand what the definition of discrimination is and what is not classified as discrimination. The nature of the test must be determined and whether or not it has relevance to the duties of the job. If such tests have to be adjusted, it would have to be done in a way that does not have unqualified workers doing less while the more qualified are doing more. If just adjustments were to be made then you would have to prove that women were at a physiological and fitness disadvantage. Also affirmative action policy would have to changed. Psychology’s relation to physical testing has to do with applied and industrial psychology. Industrial and organizational psychologists are trained in adjusting workplaces to maximize productivity. They also serve to develop programs to train employees or engage in  market research. They also seek solutions to retain employees. This is why the American Psychological Association published a study called” A Meta-analysis for Sex Differences in Physical Ability : A Revised Estimates and Strategies for Reducing Differences in Selection Context ”   in 2013. The goal was to see what could be done to improve women’s performance in physically demanding occupations. This study was significant, because it examined what could be done to close fitness gaps, rather than reporting obvious differences. Tests of physical ability do serve a purpose, yet it can be debated if they are specifically discriminatory against women.

             Discrimination can be defined as ” the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different people or groups based on their race, sex, religion, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”  This can also include people with physical or mental disability. Discrimination extends to employment . The United States has a long history of discrimination and prejudice. White men were guaranteed the best jobs and it was not until the Civil Rights Act of  1964 did such blatant discrimination was challenged. African Americans,Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, and women were segregated in the workforce. There still continues to be a challenge of  reducing discrimination in the economy and workplace. The difference in America now is that it is more covert exposing its self in anti-affirmative action legal cases and right-wing political agendas. Relevant to women, their  lack of numbers in physically demanding occupations is not entirely discrimination based. It could come down to the choice women make in their career fields. That example would not be enough to constitute discrimination.

If women who applied for these positions and were turned away simply because of their sex that is discrimination. The ban on women in combat would constitute discrimination. There are obviously women who are physically capable of meeting the standards, however even if they were to compete for those positions it would have been denied to them if they were female. This is also happening under the Trump administration’s attempt to ban transgender service members. Being different does not give indication to job performance. These acts of discrimination are designed to favor a ruling group or class. Positions should be filled with the best qualified applicants, not because you are favored by society. This also leads to what does not constitute discrimination. A woman simply failing a physical test does not indicate discrimination. The purpose is to section off candidates who may not be as capable. The counter argument is that this may accidentally weed out more women compared to men.

           If  the assumption is that physical tests are discriminatory to women, the same could be said of it being discriminatory to unfit males. However, there is no argument to make that case. Here the assumption is that men would just be better at physical task. That is not the case if a large spectrum of individuals is examined. Seeing as more men are employed and apply to be coal miners, police officers, steel workers, firefighters, and construction workers it is statistically more likely they would experience discrimination.

It is rare that men take such cases to federal  court. Arguing from this perspective, the following questions arise. If one makes the statement that physical ability tests are unfair to women how would that explain who are a capable being able to meet such standards?  Why does this not apply to men who are not of a high physical fitness level? This also comes to the question of lowering standards. The answer to the first questions can be reasoned to. Obviously, physical tests would be unfair if women were physically inferior to men. This is not true, considering women can increase their muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness. The reason the same concern does not apply to men is it is assumed that they can handle more rigorous physical activity. This assumption is false, because men’s physical fitness levels vary. This is why the idea of lowering standards is irrational. Holding men to a higher fitness qualification for the same position also is unequal. Jay Baur was applying to be an FBI agent, but failed to meet the 30 push up minimum. Women only have to do 14 push ups. He took his case to the U.S Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The courts ruling was a flawed one. The panel concluded : “men and women simply are not physiologically the same for the purposes of physical fitness programs.”  The panel went on further to state “In other words, equally fit men and women demonstrate their fitness differently.” The problem with this reasoning it assumes women are just too frail to reach certain physical demands and need a simple version of fitness. While their are obvious differences, that does not mean there cannot be a single standard.

Men are held to a higher standard, which may create an atmosphere of hostility. It makes it appear as if the job was just handed to women, instead of earned legitimately. Such double standards do not have a place in professions. Three of the judges also added this assessment to their conclusion : ”  whether physical fitness standards discriminate based on sex, therefore, depends on whether they require men and women to demonstrate different levels of fitness.” It is clear here that men and women were demonstrating different levels of fitness. Baur only got 29 total push ups on his physical assessment. Push ups relevant to this case may not be the best measure of  fitness required for an FBI agent. There is no reason men and women cannot reach the maximum of 30 push ups, with some training. This puts into question on how precise physical ability tests are.Physical ability tests can be discriminatory against both sexes and cause candidates who could be capable to be screed out accidentally.

         The accepted measures of  fitness in regards to physical ability tests include muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, and movement quality. Muscular strength can be described as the ability to exert force and exert power. This also includes muscular endurance. Cardiovascular endurance describes how long physical activity can be sustained. Movement ability refers to balance, flexibility, and coordination. These are areas in which women must have high levels of. The findings of the meta-analysis report showed that men out scored women in muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. There was no difference in movement ability. Women can actually outperform men in reaction time, dexterity, and visual acuity.   The data was collected from the tests of  firefighters, steel workers, construction workers, coal miners, and police officers.

Training did improve women’s performance in terms of muscular strength, but it did not entirely eliminate sex differences in physical fitness capacity. Courtwright makes the claim that tests that measure muscular strength and muscular endurance  are over emphasized. There are jobs that this physical fitness marker is important. However, other elements of physical fitness may be ignored which would favor women. This means that tests of physical ability must be more specific in its assessments. If a test of physical ability only measures a few markers, then it is only accurate not precise. Then there is the problem of how to interpret those measurements. When separate muscle groups and regions were examined it showed a narrow difference in strength between the sexes in the study. The conclusion that can be extrapolated is that there are differences in men and women’s physical fitness capacities. Understanding the biological and physical differences can allow for better training programs for women.

       Knowing the differences in physical fitness capacity allows for a practical approach. Women will have to have a high physical fitness level before attempting to take physical ability tests. This also is a wise idea for men as well, because it will prevent injuries of candidates. Women can increase their strength through weight training. One does not need to reach the level of a professional athlete to pass a physical test. An applicant should acquire the list of qualifications and then do research. A training regimen should be adjusted around that set of requirements.

Women do have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level. If women are to perform on the same level as a man physically, they would have to use more of their maximal energy and force . The biggest difference is seen in upper body strength. Women contain less muscle mass in this region of the body. The estimate is about a 30% difference in terms of upper body strength.There is less difference in the lower body. The basic information that can be extracted from this is that it will be harder for women to pass physical fitness tests. Men have on average more type II muscle fibers, which allow for greater bursts of physical power. The difference in body composition and endocrinology as explain men’s higher strength levels.

This means that more men will probably pass physical ability tests compared to their female counterparts. Seeing as historically discrimination has worked against women in these professions the numbers may never be equal. The attempts to recruit women either take two methods. The first is to design training programs to increase their physical fitness level. The other is to lower standards. The first option is more rational considering these jobs require a high level of competence.

       There are a small minority of advocates who believe standards should be lowered to increase the number of women. Such a policy would be ludicrous and possibly dangerous. Having candidates be employed at a lower standard would jeopardize operations. Women who claim to be feminists advocate lower standards just because they think more numbers in a field would equate to more equality. Simply having more women in a field does not mean the institution will become a place of gender equality. This does a disservice to women who can meet the standards. Simultaneously, it creates resentment in male colleagues who believe that women were simply given the job due to their sex, not qualification. It also empowers detractors and their myths claiming their are some jobs women are just not designed for. Women have to prove they can do the same tasks as men. Not doing so, only harms their advancement.This is why some institutions are developing what are referred to gender neutral standards. The US military has developed this for men and women entering combat jobs. The term does not seem accurate, because it is one unified standard in which all applicants must pass. Women are capable of doing this a some examples of standards prove it :

• Swim 500 yards 12:30 9:00
• Push-​​ups 50 90
• Curl-​​ups a.k.a. Sit-​​ups 50 85
• Pull-​​ups 10 18
• Run 1.5 miles 10:30 09:30

fitness standards for special operations in the US military 


An example of Police Department fitness standards 

This tasks would not be a problem for the female athlete. The average woman with limited training would struggle. If there are women who obviously are more than fit enough to pass there is no reason to lower standards.

        Physical ability tests are not discriminatory tools. They can be designed to be that way. If women were given tests that male applicants did not have to do that would be discriminatory. If a test just emphasizes upper body exercises then this can be challenged legally. sex differences cannot be eliminated entirely, but reduced through training. The although gains from training are modest for women, one does not need to be an elite athlete to meet certain standards required of a physically demanding occupation. These occupations account for 28% of the US labor force. Some many even disappear. Coal mining is based around a finite resource. It would be a major error to think such an industry would last forever. If women want to see the pay gap close, they must enter fields that are male dominated. While women are entering business, politics, and law they also must enter the physically demanding occupations. Doing so, would shift the direction of capital. Women would should not just seek to be workers, but leaders and administrators in such areas. Using methods of industrial psychology and exercise physiology can make women’s movement into these fields much easier. That means accepting and passing physical ability tests. The only way these tests could be considered discriminatory is if they were deliberately stopping women. Lowering standards is unjustified, because it operates on the notion women are physically inferior. If physical ability tests are precise in their measurements and assessments they will acquire the candidates they need for a job position.

Psychology Today : Do Tests of Physical Ability Discriminate Against Women ?

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

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

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

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

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

Sexual dimorphism is visible evidence of the human evolutionary past. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Garrison , Laura. “6 Modern Societies Where Women Rule.” Mental Floss, Mental Floss , 3 Mar. 2017,

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

Hidden Obsessions & Female Muscle

Hidden Obsession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hidden Obsessions & Female Muscle

Sports Are Silly – An Essay From It’s The Women Not The Men: Surviving Feminism

Sports Are Silly

The essay produced from It’s The Women Not The Men: Surviving Feminism is an example  of dated gender roles, sexism, and the promotion of  extremist far-right politics . Feminism has a multitude of flaws, just like any other ideology, but say it is destructive to society is an over exaggeration. The author proclaims how second wave feminism has changed society for the worst and presents her writings as “warnings to young women.”  As the author describes  her  warnings as :”  my blog will show that the dramatic rise of immoral and destructive behavior among women can repeatedly be traced back to the public encouragement of this behavior, as “liberating”, by an irrational, radical, second-wave feminist “leader” or a misguided, female academic’s ambiguous feminist theory.” She explains further : “through my research, my personal experience, and that of my fifteen, formally fabulous, friends, I will illustrate the damage unleashed on our society by women wallowing in the erroneous theories of personal “independence”, “emancipation”, “freedom”, “self-expression” and “liberation”, specifically, “sexual liberation.” K.Q Duane is a self described essayist who clearly falls into the philosophy of Phyllis Schlafly. A extreme conservative who opposes social and political change in every area of life. The author clearly has a fundamentalist Christian bent saying ” the leaders of this radical, anti-Christian feminist movement were only interested in the limelight, and in the impersonal, and superficial, results of their theories. They were NOT interested in the tragic losses their troops would suffer while trying to become “liberated”, feminist “Superwomen.” It is obvious that the author does not approve of women having control of their lives or freedom. The evidence is clear when she discusses sports. She makes the claim that certain sports are designed for men and women should not take part in them. It should be understood that political extremism does not just express its self in a public atmosphere; it enters cultural spaces.

          Sports can be in a way a frivolous activity. Minus the sexism and misogyny of the author’s essay and convictions  America has become so obsessed  with sports to a ludicrous degree. There is not one day that goes by in which some one is not talking about football, basketball,  or baseball.  More Americans could probably describe sports better than how their government functions. Hardcore sports fans would be able to name their favorite athlete, theirs statistics, and how many games in a simple fashion. Sports has almost become a second religion to people in the US. The claim that the “America stopped constructing huge cathedrals more than 100 years ago and today we are building huge stadiums instead, while those same cathedrals are being closed” is false. America actually is so fanatic with Christianity it is causing a divide in our government and politics. There are Americans who reject evolution on religious grounds, oppose abortion, and oppose gay rights for the same reason. Another contradiction of the American fundamentalist Christian movement is that they say they support religious freedom, but have an intense prejudice of Muslims. Islamophobia, sexism, and racial intolerance are pillars of the fundamentalist Christian movement. Christian Identity movements are now a growing section of hate groups in America. With all this division and hate it would see as if sports could provide a unifying force.




Entertainment is thought to be a neutral ground in which conflict can be put aside. This is not true especially with sports. Sports is another extension or battleground for politics. It can serve as a distraction to a population when their are economic and social challenges. The gladiator fights were not just a method of dealing with conquered peoples or slaves,  it was a way to entertain the Roman population. The US does this in a similar manner with Football and the tradition of the Super Bowl. Focusing on a game rather than the corrupt and ineffective government in Washington stops real change from happening. Sports have become a serious element of peoples lives. It does go to an excessive degree. Professional sports generate huge profits from merchandise, advertisement, and ticket sales. It is also tied to the fitness industry in terms of athletic apparel and training equipment. Athletes can be seen in Nike and Adidas products.

Such a flow of money on games does seem comical. The funds generated from the professional sports world could best be used on infrastructure projects and public schools. There are Americans who complain about their taxes, but do not complain about the money they spend on sports related activities. Another element is how universities do exploit the students who play sports. While a sports scholarship does provide opportunity for some, there is question about priorities. A new term has emerged known as the student athlete. The priority should be to complete one’s higher education, rather than being a sports star. If this is a career path a student wants to follow they should realize that many have attempted and it is very competitive. Becoming a Micheal Jordon or Robert Griffin III is rare. Students should not be discouraged from trying  if that is their goal. It is pivotal to have other plans as a contingency if the first one does not succeed. It does seem a bit excessive how parents push their kids into sports they may not even like. There are soccer moms and football dads who think they are going to mold the next super star athlete. Such reasoning does seem ridiculous. They are children and the most important part of their development is learning how to navigate the world. The only purpose of children playing sports is to teach them how to work in teams and have a positive attitude in regards to physical activity. There are behaviors that are silly, but there is a reason that people do these activities.

          Sports for some viewers provide a refuge from the turmoil of daily life. It is another escape, which provides a level of comfort under stress. Hobbies are not just designed to occupy time; they allow for a sense of psychological relief. The constant bombardment of negative news, a failing political structure, economic struggle, and a culture of animosity can cause distress. Sports can be a shield to such negativity. People as do this with their religion. The reason people still maintain their religion is that it gives them a sense of comfort. It provides them with answers ( although not rational ones ) to a complicated existence. The problem is that people become extreme with their religion and want to impose such convictions on everyone else. The essay condemns women and men who like the idea of women playing sports “designed for men” yet fails to realize sports globally has women of various backgrounds participating. The devotion to such activities has to do with comfort and a coping strategy for uncertainty.

 Other than questions of ontology religion is also a culture. It has a set of memes passed on through the generations. Should it be that these two rituals of religion and sports are just as silly as one another? Yes, they can be. People engage in particular activities without even questioning them or believe they are absolute truths. There are norms and mores that people adhere to without a specific reason only on the basis it is a long held tradition. It is more than okay to like sports or religion, yet this should not mean you should stop using critical thinking skills. Dogma becomes so powerful that it wraps decision making skills, behavior, and conduct in daily life. Girls and women playing sports is no more ridiculous than the belief systems one chooses to adopt. Certain beliefs and actions may seem that way to others, but to particular individuals it provides solutions. For conservatives who claim they champion freedom, they do not mean this. Freedom also involves the freedom of choice. That means you believe in what you want and can do what you want just as long as it does not harm anyone else. Sports are a leisure activity in which both men and women can participate in.

          The distorted thinking about sports is that there are “men’s” sports and there are “women’s” sports. The author holds to a backward belief that certain sports are male only and are designed for men. Anyone can compete in sports or physical activity. Sexist prejudice has blinded many into thinking that sports are male only and that women are just not capable athletes. Not only is this misogynistic, it is a fabrication. There are plenty of women and young girls who show skill, strength, and speed.

Sports are not activities designed for men. Women have been a part of sports since ancient civilization. Spartan women for example run, threw javelins, and did swimming. The women of ancient Egypt participated in ball games and acrobatic dance. Africa has a long tradition of wrestling in which women also became active in. Women wrestlers could be found in the Diola, Yala, and Njabi ethnic groups. This was a ritual done more so as a rights of passage into adulthood. There are no ” sports designed for men. ” As long as one has the skill and fitness they can play them. The author cites that ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, and basketball are sports for males. Women are capable of playing these sports and so are girls. K.Q Duane’s objection to this is based on a strict and dated view about femininity and gender roles. Sportswomen or girls in sports in her view are not real females. She even states ” isn’t her being a girl good enough for you?” This goes to the root of sexist thought. There are some things people who have this belief think women should not do. Even if they are capable, it is not considered proper. The role of women in the social conservative and traditionalist mindset is that a woman should only be a wife or a mother. Their role is to maintain a home and produce children. This attitude does not value freedom or personal decisions. Having a wider identity is reserved for men only. This has changed and there has been a backlash to women advancing in areas that were male dominated. Sports seems to be another bastion that there is the most negative reaction directed at women from being participants in.

The pseudoscientific explanations are normally used to  justify women not playing sports or getting involved in physical activity. The persistent and factually incorrect one is that the female body is too weak for vigorous activity. The frailty myth was used a means of saying women were biologically inferior. It was once believed that if women played too much sports it would harm their reproductive capability. Women needed the rest cure when reaching puberty to handle the role of motherhood. Victorian Age 19th century medicine promoted such beliefs designed to restrict women from use of their bodies. Some women challenged this falsehood by cycling, getting involved in archery, and croquet. When it was demonstrated that women could handle physical strain, detractors used another argument. Women playing sports was simply unladylike and unfeminine. Today’s attitudes are more accepting of women of different body types, however body image still continues to pressure women. Women who exhibit powerful physiques are subject to unfair ridicule and criticism. This not only done by men, but women are also part of the systematic ostracism.  The author is part of this problem by saying  “women who deliberately act and look butchy deny themselves, and the world, their irretrievable and fleeting beauty forever, which is very sad and a great loss for everyone, especially themselves.” Projecting strength, confidence, and independence is not being less feminine, but are necessary traits  needed to survive in the world. Her homophobia is clear by using such language. To Duane the only value a woman has is in her looks, rather than the content of her character. Women are nothing more than ornaments to some people, rather then a free person. Women can be whatever they choose to be. This concept that certain women are not “real” women is backward.


It is unfortunate that women’s actions and behaviors are still judged in the context of narrow minded gender stereotypes. The image of woman still continues to be one of being weak and helpless . When such falsehoods are exposed, there is a backlash. The social conservatives and the religious right view women in a lower status context. They justify this lower status designation by the Bible. Eve was the product of Adam’s rib. God created man first and woman followed second. Eve took a bite of the apple resulting in the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Prior to this Adam did have another woman named as Lilith. However, she showed too much independence and was banished then replaced with Eve. The story of Genesis demonstrates the misogyny of monotheistic religions. Woman’s only role was to serve her husband or be a mother. Ancient civilizations worshiped goddesses. The rise of organized religion placed women in an inferior status. Many who are part of this section of conservatives do not believe women should have any role in the public sphere or workplace. Sports to them is the ultimate expression of masculinity and women playing them there for violates nature. There simply is no violation of nature, because these are games invented by people.

         The myths about women’s bodies continue to be propagated. One is that they are not designed for strength or power. The frailty myth has been used as a justification to exclude women from sports. Any athlete can be subject to injury whether they are male or female. This also is related to the idea that women must be protected from certain activities. Protectionism and guardianship limited women’s independence in a legal context. Women needed either permission from their husbands to open bank accounts or get credit cards. Women if they were not married needed to be supervised by a male guardian. The fact was this was not ensure women’s safety or well being, rather it was designed to keep them subordinate to male authority. Saudi Arabia has a system like this, but that is changing as women are needed to be active in the labor force. A woman’s body is strong than previously thought. However, it is true that women are subject to higher injury rates due to specific differences. Looser joints, smaller tendons, and ligaments increase they possibility of injury. This means there has to be considerations in contact sports. Anterior cruciate ligament tears are more frequent in the female athlete. There can be prevention of such injuries in adults and children. Working on weak muscle areas and increasing hamstring strength can help. Learning the right techniques in jumping and pivoting properly can contribute to preventing ligament or tendon based injuries.

     Another area women involved in sports  should pay attention to is the shoulders. Women are at risk for shoulder injuries, if they so not train their upper bodies properly. Musculoskeletal injuries are prevalent in women who are in physically demanding occupations. The only solution to this is that women must incorporate weight training into their fitness program. Doing so builds the bone and muscle mass required to withstand strain and force.

Athletes should be mindful of overuse injuries. Relevant to children it should be recognized that their bodies are still developing. The author discusses injuries in girls, yet people do not take the harm it does to boys. The boys are expected to withstand the abuse to an unreasonable degree. The problem with this is that it creates a culture of male disposability and sheltered female. Children should not be treated in the same way as professional athletes. Being young and sustaining concussions will effect health later in life. The health of athletes should be  a priority whether young or adult. Sports are played a little differently meaning that they are rougher. Referees should not let fouls be ignored, just because fans want to see more violence in their games. Sports injuries can be managed and prevented. Girls and women can play any sport just as long as weight classes are respected. The female body has been seen a fragile for so long people think its biological fact. There are girls that wrestle boys oh teams in schools , because there are not enough to form a girls  for them. So far, there have not been mass injuries. Being female does not automatically equal weakness.

          There is a cultural and gender bias against women in sports. Women who show strength are compared to men and are considered gender inappropriate. Sociologically, this describes the behaviors and codes of conduct men and women are going to follow in a society. Those who violate that schemata or role are shunned or excluded from the mainstream. The author proclaims “girls should be girls”  and expounds further : ”  they can volunteer at the hospital, day care center, soup kitchen or at church. She then pontificates  “they can learn to sing, paint, garden, cook, dance, sew, quilt or do needlework. ” It is almost bizarre that such ideas are still present in the 21st century.Women can still do all these activities  and play sports. Domesticity should not be the only part of a woman’s identity or function. There are women who challenge stereotypes and biases everyday.

There should be no contradiction between being strong and a woman. Religion and traditional family values if they want to survive have to change to function in modern day society. The concept that everyone should be married or have a nuclear family simply will not work in rapidly changing societal shifts. More people are in the developing world choosing not to have children or avoid marriage. There is nothing wrong with this, because it does not work for everyone. There may come a time when the social custom becomes obsolete. Families are not all the same either. There are extended families, single parent households, or adopted ones. The idea that feminism or gay marriage is destroying the family is incorrect. The destruction came from economic decline and the failure of neoliberal capitalism. Women in sports are just like other women. They are just involved in an area that has been male dominated. Prejudice and bias blinds people judgement to the extent of not making factual assessments. Strong women can display beauty and femininity. This may not be everyone preference, but there are different types of beauty.

There seems to be a movement toward body acceptance in regards to larger women. The question is why are women who are in another kind of body shape are not a part of this. Many times other women are the most vociferous detractors of women going into male dominated fields. This can be explained by how some women are raised. To extent women are raised with a level of self loathing and hate.This manifests itself in either low self esteem or be hypercritical of other women. Some even go as far to say “why are these women destroying themselves?” Sex bias is present in both the political left and right. This seems more surprising for  the left considering they pride themselves on “tolerance.”

The Young Turks do not seem liberal when it comes to body image. 

They may use the rhetoric of  gender equality, but do not attempted to advance such causes. There is only tolerance up to a certain level. The conservative view point is so blatantly misogynistic in terms of the restriction on reproductive rights and the refusal to address unequal pay.  The Donald Trump presidency demonstrates that their still is a huge amount of sex bias in American society. Donald Trump has been known for his sexual misconduct and sexism, but continues to get praise from conservative allies. There continues to be cases of both Republican and Democratic politicians who have engaged in sexual misconduct. It is no surprise that women also face the same issues in the sports world. Female athletes are paid less and are subject to disrespect. Female sportscasters are to do more to prove they are knowledgeable and also face sexual harassment in the workplace. Women who are in the sports world have to struggle against dated cultural bias, which believes women have in place in such activities. Only when these convictions change can real progress be made.

          Sports and physical activity does have benefits to health. This is probably more important for women due to differences in anatomy and physiology. Women have less dense bones and as the human body ages bone mass is not replaced as rapidly. Women have a higher chance of getting osteoporosis due to this difference. Children who have a positive attitude in regards to physical activity most likely will continue exercise habits as adults. Obesity is become a public health issue, but for women it can be more precarious. Due to differences in endocrinology it is harder for them to lose weight. Estrogen and progesterone  allow for more fat to be stored on the human body. The statement that “at the very least, most will eventually become obese” when they stop sports as children is incorrect. This can only happen if calorie intake is high and their is limited or no physical activity. It also depends on what type of diet the girl or woman is eating.It would be hard to gain mass amounts of weight on vegetables or fruit. Diets high in sugar, fat, and high fructose corn syrup can cause weight gain in a much more rapid manner. Muscles do not turn into fat when someone stops exercising; they merely atrophy. Keeping physically active through out life can prevent disease and other aliments associated with aging. You do not have to train intensely like a professional athlete. It could be just shorts periods.

   K.Q. Duane does not seem to have a grasp of exercise physiology. It is strange that conservatives normally despise science, yet they may use it to justify their discriminatory practices. The last excuse used to discriminate or say women are inferior is that men are stronger than women. While this is biological fact, it does not mean women cannot be strong. Thus, the argument that women are biologically inferior has no scientific basis. Women have more durational strength seeing as they live longer. The fact that women live longer means also they have a higher chance of getting diseases related to age. If more women are living longer than men, statistically they would be at a higher risk for dementia. Alzheimer’s disease will be a global health crisis as world populations live longer. Girls getting involved in sports is not a terrible thing. Title IX did not just address inequality in education it had an effect on women’s health. Girls and women were becoming more physically active and this was a positive development on women’s health. Being too sedentary or inactive can have a negative impact on a person’s health.

      It cannot be ignored that feminism, and particular third wave feminism has major flaws. The author has an objection to second wave feminism, but this phase of the movement was not completely irrational. Securing employment, education, and financial independence are critical to being free in society. Radical feminists were once a small and isolated section, however their idea were revived in the 1990s under the third wave. They do not want equality,but subscribe to a philosophy of power accumulation. They want policies that only benefit women ( who are white and middle class ) at the expense of other groups. The power feminism movement thrives on promoting gender antagonism. Men are demonized as either oppressors or violent brutes. Protests and discussion is nothing more than laughable spectacle. Sluts walks are a form of protest to combat sex violence, yet are lost in the frivolous action of it all.

    While protest is an effective unconventional method, there should be attempts to fight within the legal and political system. It requires more women to run for office and become familiar with the law. A successful and enduring movement is not going to happen with protests and manufactured social media consent. The reality is that while third wave feminists claim to want equality there are some aspects of life that they do not want it. The reason is that to an extent it provides benefits that suits them. Family law and conscription who in women’s favor. Women are more likely to get more out of divorce and receive alimony. Women even though combat positions are open to them are not required to register for the draft. Even basic interpersonal relationships have been to a degree distorted. Men are the ones who still have to initiate courtship and put in more effort in to a relationship. It is very rare that a woman would pay for dinner or ask a man out. Why does this not change in an age of  so called “equality “? It is the mere fact that women want the benefits of having some freedom, bu not the responsibility that comes with it. This then swings back to victim feminism in which women need so form of protection.

  It makes it seem as if women are not capable of making their own decisions and should not be held accountable for their actions. This explains why in child custody women are favored of the father, because females are viewed as automatic victims. The idea of innocent female nature is a fabrication. Women can be capable of domestic and child abuse. While the numbers in comparison to men, these cases may not be taken seriously due to notions based on gender stereotypes. The rise of Donald Trump and the alternative right has only caused more division in terms of sex relations. The racial divide is obvious, yet there is one in terms of sex has become much wider since the feminist movement and sexual revolution. More women are taking an antagonistic view in regards to men in general, even when there are a portion who disagree with the culture of misogyny. The third wave feminists alienate men who could be allies in their efforts. What America is witnessing now is a disintegration into political factions, interest groups, race based or sex based organizations. There is no solidarity even in the left-wing or progressive movement. The United States is doomed to be destroyed by its own hate and venom. Third wave feminism has become one of many contributors to America’s slow and cancerous decline. It is lugubrious that a movement for social progress degenerated in such a way.

         Any rational person can conclude that Duane’s thesis is flawed.  Her statements are nothing more than opinions, which have limited factual support:    “the point of my post was that young women should never be encouraged to play sports specifically designed for men. Football, ice hockey, baseball, Lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, etc. women cannot handle the strength requirements of those sports and as a result, they get seriously injured AND inevitably, look ridiculous!” Sports historically were games that branched off into other functions. Some historians believe they were developed for the sake of military training. Others have proposed that they were merely religious or hunting rituals. They were not designed for men; it was just that men invented them. According to that logic women should not be involved in science, because men contributed more to that as well. What was written was a distortion of historical fact. Women will continue to participate in all types of sports, whether people approve or not. They are not projecting an image of being “ridiculous” it is one of power,grace, beauty, and strength. Young girls see this image and it improves their sense of self.

 Sports can benefit young girls and women. There should be consideration for health and possible sex specific injuries. Denying girls and women opportunities is discriminatory. The repulsive part about this is that people who try to deny women equal opportunities or rights try to disguise it as genuine concern. The short little essay uses this technique. Such uninformed opinions do require thoughtful rebuttals. Women after being restricted for so long are now seeing the benefits of fitness and physical activity. This has either threatened men or made some women jealous. This should not be view as destructive, but positive. It demonstrates that if you work had enough all dreams are possible. That has been an American ideal ( although not an actual truth ). Seeing women in the Olympics when only 97 years ago they just began to vote is a remarkable leap of progress. If this nation and world is to survive, women and men must be allowed to fulfill their potential in whatever area unrestricted. Women are entering a new age in which they will have more opportunity and power than women of the past did. These developments should be praised. Sports and general are a frivolous pastime, yet it serves as a safe escape. Women are both athletes, fans, and sportscasters. This will only help the culture grow and thrive.

Sports Are Silly – An Essay From It’s The Women Not The Men: Surviving Feminism

BBC Future: “What If Women Were Stronger Than Men ?”

What If Women Were Physically Stronger Than Men ?

BBC Future is a section posted on there website discusses topics in regards to science, health, and technology. Its mission statement is ” making you smarter everyday.” It claims not to be a futurology based website, yet it seems to have elements of it. Predictions  that can be borderline outrageous are common with a sensational touch. BBC Future in its own words wants to be ” a guide to how to live more intelligently in a fast changing world.” Although most articles focus on technology and science, there was one that poses a question that can only be formulated through conjecture. Rachel Nuwer wrote the article “What If Women Were Stronger than Men ?”  consulting researchers and experts. There are some claims that seem incorrect.There are times in which experts make errors in assessments.This writing does not seem to be the most scientifically based. There are some facts about biology the should be reexamined. Also if this scenario were to occur it would either have to happen by means of evolution or sports medicine. The text recognizes that inequality is not sustained by physical strength, but fails to realize the phenomenon of organized mass violence as a means of oppression. Then there has to be an understanding of aggression levels between men and women. Would the relations between the sexes be different in terms of relationships? possibly and maybe not as one would expect. Society would of course change in some respects,but not in the way that the industrial revolution, sexual revolution, or decolonization changed the world.

         The only way women could possibly  end up being stronger than men is by biological evolution, genetic engineering, or mutation. There could be advances in exercise physiology or sports medicine that could alter women’s bodies.The article proposes “what would happen if women became stronger than men without thousands of years of evolution?” and expounds further the biological implications. Human evolution took 8 million years. Homo sapiens have only been around for 200,000 years.

Changes do not happen instantly in evolution. Walking upright or developing shorter intestines took millions of years. It was only six million years ago that bipedalism was demonstrated in the human species. Human beings vary in body shape and size. There are variations in muscle, adipose tissue, and skin.However,the skeleton can vary. People can either be tall or short. Sexual dimorphism was an environmental adaptation to environment. Our hominin ancestors would have struggled if they had a gestation similar to that of fish or reptiles. Terrestrial vertebrates do not produce thousands of eggs.A majority of species on the Earth show that females are larger for carrying offspring. Natural history demonstrates that there are major roles played by sex selection and natural selection in the process. Early primates just like today had different mating strategies. Species with smaller levels of sexual dimorphism tend to have multiple mates.Gibbons are known to do this practice. Gorillas have a higher level of sexual dimorphism meaning they would fight for mates. There also is a hierarchy related to this. Male gorillas rule over a group of female gorillas they mate with. This is termed a harem. Sex selection would involve females choosing the male that was deemed worthy for offspring. Natural selection would favor certain traits in an organism to be passed down through heredity. The body changes in response to environment and genetics. The human lineage saw legs of the body become longer and the arms reduce in length.

2 3 1_Family Tree 50_1000 Humanity is the last surviving species of the genus homo. The dramatic   shift in body proportions came around the period of 2.5 to 1.5 million years ago. The homo erectus developed a long legged body. This marked s change in the digestive system allowing metabolic energy to be used in other areas of the body. This was most beneficial to the brain and nervous system. Digestion of food could be done in a couple of hours, rather than days compared to other primates on a herbivorous diet. Environment plays a role and bodies that were tall as well as having long limbs were better adapted to warm weather. There is an interesting shift in strength that occurred in the genus homo. Humans developed lighter skeletons compared the much more powerful homo heidelbergensis and neanderthals. This is a mystery why homo sapiens did not inherit this feature of stronger bodies. One theory was that a more nurturing appearance may have stimulated  caring among kinship groups. Another reason was that physical strength was not as useful as brain power. Modern humans developed tools, language, and trading networks. Neanderthals may have lagged behind in these areas and thus did not survive. With the change in life style to permanent settlement and farming there was a reduction in physical activity. The life style went from being more rugged to more tame.  The sex differences between men and women remained  for the sake of sexual reproduction. While female size still remained smaller to male body size,there is obvious variation between individuals.

The Neanderthals had thicker bones and stronger bodies compared to modern day humans. 

Genetics are the reason why there is variation in populations. Genes are expressed and multiple ones can be responsible for certain phenotypic attributes. It was only in 2017 in which certain genes related to strength were identified. Both men and women can be carriers of these genes. This means if this trait is favored it can be transferred to offspring of men and women. However, environment is still a factor. A person with the ability to build great strength, but does not will not be the next athletic star. Then there is the factor of the MSTN gene which is responsible producing myostatin. It is a critical protein for regulating growth of skeletal muscle. People with lower levels will find it easier to build muscle. Genetic engineering could alter this protein enabling women to become stronger. This is more part of the realm of science fiction. Mutations do not occur by engineering; that happen naturally. A mutation such as IVS1+5G>A on the MSTN gene causes low production of myostatin. The mutation causes a disruption in the instructions used to produce myostatin. As a result it causes the body to have more muscle mass and strength. The over growth is not a cancer, because cell growth continues as normal. If this rare type of mutation were to become common in women it would result in strength gain. This shift would not require an understanding of genetics or epigenetics. Women becoming stronger than men would require millions of years of evolution and genetic drift.

            The factors that determine strength are also essential to producing a realistic scenario. The text states “while physical differences between genders has been narrowing women are catching up to men in some athletic endeavors especially ultra-marathon events.”  Women have produced impressive athletic performances, yet this does not mean the differences are narrowing in terms of physiology. When examining the muscular system, respiratory system, skeletal system, and cardio vascular system it is clear that the differences are still present even with the most physical fit women and men. Prior to puberty there is very little difference in physical fitness capacity. The strength spurt that boys get after 13 is due to changes in endocrinology. Testosterone allows for muscular hypertrophy to a greater extent. Testosterone is not the only factor in determining strength levels. If women were to become stronger it does not mean they would need an increase of androgens. While sex is a factor,body composition, muscle fiber distribution, height, and somatotype are important. It should also be clear in this scenario men do not change genetically or in regards to hormones. The SRY gene is responsible for male characteristics. This could happen without women lowering their estrogen. Women with mesomorphic body types could build considerable strength with training, because their physique allows for more results in strength gains. Simply having large muscles does not equate to strength. It depends on the total distribution of type II and type I muscle fibers as well as body composition. Fat does not contribute to strength. Height can be a factor, because a larger skeleton would mean room for muscle. Type II muscle fiber is designed for more explosive power compared to the more endurance base type I.

Naomi Kutin was just 10, when she lifted 215 lbs. Her muscles are not bigger than Margie Martin’s. This is the difference between training for strength or training for hypertrophy.     

Strength may not be dependent entirely on a person’s size. There are athletes who are smaller, but still are able to attain strength through a particular training method. It is possible to have the appearance of large muscles,but not have as much functional strength. Training for hypertrophy is commonly called bodybuilding.This increases the size of the tendons,ligaments, including the stabilizer muscles.Ligaments and tendons are strengthen at a slower pace compared to the muscles, which explains when lifting heavy why joint issues are a concern. Strength training allows the nervous system to make the muscles use the most force in collaboration with the skeletal system.

The article makes a mistake saying that basically a major hormonal shift would have to happen. The law of nature as they describe it has made women the reproducer of offspring. This means that either human beings would either just reproduce asexually or biological sex would disappear. Women could be stronger while having hormonal fluctuations  in progesterone and estrogen required to reproduce children. Strength between the sexes follows a bell curve. The average man has 10 kg more muscle mass and 40% more upper body strength. Although women are closer to men in lower body the percentage is estimated 33% as strong. These estimates are for men and women of various sizes. When the size is constant it estimated that women women can be 80% as strong. The reason why the estimate is not 100 % when the size is constant is due to the differences in the upper body. Men’s shoulders are broader meaning they can house more muscle on the section of the body. The writing does state women would have to increase skeletal structure to be strong and therefore would have to see in increase in growth. This means women would have to have broader shoulders. Bone density aids in strength.

Without those conditions women would not be stronger. There would have to be a change in physiology rather than endocrinology. The reason the athletic performance gap remains is due to this. Also, there are sociological factors that do hinder progress. Many women do not have the opportunity or access to training facilities. Living in a war zone or a society that does not give women the same rights can negatively effect their health. There also has to be a consideration that most of the scientific studies on exercise physiology are conducted on men. This does not tell us the full extent of women’s physical capabilities. What is known is extracted from sports records and other data. Since 1983 women’s sports records have remained stable.There is a 10% difference in athletic performance between males and females. Considering the anatomical and physiological differences between men and women that is relatively small. There is obviously a chance women’s records will improve. There could be individual women who reach high levels that revival their male counterparts. It may not impossible to say that women could become as strong as men, maybe not stronger. When examining cross sectional area of muscle between the sexes they seem to exert the same amount of force. The science of strength is still being explored and it is not know what the full extent of human limits are.

       If women were  did become stronger than men, it does not automatically men that that society  would become a matriarchy. Daphnie Fairbirin’s assessment is incorrect saying that it would also result in having men look after children. The reason human beings may not produce large amounts of offspring is because both the roles of the parents are important to the offspring. Unlike other animals the growth process for primates is slow. An infant is very dependent on their parents for food and protection. It is most likely the division of labor came about for ensuring the survival of offspring. Patriarchy is more sociological rather than biological. The rise of permanent settlement and property put women at a disadvantage. Framing also put the hunter gatherers at a disadvantage as well considering they could not make a food surplus. The whole basis of women being subjugated was not due to men’s greater strength, but the fact women did not have the same rights and opportunities. One problem was that women did not have control of their own bodies or lives. The rise of contraception and abortion have women more freedom than ever before. That is why reproductive rights are so essential to women’s liberation. Matriarchy is defined as ” a social system in which women hold the major positions of power.”  There have thus so far, never been matriarchal societies in pre-history or  the modern era. There has been cases of matrilineal  inheritance, but societies were still male dominated. There have been feminists who advocate some form of matriarchy to replace patriarchy. This theme has been common in feminist literature and was born out of cultural feminism in the 19th century. It found new life in power feminism. This faction cl;aims they want equality, but that is simply not true. They want a society were women dominate in which both the legal and political system favor them. To extent in the West, it seems to be moving that way in terms of alimony, child support, and divorce. The neoliberal capitalist system has indirectly caused conflict between the sexes in the labor force. Patriarchy is supported by a power structure through a social,legal, and political system. Equal rights and the rule of law can eliminate such disparities.

         There could be psychological changes in women that become physically stronger. Rachel Nuwer makes the mistake on relying on a ludicrous study by political scientist Micheal Petersen. His claim was that men with more upper body strength favored hierarchy and far-right political views. This claim seems false when analyzing the data. Their sample size included only hundreds of people from Argentina, Denmark, and the United States. African and Asian countries were not included. The researchers from the Aarhus University study found no link or correlation in women. This study is not really scientific at all. There is a link between political views, socioeconomic status, and ethnic background. The less educated and more closed minded individual tends to favor far-right views. Although left-wing politics would benefit the poor, they tend to favor right-wing views even though it could be detrimental  to them. Different ethnic and women may  favor either side of the political spectrum. What molds a person ideology occurs early in life and based around cultural or social factors. A child raised in a conservative or liberal home will most likely adopt those values. The body type does not influence thought, it is the sense of self. It would be silly to say that women who are physically stronger would be more conservative. The only demonstration of this study reveals is how people value artificial hierarchies.

    According that study this woman should be more conservative than this man. Assuming this would be ridiculous 

A ruling class justifies oppression by blaming awful conditions on the oppressed. Arguments range from biology to claims that the oppressed are just natural failures. Relevant to women, sex differences are used as a justification for unequal treatment and status. The differences do not indicate inferiority, but pseudo-scientific explanations have been used to make such statements. The idea that men are better and more powerful is enough to psychologically induce a sense of entitlement. Women who have engaged in some form of strength training say they are more confident. This new sense of self spreads to other areas of life. Gaining the full power of one’s body and skill gives women a new sense of independence. Women becoming physically stronger does not mean automatically they would be more aggressive. This theory proposed by the Aarhus University is nothing more than theories that were proposed by William Sheldon a psychologist in the 20th century. He attempted to correlate behavior to body type. Theories of constitutional psychology are discredited mainly because of its eugenic roots and inconsistent data. Although the term somatotype is still used in fitness and health circles, Sheldon classified mesopmorphs are being rugged, assertive, and dominant. Sheldon’s ideas were nothing more than an extended version of Francis Galton’s anthropometric studies.   There tends to be a false belief that if women gain too much power they will abuse it. Behavior is more complex from a psychological perspective. It is not just rooted in biology; there is a major sociological component.

         There is a difference in aggressiveness and competitiveness between the sexes. This is rooted in biological evolution and sociology. It is incorrect to say that men are just more naturally violent and women are more peace loving. Aggressiveness and competitiveness were defense mechanism in the evolutionary past. Early  hominins had to fight to either avoid predators and collaborate to survive the wilderness.These two traits are not exclusively male. Women can have aggressive behavior or be competitive depending on environment. If these traits are favored in a society, most living there will adopt it. It would be erroneous to say that the world would be more peaceful if women ruled the world. Female leaders have been known to favor war, just like their male counterparts. Margaret Thatcher favored the Falklands War, Condoleeza Rice was involved in the Iraq War, and Susan Rice advocated strikes in Libya. These women obviously did not have peace loving nature.

Hillary Clinton if she became president of the US would have followed the same aggressive war policy. Politics is a competitive environment and requires a level of aggressive thought. Women have shown that they can be just as calculating, deceptive, and skillful as men when it comes to political power. The reason why more women may not be in politics is because many may not be encouraged to have these ambitions. Even the most progressive societies still retain dated beliefs about women’s roles. The concept of the mother as the only identity a woman can have is still exalted. Women with “too much ambition” are seen as ruthless career-women. The same criticisms are not directed at men. An assertive and take charge woman is seen as either “difficult” or “overbearing.”  It is clear there are double standards and biases with in cultures in regards to women in power. The question doe not come down to either nature versus nurture. These two factors interact with one another. Sociobiology gives consideration to how natural selection influences behavior. Aggressiveness and competitiveness may be traits that were favored for human survival. At the same time excessive violence can lead to destruction of civilization.

             Violence has been a method to oppress many people. If women were stronger than men, it is not very likely violence against then would decline. Rape or domestic violence would not decline dramatically. Jackson Katz makes this claim who is president of MVP Strategies a company that works in developing programs for prevention of gender based violence. Mentors in Violence Prevention offers training and wants to change attitudes that promote such behaviors. Crime is a problem of every society, but it occurs for a reason. Violence against women is a means to forcibly put them back in a subordinate position. Organized mass violence is a phenomenon of civilization. When the first armed forces emerged the became the highest form of violence. While violence on an individual level is unacceptable ( one person murdering another), mass violence is embraced when it is controlled. Armies are an example of acceptable  mass violence , even when the actions are still murder.Women if they live in a society that does not value them will be subject to mass violence. The only way physical strength would be helpful is for basic defense, but if there is no legal or political protection this would be useless. Rape does not always involve an assailant physically beating  their victim. Alcohol or drugging of victims seems to be a common method of criminals of college campuses. What creates this atmosphere of sexual assault and violence is cultural attitudes. If society views women as nothing more than sex objects, this distorts men’s views of women. If the laws do not punish criminals or are lenient then it creates a system that works against women. Some observers calls this rape culture. While some points are legitimate, the feminist argument  that “men are taught to rape” lacks cogency. Calling this a rape culture may not even be the best description; it is a culture of misogyny. Saying that rapes would decrease if women were stronger is like saying murder would go down if more people owned guns. While a gun can provide some protection this would be negated if there were other with more or the same amount.

While this woman and man could be on the same level of strength that does not give an indication of who could be more likely to be abusive. 

Katz’s assessment is limited in terms of criminology. There is marital, acquaintance, and custodial rape. Women are not the only victims. Rape that occurs in prison does not receive that same amount of attention or outrage. There are different typologies of rapists. anger-retaliatory rapists and anger-excitation rapists are the most violent. Anger-retaliatory rapists use physical force to subdue their victims, while anger excitation rapists enjoy to a degree inflict pain on the victim. Power-assurance rapists use methods that are less physical such as drugs, stalking, or luring a victim into a place of vulnerability. Besides prevention or tougher laws, women and girls must be raised differently. Women must be taught self-defense. Girls are either taught to not assert themselves or defend themselves. Women often go around thinking ” I want to be with a guy who makes me feel safe.” Women are taught that men will protect them, when in reality they will probably be their primary abusers. This idea that women should entrust their physical protection to the men they know needs to change. Being proactive rather than just putting emphasis prevention could change the situation. Domestic violence should not be solely viewed as a women’s only problem. According to the article 19% of men report having been attacked by their partner. Women’s victim rates are higher,but physical strength is not the sole reason for that. The psychology of a partner matters. One who is overly dominant and demands compliance will most likely be more abusive. A sense of constant entitlement contributes to abusive behavior. Sexism and lack of gender equality are major factors in higher domestic abuse. There may never be completely accurate statistics on domestic violence, because victims are unwilling to seek help.

More Than 40% of Domestic Abuse Victims Are Male Report Says

The reason a person comes back to an abusive relationship and marriage  has to do with a person’s self-esteem. The victim feels as if they are nothing without the abuser. Then if they are financially dependent it makes separation more difficult. It is the unfortunate fact that through out history wife beating was not considered a criminal act. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries did countries begin to criminalize such a practice. There is a long tradition of men having authority over women, even in intimate relationships. Some men do not abuse women simply because they can; they are allowed and encouraged to do so. Only when there is a change in this system can violence against women can be reduced.

          There would definitely be a change in gender relations in regards to interpersonal associations. Women being stronger would alters dynamics in terms of amorous relationships.Men would have to use something other than strength to define their identity. This has happened in a sense, through their careers yet that is also not healthy. Work could be unfulfilling or not available depending on the state of the economy. This explains why men have more psychological distress when they are unemployed. Resources are a method of attracting the opposite sex and have replaced physical confrontation a means for competing for women like our hominin ancestors did. Strength would not replace physical attractiveness it would just become part of it. There are today women who are very physically strong and attractive . One the ways women were able to navigate male dominated societies was to use their feminine charm or sexuality  against men. Manipulation was a useful tactic for women who did not have political or social power. To an extent physical attractiveness gave women some form of bargaining power.  Now that their is a level of financial and social independence there has been a shift in gender relations.

Men are in the West and in particular America are struggling to figure out how to create a stable life for themselves in the changing  dynamic. If man is no longer a provider or father what purpose does he serve?  Women who are well off in terms of finance may be looking for stable relationships, but cannot establish one. Men and women are still functioning on dated gender roles even when society has changed. Even women of independence are still seeking a man to “take care of them,”   while men still think they need to bear all of the responsibilities and hardships  without complaint, even if it is deleterious.Status has become the main way of determining relationships. Selecting one’s partner was not a personal choice in the past. Most marriages were arranged and they still are some countries. Marriage was historically a property arrangement; marrying for love is a recent phenomenon. The lugubrious reality is that when one’s spouse earns more it does cause a level of tension. The problem is too many people view marriage as a subordinate follower and a dominant controller dynamic. Women who make more money in the marriage may generate jealousy from their husbands. If physical strength were added there would be conflict. There are men who think that women have taken something from them and physical strength is their last bastion.

 Feminism did challenge and defeat major injustices, but it also created some negative consequences. Radical feminism and third wave feminism in particular presented all men as enemies. The idea that women should just seek power and not equality has somewhat caused tension between men and women in America. Family law favors women over men and although this is a double standard women do not want this reversed. People who attempt to debate the third wave feminist rhetoric are either told they “hate them because they are successful” or vituperated. Men are unfortunately either not attempting to establish relationships with the talented women out there or simply becoming more misogynistic. This explains why certain men with a traditional mind set are obsessed with sports such as football, boxing, and MMA. There is a sense that women will never have an advantage in physical prowess. Yet, women are also part of the sports world and have received negative reaction from people who believe in strict gender roles. physical strength is not a male only attribute, but when it is shown in women, the reactions are very negative or hostile. Sports is no longer a male only domain. Women being strong or stronger would make some men who are insecure feel threatened. Even the men who may like such a change who have to make adjustments.

  The common held belief is that marriage is better for men. Women actually have more to gain from marriage than a man. It is very rare that a man could find a rich woman to marry and become a stay at home dad. Women on the other hand can be a homemaker and gain relative security. A woman has more options than a man who has to be a provider. The burden of family life is not shared equally. The most visible change in women being stronger would be the household labor. Women would probably be expected to do more manual labor based chores. However, there could be a change in how women and men select who they will marry or have a long term relationship with. Women who reach a certain status will not be with men of lower status. Normally, the insecure men try to find a woman who they can easily control. Men who attempt to seek companionship with women of higher status will most likely be rejected. Endogamy is powerful and the adage “true love conquers all” may not be  an axiom. It is rare to see a woman with a PhD dating a man with a high school diploma or a woman business executive dating a janitor. There are still conflicts about people dating outside their own race or religion. This partially explains why online dating sites are so popular. People can just answer questions in relation to their biases ( or preferences or compatibility in a more euphemistic sense) and find a match. Sadly, a physically strong woman most likely would not want a man weaker than herself. If women were all stronger than men, it would mean men would have to compete harder to get female attention. Men who either have to have higher earning power, achieve a level of prominence, or do an act of physical daring.

It could be that women would be the competitors for male attention. Men have to approach women if a relationship is to get started. Assuming that women being stronger did not change particular behaviors and customs certain procedures would remain the same. The most radical adjustment would be that husbands may not feel entitled to bossing around their wives. There would be a change in attitude may be not so much daily living.

         The workforce would be altered if women were stronger than men. There would be more women in physically demanding occupations. The reason there are so few women in these fields is not only due to discrimination, but physiology. Women do not have as much physical strength. There are women who can do such physically demanding jobs, yet the numbers remain low due to differences in physical fitness capacity. Construction, firefighting, law enforcement, the military, and sports are occupations in which men have higher employment numbers. If women were to have more strength they would probably be dominant in these fields. Rachel Nuwer does explain that women who are competent at their jobs still may face a glass ceiling. The reason is that a system will always favor the ruling group. It does not matter how skilled or educated the oppressed is. They will be stopped from advancing economically, socially, and politically. If affirmative action was enforced it could negate such issues. Technology has in a way allowed women to advance when they at a disadvantage in terms of muscle power. Yet, this does not explain why more women did not enter the workforce during the industrial revolution. Women who were of the working class got employment in factories such as textiles. The upper class women were restricted more so obeying the middle class values of the cult of domesticity. The reason women were not given equal pay was that it would cause working families to advance themselves and therefore no longer be subordinate to a ruling class. Oppressors do not favor social mobility and attempt to prevent it. Men did not like women working, because it was viewed as more labor competition and it gave women more independence. Now it seems that women are in many fields that were once thought to be male only.

There would probably be mixed sports competition if women were stronger than men. There would still be divisions by weight classes in some cases. The reason sports are divided by sex is due to men’s higher fitness level. This is done to remain fair, otherwise a large portion of women would be cut out of sport. It would be difficult to image men and women playing a tackle football game, but this is only a theoretical scenario. Although it may not change the sexist attitudes in sports culture. Women have proven they are skilled, yet they are either ostracized or disparaged by the media. Women have been a part of the sports culture since ancient civilization, however there are still some who view women of such strength and endurance as abnormal. This view has fallen out of fashion as cultural mores become liberal. If women became stronger than men at this point in history it may not be as important. As technology advances there is a possibility the human work force could be replaced by robotics. Automation and artificial intelligence  is the wave of the future and it will cause certain jobs to disappear. There is no way in which a human being could physically compete with a machine in a manual labor job.  It will not get tired, it will not demand pay or vacation.

 A Robot will not suffer health or attrition problems like a human.

The solution has to be a form of universal income and extensive job training to help world populations adjust to rapid technological advancement. The majority of the world population will have to get an education beyond high school and be devoted to life long learning. There will need to be skilled workers to make such machines or information technology. Women if they want to close the wage gap must go into fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They must also go into the physically demanding occupations as well. It seems that  brain power is more pivotal than muscle power.

       The text concludes that while women suddenly becoming stronger than men is more science fiction, there is some shift underway. Women are entering politics, science, and business. The one element that is missing is how women are entering the world of fitness and sports. There is a silent revolution in this regard. Women are embracing strength and transforming their bodies to their maximum. There were muscular women in the past, but none that were as impressive as seen today. More women are competing in the Olympics now than ever before. When the modern Olympics were revived in 1896 women were banned from competition.

Women compete in most sports in the 21st century. That does not mean there is equality in the sports world with the lack of media coverage. The interesting paradigm shift is that there is a growing male fan base for physically strong women. Social media and the internet have given women with such physiques more exposure. When contemplating  this shift one realizes these women are stronger than many men. It seems women have embarked on physical empowerment. This means having control of one’s body and learning physical skills. While society has not morphed into an Amazon matriarchy, it is clear that there are a portion of women have become stronger. Technology and science are also to thank for this development. Understanding anatomy and exercise physiology helped in designing training regimens for women. Exploring nutrition and diet also contributed. Supplements and vitamins have benefited women in terms of improving performance. It seems women have reached a stage in which they are developing themselves to the maximum both mentally and physically. Humans are still evolving either by mutation or epigenetic factors. It would seem impossible that women could get stronger than men. Although there is a strong possibility that women could each an equivalent level of strength through millions of years of  biological evolution. Even if there were to be a change it would not be immediately noticeable. The global trend seems to be shifting to a more sedentary lifestyle causing increased rates of obesity and heart related illnesses. BBC Future attempted to show how society would change based on speculation, but the assessments were off. One element is clear that society and civilization have always been changing. The status of women has not always been low, but has fluctuated through out time.

BBC Future: “What If Women Were Stronger Than Men ?”

What Military Recruiters Aren’t Telling Women: You’ll Face Disproportionate Health Risks

What military recruiters aren’t telling women: You’ll face disproportionate health risks

This is an op ed from the Los Angeles Times originally published July 25, 2017 discussing the possible health issues women could face in combat roles. While there are legitimate concerns the articles raises, it is clear that they are not supportive of women have such jobs. It reveals that the Defense Department is undergoing a campaign to increase women’s numbers in combat jobs by 10 %.  Targets may be difficult to meet based on certain physical standards that the majority of women may not be able to meet. This explains why women involved in sports and physical fitness activities are being targeted for combat jobs. They would have the physical strength and endurance to meet the fitness standards. The article claims that there has not been a precise study to examine the disproportionate health risks of women in combat and also implies that combat integration would be an awful idea. It cannot be ignored that there are physiological and anatomical differences among the sexes. However, these are averages and what the military is looking for is women with the proper qualifications. If the standards are set, training is done correctly, and male soldiers see their female colleagues as valued members women in combat can will work. There are solutions to possible health risks to soldiers.

      There is the obvious statement of facts in the article in regards to physiology and fitness. These are generalities and averages that are well know to any individual with an basic understanding of biology. The average male can produce more testosterone which allows for greater muscular hypertrophy. As stated in the by the authors “the average woman can possess 55% to 58% the upper body strength of men.”   The difference in endocrinology also effects the skeletal system making bones denser. Larger lungs and hearts as well as a different shaped pelvis means men run faster. The difference translates to 40 % greater aerobic capacity compared to women. These are averages of men and women, but there should be consideration for women who have attained a high fitness level. The average woman would obviously be at a disadvantage. The female athlete would not have such a problem. Weightlifters, swimmers, as well as  track and field athletes would possibly be overqualified for some of the physical standards. There are of course health risks from injury,but stronger women are more likely to endure.

If the average woman is seeking to enter such a physically demanding job, she will have to train prior to basic training. Seeing as there is a disadvantage in muscle power it will have to be built. If a woman does not take this step initially, injury in basic training could occur. This has to be approached from a practical  physical fitness perspective. The first question is can a woman get stronger through a training method? It is possible and it requires weight training. This type of exercise also builds muscle and bone in women. Doing this prepares the body for rigorous activity of combat positions. Besides sex, there are other factors that effect physical fitness potential. There is the current state of health ( weight and diseases), genetics, and somatotype. Women who have mesomorphic body types will find vigorous physical activity easier and will respond to a greater extent to training. A woman of endomorphic or ectomorphic body type may have to train harder to reach a fitness target. Genetics play a role in athletic potential. Women who trains on the same regimen as a man will not reach the same physical fitness level.

Muscular hypertrophy is greater in males compared to females.  

If we look at averages, many men and women who would be drafted would either have to go on a weight management program. A  portion of the American population is either obese or overweight. They would need to be trained extra to deal with this. they state that “no training system can close the gap.” While women’s strength level would not reach the highest performing male, they could meet standards through training. Women who strength taring for several months can expect to see a 20 to 40 % increase in strength. The only way this will happen is if women lift weights heavy enough to cause fatigue can build muscle. Lighter weights are better for building muscle endurance. Women as the article points out may have to use most of their maximum physical fitness capacity. It should be noted there are men who may not meet the fitness  requirements either. However, no one would question their ability to be turned into a soldier.

 Women depending on which armor unit they are in are required to lift 35 pound shells and carry 100 pound packs. This may seem like too much, but it depends on the anthropometric measurements of the woman in such a position. Lifting 35 pounds repeatedly would not be a problem for a woman who has trained in strength building exercises. A woman who is 150 pounds with low body fat could have an easier time than a woman who is 122 lbs.The more type II muscle fiber the more endurance women will have to the physical strains of combat. These types of muscle fibers during recruitment provide more explosive power. Women have these muscle fibers as well, not to the same extent as men. At the cellular level and in the process of muscular hypertrophy, there is no difference. Women can build strength; the real obstacle is increasing running speed. Despite being closer to men in the lower body, the shape of women’s pelvis would mean they would run slower.

Training does not change the structure of the pelvis in women. It is possible to increase women’s running speed. Training must be done in intervals to be effective. When training to increase distance one should run slower during training. Increasing speed would involve require shorter distances while running to build up endurance. This would from a physical fitness point of view would be more difficult than building strength. The gap in physical fitness may not be reduced. but it can be narrowed. The only information revealed by this data is that women in peak physical shape would be better performers in physical tasks. The average woman would struggle without training. This means women would probably still remain in small numbers in the marines and frontline infantry divisions. The most physically demanding combat occupational specialties even if they open to women may not have equal numbers. Just like construction, firefighting, and law enforcement women will make a small percentage.


This explains the ads targeting women who are fit enough for such tasks. The challenge for women is the higher the intensity the more strain they will face. Close combat units as the article explains have the issue of irregular meals, sleep deprivation, and low intake of calcium and vitamin D. The access to these critical vitamins can be distributed to soldiers in their supplies. Carrying such pills would not be an extra burden in terms of supplies. There are means to prevent the conservation mode in women’s bodies. Menstrual cycles could cease  and the possibility of osteoporosis could increase. Stress fractures the article states is from conservation mode, but is really from over loaded gear. Yet they attribute that to the pelvic injuries, urinary tact injuries, and pelvic organ prolapse. Designing armor and gear to fit the female body form can reduce injury during training and in battle.  The US military has began designing such armor to fight this problem. Women must focus on upper body exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, and bicep curls to strengthen those areas. Soldier loads must be designed to be ergonomically efficient. This way soldiers will not be overloaded with gear hindering their mobility. Soldiers need armor that is strong, but does not reduce their speed. Even the strongest people can get injured if the place too much weight on their body.

This reveals why soldiers feel the health effects after service. The military is ignoring health issues and providing low quality healthcare. Women should avoid taking contraception thinking that it will enhance performance. There is a myth that the menstrual cycle reduces a woman’s physical strength and athletic performance. Women take contraception not to prevent birth in this circumstance, but think they will perform better. This comes to having accurate information about women’s bodies. Not using contraception except for what it was intended to be used for can prevent weight gain and loss of bone mineral density. To prevent such health problems it is critical to monitor soldier health and to make sure they are aware of possible health conditions .

         There is a general fitness issue of weight management that the text does not discuss. The American population struggles with either obesity or weight control. The data could be exaggerated if calculated on a body mass index scale, which has not always been the most accurate. According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey  66% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Then was an increase from 53% a generation ago. There could be numerous factors in the spike. Food labeling may not be completely honest and the use of high fructose corn syrup contributes. Foods with enormous amounts of sugar and fats also sabotage weight loss efforts. Then it could be difficult if one does have the motivation to lose weight. Some try multiple times and quit. There has to be an atmosphere of encouragement to change habits. Another problem is keeping the weight lost off. Weight issues do not only effect adults, but children and youth. What this means is that the majority of the population would not be physically fit enough to meet military standards. That means many Americans would have to lose weight prior to starting any form of basic training. Besides that, there has to be a paradigm shift in how people view exercise and physical activity. The problem is people see as a chore, rather than something fun or enjoyable. This is why physical education classes should be structured  in that manner. Not only will it teach children to be active,but it will  encourage life long healthy habits. Relevant to women there is a challenge. It is harder for them to lose weight. Higher estrogen production and differences in metabolism make explain this. Women can lose weight through the right methods. Diet alone will not be adequate; there has to be an exercise regimen to burn calories. What also must be done is altering women’s perceptions about fitness and physical activity. There still is the antiquated belief that exercise,sports, and physical activity or skill is male only. When women understand that their bodies are not biologically inferior, they gain more confidence in their physical skills. Doing this would make it easier for women entering the service. The American population has to get its weight issues under control if it wants to assemble a larger fighting force.

        This op ed does have an agenda. While it does not resort to outrageous claims as detractors of women in combat make, it does believe in the frailty myth. The idea that anything physical women will fail at. Physical skill or strength or occupations that require it are places that women are not meant to be in accord to those who believe in women’s biological inferiority. Julie Pulley a former army captain and Hugh P, Scott a Navy medical officer have credentials as military professionals, who wrote this op-ed. However, they do not offer solutions to issues of women’s health. Besides that, they ignore women who have excelled. There have been women who were physically capable, but at the time of their service combat jobs prohibited them. Alley Miesch Nie was a military service member. Looking at her photograph one would assume the 5’4 woman would not be able to handle combat or physical tasks.

blog_alley-miesch-nie_military_435x290  Despite a person’s gender bias the reality tells another story. At 141 pounds during her competitive career as an athlete she was able to 225 lbs  bench presses, 350 lbs squats, 800 lbs leg presses, and 325 lbs deadlifts. She clearly developed an impressive level of functional strength through training. Based on these statistics, how would Alley do on a particular MOS standard? These new standards are called “gender neutral” yet there is a problem with that. Using this terminology makes people think that standards are lowered for women. What it really means is that there will no longer be a fitness standard target that is lower for women. It means both men and women will have to be qualified physically depending on which occupation. The standards vary depending on the US Navy, US Army, and US Air force job. After basic training, the soldier can make the decision which MOS they want to go to.

  The year 2017 has brought some updated combat arms fitness standards. The biggest changes came to infantry and armor. The test will be in four parts. It wants to specifically target who would best fit in a particular occupational specialty. This new test is called the Occupational Physical Assessment Test which went into effect January 1st. It has only one scoring scare and adjustments are not made for sex or age. The marines did have separate standards which are now being formed into one fitness standard. It consists of four fitness events which include a medicine ball throw, standing long jump, deadlift, and interval run. The scores are classified based on the results of performance labelled in color codes . The black (heavy) score means a soldier is prepared for the physical demands. Significantly prepared is gray. The moderate range is gold, while the lowest score is white (unprepared). Soldiers who make the black category will qualify for all MOS in the US armed forces. All recruits must meet the gold category. Infantry, armor, and combat engineer are what would fall under the black category. The gray category would include tank mechanics and helicopter repair mechanics. Many combat jobs are under the moderate gold category ( army medical occupations ). Based on this information it seems that Alley would have no problem reaching the black category. Women with the least amount of fitness would fall into the unprepared category. The majority of women could fall into either moderate or some in the significantly prepared. If a recruit wants to really be part of some occupation specialty, they have to make sure they are physically prepared for the test. Another problem is that the height and weight standards will have to be adjusted.

Height        Min Weight            17-20            21-27               28-39              40+

58                 91                           119                 121                 122                 124
59                 94                           124                 125                 126                 128
60                 97                           128                 129                 131                 133
61                 100                         132                 134                 135                 137
62                 104                         136                 138                 140                 142
63                 107                         141                 143                 144                 146
64                 110                         145                 147                 149                 151
65                 114                         150                 152                 154                 156
66                 117                         155                 156                 158                 161
67                 121                         159                 161                 163                 166
68                 125                         164                 166                 168                 171
69                 128                         169                 171                 173                 176
70                 132                         174                 176                 178                 181
71                 136                         179                 181                 183                 186
72                 140                         184                 186                 188                 191
73                 144                         189                 191                 194                 197
74                 148                         194                 197                 199                 202
75                 152                         200                 202                 204                 208
76                 156                         205                 207                 210                 213
77                 160                         210                 213                 215                 219
78                 164                         216                 218                 221                 225
79                 168                         221                 224                 227                 230
80                 173                         227                 230                 233                 236

Alley because of her height would fall out of the required weight range. The ironic part is that she is not overweight. The body mass index does not account for a person who has vast amounts of lean body mass. So a woman who built up muscle would be denied the position based on the weight and height standards. The Marines realizing women were fit enough, but did not fall in the range of the body mass standards had to make a change. These standards have also effected men who just are bigger. The average Marine is bigger than in the past and this has not been accounted for. A muscular strong woman would then fall out the weight and height regulation. This would put shorter women at a disadvantage, because under the old regulations.

 The women are going to need the extra lean body mass they have built up. The maximum weight for a woman of 5’3 is 141 lbs. Short muscular women even if they are capable would then disqualified. There was the option of wavier, but this process was long and cumbersome. Women could have been reducing their physical optimum to reach the weight requirements. This only harms success. Another problem being addressed is unequal fitness standards. Women must not be given lower standards based on ideas they will perform worse. That means having them so the same exercises. One issue that arouse was three pull ups controversy in 2014. Most female Marines struggled doing three pull-ups. Detractors took that as evidence women could not meet the demands of combat. Yet, upon further investigation the problem became obvious. Women were for a long time doing the flexed arm hang rather than pull-ups. That exercise in particular will not build the most upper body strength. When women were trained to do such an exercise it was not a problem. The mass media focused on women’s failures rather than their successes.

Women are going to need the physical strength and fitness  to be in combat positions.

The article admits “women are essential in America’s armed services” yet the author may not truly believe that. The most vocal opponents against women in combat come ironically from conservative and Republican Party groups and individuals. They have become the party of war and yet they are condemning women who enthusiastically  volunteer for service. This is why the constant slogan that they preach “support the troops” is disingenuous. The conservatives and far-right Republicans cite sex differences as evidence women are incapable or inferior in terms of combat qualification. The reality is that women have been in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan in unofficial capacities. The reason for misogynist rhetoric or behavior ( the Marine cell phone picture scandal) is that men do not want to compete with women for combat jobs. the irrational fear that women are going to take jobs away from men in the military is ludicrous. The policy of  military intervention in various nations around the world. There will be no shortage of jobs in the military. There may actually be a time in which there may not be enough men to fill these positions. It makes no sense to ban women who are qualified for a combat job. The article states that army recruiting sites or recruiters themselves do not reveal reports about the health risks. Anyone with a basic understanding or physiology or anatomy would realize physically demanding jobs to have an attrition rate. Physical attrition can happen from repetitive motion injuries and factors due to range considering the intensity of  activity. This may happen to women faster over the years. The male body may be able to sustain more trauma, but no person of sex is impervious to injury. The only solution is to reduce soldier load for ergonomic efficiency and let recruits know specific standards as well as the best methods for training. The US military must stop present the frailty myth as fact and having low expectations for women in combat positions.

        The evidence used to make the case women are not fit for combat must be questioned. The one text that they do mention “Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Women” is credible but the authors do not mention the solutions given after the study. The 2011 report has general prevention of injury strategies that the US military is finally implementing. The solution that the report states is to have modifications in the training programs. Running mileage has to be reduced, because many injuries occurred from this. The training method should involve progressive and gradual exercise stress. The report notes that higher fitness levels mean less injury. The reason why the Brigade Combat Team placed a fitness standard for recruits to meet before training was to solve this problem of high injury rates. Women must meet the three push-ups, 17 sit-ups,  and run 10.5 minutes for one mile before they can go train for the BCT. The reason it should be done gradually is that the body must adapt to the level of intensity. The report also notes that progressive loading exercises are the best for strengthening the lower body muscles. The muscles that should be targeted are the soleus, gastrocnemius, quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis (anterior and posterior), and gluteus medius. The report found a solution yet the authors of this op-ed do not share this information.

Some solutions are also the most simple ones. Women require better running shoes. Having the proper running shoes can allow for avoidance of knee, ankle, hip as well as the back. These running shoes should be comfortable reducing as much pressure on the foot as possible. Shoes should contain Achilles Heel relief, strong midsole, fexiable toe box,  and enforced cushioning. The toe box should provide plenty of room. These attributes of a running shoe help make the shock of running less harmful to the feet and legs. This is critical considering women’s different pelvic structure creates a more q angle. This also indicates that soldiers require shock absorbing boots. Having these will allow for less stress fractures and lower extremity injuries. “Musculoskeletal injuries in Military Women” provides prevention suggestions to common aliments that could befall female soldiers. A combination of exercise, training adjustment, and proper running shoes will vastly solve the problem of high injury rates in women. Core stabilization exercises are also recommended to women in the report. The rectus abdominis including the external and internal obliques must be strengthen to prevent spinal conditions.

The report also cites the treatment, diagnosis, and management of multiple injuries.Not only that, the 2011 report delineates proper rehabilitation from injuries.   A soldier must be aware of  lower back injuries, patellofemoral syndrome, Achilles tendinitis ( or tendinosis) , iliotibial band syndrome, ACL tears and other conditions can be prevented. The training will have to build up bone and muscle mass in women. If one reads the report thoroughly it is not arguing excluding women; it provides practical answers to the disparity in health for military women.The second source regarding women in combat the authors cite ” The Physiological and Medical Aspects That Put Women at Risk for Overuse Injuries.” The only information it provides is what could be deduced based on the 2011 report for the Army surgeon General’s office. Women have to use more of their maximum physical capacity to perform on the same level as men. The only conclusion is that women must build their core strength and upper body to lift the weights required for physically demanding combat jobs. Both of these reports show the health risks, but provide solutions, rather than using them for justifications for keeping women out of combat. They identify a problem and scientifically assess the situation and formulate a answer. The conclusion is to have women train first before attempting tests for combat positions. Physical fitness level before entry is pivotal to success. However, the text cites one of the writings of Marine Captain Katie Petronio who makes it clear that she does not favor women in combat. Most of her writings are specifically against women in the infantry. Her agenda seemed to support the conservative cause of preventing the ban from ending, but claimed on a CNN interview in 2012 : ” I’m not against women in combat.”     Then went on to explain “combat readiness is going to be effected by this.”Women who enter combat are not going to reduce combat readiness or efficiency, as long as they meet the same standards. Petronio claims that her two deployments two Afghanistan caused her health problems. The first was muscular atrophy and weight loss . The atrophy only happens when muscles are not in use. This could have been another medical issue not part of her combat experience. Sudden atrophy would indicate some form of multiple sclerosis or at least symptoms of it. She may not have had this, but it was clear that she was not training her body to maintain muscular strength.

This is Mina Mituskoa which shows her during her athletic career and after. As you can see her muscles atrophied after not doing intense training. 

When you stop exercising such gains will be lost. This happens faster with women, due to the difference in hormones. The extreme weight loss was probably induced by irregular meals. Such low body fat levels from irregular meals may have caused her infertility. Endurance issue could have just been caused by the extreme environment of Afghanistan. Maybe if her training were different, she would have been able to handle such rigors. The time in which she entered the new standards had not been established. The footwear and equipment has to be designed for the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Petronio has in a Phyllis Schlafly fashion promoted an anti-woman sentiment in the infantry. It is ironic that a woman is the one preaching such ideas. Citing her article for the Marine Gazette does not add to the image of providing an honest opinion.

The common health problems of stress fractures and spinal cord injury can be reduced by lighter loads and improving a recruit’s physical fitness level before entry. 

The numerous health risks are well know,especially the major one of death in battle. Those injured by gunfire, shrapnel, or suffer a traumatic brain injury are not mentioned in the text. Military recruiters do not tell the truth about the US. There is also a more pressing issue that has often been ignored rape and mental illness in the US military. Women face sexual violence from their male colleagues. Women also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Hardship and witness the carnage of war makes it difficult to adjust to civilian life.

        The military has another health crisis of rape and sexual assault. According to the Pentagon statistics reports of sexual assault have reached an enormous high. Service members reported a total of 6,172 cases in 2016. This does not account for the women and men who do not report attacks.  The Pentagon also reported that 58% of victims said they faced some form of reprisal for exposing their attacker. Sexual misconduct is ubiquitous in the armed services. Only recently has the US military taken action, but this may not be enough. Sex based violence is a threat to health and personal security of the women and men who serve. Many times commanding officers may be involved, but are not brought to trial by a civilian court. A military court is more likely to be more lenient. The only way this scourge of violence can be stopped is if punishments are more severe. The problem is not just in attitudes; it is institutionally based. The Marines have this problem with online harassment. It had to deal with a Facebook group known as “Marines United” which often spread misogynist and lascivious commentary about women in the armed forces. There is a hostile work environment that requires dramatic human resources action. If not, this will hinder military effectiveness and productivity overall. A culture of mistrust is growing at a period when it is required to function as a unified fighting force. There has to be a way to challenge the strange hazing culture that is present in the US military. This involves fraternity like antics, which involves the harassment of women. It is no secret that the US military has an unwritten policy of rape of the populations they invade. From World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War US soldiers have assaulted populations with sex violence. With Iraq and Afghanistan the numbers could be much higher. America now has a declining global image, due to the damage of aggressive and unprovoked war. The authors should realize this is just as much of a health risk to women as combat itself.

        Soldiers may leave the service without any physical injuries, but mental health can also be effected. Many soldiers are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. This could also put them at risk for depression. The challenge is there is still stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why  people do not seek the help they need. There is nothing wrong with a person seeking help. A study conducted by the US military revealed that soldiers have higher rates of mental illness than the civilian population. The worst case result after service is possible suicide. There are explanations for higher rates of mental illness among military personnel. It could be some had it prior to entry into the US military.  Data collected from the Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members revealed that soldiers had six times as high episode of intermittent explosive disorder. This is a mental disorder when rage cannot be controlled and impulse is difficult to manage. The study surveyed 5,500 soldiers. There is the possibility of multiple tours of duty causing the problem. Younger soldiers are more at risk for mental illness. The reasons could be that they become home sick, stressed, or do not have the emotional support system.

The military must take into consideration what multiple deployments will do to military families. It is critical for a soldier’s well being to stay connected to friends and family.

There needs to be an honest description of the hardships that will follow military service. However, it is not the case of false advertising. Some people like the idea of danger and adventure as well as possible risk. They want to explore the world, but do not have the means to travel. The military in some ways provides that opportunity for some who are economically disadvantaged. The shock of being in a new environment and acclimating can be difficult. There are reasons for the suicides, which are elucidated by particular experiences. It has been known soldiers may be forced to do unspeakable and unethical acts that were ordered by their commanders. If if violates protocol or basic rules of warfare. The guilt and controversy will eventually get to people engaging in such acts. Killing one’s self is an escape from some from constant mental anguish. Soldiers and the military must realize that getting help or consulting someone is not weakness. The military trained soldiers to be tough and self reliant, but even the strongest people need emotional support.

       There are certain realities that the US military has to come to terms with. Women are going to be a part of the fighting force and resisting this change will only hinder operation. Just like African Americans becoming integrated into the US military it will happen. The US armed forces are becoming more diverse and represent the demographic shift in America. The US will have to reevaluate its foreign policy strategy.  Women have a harder time due to the fact their ability is put into question. The frailty myth or the idea women just cannot be physically capable is still disseminated through out the mass media. Conservative outlets are the most vituperative. Their argument is that “you don’t see women playing in the NFL.” War is more violent and complex that a football game. A sports event does not involve someone being killed or imprisoned after defeat. The only concern is if a female soldier is disarmed some how. A larger man would have the advantage of strength that she is fighting. This means they would have to be reliant on martial arts skills. Judo and Krav maga are effective fighting styles that can be useful for a person who is smaller.

This is why women must be given the same hand to hand combat training. Doing so ensures women can fight out a precarious situation if disarmed. However, just being physically strong does not automatically make you a great fighter. Limited skill and maladroit movements could be more of a hindrance. Although this is a sports analogy consider this : a hand to hand fight between a MMA fighter and a bodybuilder. The more muscular person may have more strength, but did not learn fighting techniques. The MMA fighter has knowledge of these and knows how to avoid hits. This could be a decisive factor in determining who wins.

 Each fighting style has its strengths and weaknesses. As we have seen from women’s mixed martial arts and boxing they do have the ability to fight. There is the question can a woman carry a wounded man off a battlefield if the situation calls for it. The requires a significant portion of upper body strength. Women can lift men with an understanding of leverage. The approach should be to have them practice casualty drags both without gear and with their armor on. Carrying a person without gear is easier, because there is no extra weight. Having women do both can physically prepare them for the demands.

There could be simple solutions to this problem. Detaching some of the gear and removing the person could be one. Dragging the individual by there shoulders could be another. Yet, there could be situations that require medical evacuation and moving the person could cause more harm. Women who are in this situation should be able to do just fine if the passed their tests and met proper qualifications. Thus the argument “women are not strong enough” seems to lack cogency. Even ones that are qualified still are questioned about their competence. Women who work in mostly male dominated professions have to work extra hard to prove themselves. One simple mistake can be a representation of the group, which demonstrates the general sexist atmosphere in these jobs. The US military has to challenge this culture of women being less than capable. The frontline has been burred with warfare becoming more asymmetric. So, women who go to other locations around the globe may see combat without having trained for it. Physical fitness is important, however technology negates this in some regards. Muscles are of little protection against tanks, jets, bombs, guns, drones, biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons. A physically fit military is essential, however a state must have the technology and tactics to ultimately triumph in conflict.  Other nations are also allowing women to serve on the frontline. The UK and India are now in the process of allowing women to fight in combat roles. It is only a matter of time before more countries start doing the same.

Countries that allow women in combat. This was a map produced in 2013. This however does not include women who fight in an unofficial capacity .

There are women who fight in unofficial capacities. This could be in paramilitary groups, liberation movement causes, or other armed insurgencies. The peshmerga and YPG has female fighters operating in Iraq and Syria. The Kurds do not have their own state,but seem to be attempting to carve out one after the battle against ISIS ends. It is clear that women will be a part of that fight as well. The Tamil Tigers also mobilized women in war during the civil war in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. FARC  when it was fighting the Colombian government did the same. These places were not states so that is why on the data of women in combat. It seems more women are involved in combat than previously thought.  A majority of Northern European countries allow women in combat. Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.

It seems people if inspired enough will pick up arms if they deem a cause worthy. Women who are born in countries with less resources do not have the same the training as the US military women and still fight effectively. There is no reason that women in the US cannot do the same. The biggest question is how physically strong can a woman get in order to meet the qualifications of certain military occupational specialties ? A sample from women’s weightlifting  scores could provide a hypothesized answer. The women who fall in a fitness category of advanced and elite would be more likely to handle more manual labor compared to the beginner or intermediate fitness level. This may complicate implementing a draft. Women would take longer to reach fitness targets.


The only solution is too either adjust the total goal target of the number women you want to serve or have a fitness program in place. This can be done, but another issue must be addressed. Women should register for the selective service. The fact that one preaches equality means that you also accept the responsibility that comes with it. Men do not have a choice, because they are forced to register. The option of being a conscientious objector is available, yet this may be ignored by a military that is becoming more desperate for a victory in a series of failing military engagements. There should be no objection from any advocate for women in combat to reject women being part of the selective service. By this same line of reasoning, this is not license to end a volunteer army system. So far, it has worked well sense the end of the Vietnam War and allowed  for higher skilled and higher paid positions to become available. Americans will not tolerate being drafted for wars that are either imperialist in objective or futile in execution. The point the US military is for security. The United States is more and far beyond capable of defending itself. Most of America’s military engagements have nothing to do with security at all. They either advance a business agenda or a geopolitical strategy of keeping America as the world’s sole superpower. Americans have been taught that its military fights for freedom and human rights when this is a fabrication. If there is a concern about military recruiters being extremely dishonest, this is the part that should also cause concern.

            There have been exaggerated claims that allowing women in combat will result in failure in US military operations. Women entering combat will not do this, because the US is continued a path that could lead to major social and political issues. Take the role of policeman of the world has caused much anger and distrust of the US throughout the world. The end of the Cold War gave the US immense power which it has abused. Without the Soviet Union,there was little justification for a large military. This did not stop interventions in Somalia, Iraq, or Yugoslavia. NATO and the US struck Kosovo not for humanitarian reasons,but to dismantle Yugoslavia further. Civil war and ethnic conflict was already tearing the country apart, intervention by other Western European nations furthered the disintegration. The US wants to maintain global hegemony even if it conflates into wider regional conflicts. China and Russia are clearly world powers and the US sees them as a threat. This may not be the case, if diplomacy was utilized. Instead there is a network of shadow wars and wars of proxy occurring between the US, China, and Russia. All these powers use the false narrative of fighting the War on Terror as a justification for reducing freedoms or initiating wars. North Korea, Ukraine, and Syria are countries that find themselves caught up in the nexus of wars of proxy. The United States must accept the that the world is moving to a multipolar  world power system.Military recruiters will never be honest about what America is really doing. They will never tell of the numerous atrocities, corruption in the Department of Defense, or the neoconservative war agenda for various countries. To say that women are being more so manipulated by being recruited for certain jobs is no more exploitative than any other aspect of the US military. Opening combat roles to women in a way was a public relations technique to improve the image of the US military. lost wars, war crimes, and the abuses of the military industrial complex have tarnish the institution’s image. Maybe a new generation of  leadership in the US military can reverse this. Women should not seek to be just combat soldiers; they should also aim to be generals of the highest rank.

Women should become part of the leadership and maybe with new perspectives some problems can be addressed from a different approach. There has to be also a change in political leadership. The system of world politics should adopt another mode of operation. There should not be preparations for war, rather a sustainable peace. All nation-states are guilty of competing with one another for military dominance of the globe. There are nations that carve out and become power centers in a particular region often bullying smaller nations. On a larger scale world powers bully the entire globe. The US-EU block has done such actions to Libya, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria. It has to be understood that liberal democracy or another governance system cannot be imposed upon people. The US military is an apparatus for security, not nation building. A complexus of skilled diplomacy can prevent war; intervention should be the last resort. These ideas are practical, but with more women and others joining the US military the possibility of peace seems hopeless.

           There were rumors that Donald Trump was going to reverse the Obama era measure allowing women in combat. It has not happened, but there is a possibility. He has already targeted transgender service members  who do not make up much of the US military. Blatant acts of discrimination are common in  America. Even if the individual is qualified hate and the status quo is favored. There are numerous examples that show women are capable.

Although women have proven that they can be capable, there will always be doubts and hatred directed at them for being in jobs that were male only. If combat integration is to be successful there has to be a massive human resources effort. Sexual harassment and assault should be punished quickly and severely. The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs must work to provide a higher standard of healthcare . Veterans too often are not getting high quality care that should be every citizen’s right.If not the US could face a major public health crisis. Soldier health should incorporate mental and physical well being. While there is a movement to improving the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, the care in regards to PTSD and depression are not adequate. Military recruiters should be honest about the health risks and the challenges involved. Honesty about the military should not discourage individuals with a strong desire to serve. Women should not be discouraged from serving just as long as they know what they are signing up for. A military health maintenance program can solve certain problems and reduce medical discharges.

Further Reading

  Reuters. “Sexual Assault Reports in U.S. Military Reach Record High: Pentagon.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 1 May 2017,

Healy, Melissa. “As Obesity Keeps Rising, More Americans Are Just Giving Up.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2017,

Myers, Meghann. “New in 2017: New Fitness Assessment to Go Combat Arms.” Army Times, Army Times, 18 Oct. 2017,
Willingham, Val. “Study: Rates of Many Mental Disorders Much Higher in Soldiers.” CNN, Cable News Network, 4 Mar. 2014,
What Military Recruiters Aren’t Telling Women: You’ll Face Disproportionate Health Risks

No love for women’s sports? RT Segment (2011)

This segment from Russia Today exposes the often sexist treatment women face in sports. While men’s teams normally get invited to the White House, while women’s teams on rare occasions do. There is also structural challenges. There are no professional leagues for women’s baseball or  American football. These are the team sports which get much attention and commercial investment. Then there are those on the extreme end of the spectrum that say women should not play sports, because they were designed for men. James Preacher a  religious fundamentalist believes that women should not be involved based on scripture. Such archaic ideas are still prevalent. There is a level of misogyny that has been a part of the sports world and women’s entry as professional athletes has not erased it. Only when women become owners of teams, develop their more organizations, and challenge the pay gap can women reach equality in sport.

No love for women’s sports? RT Segment (2011)