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.

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

Saudi Arabia Approves Physical Education Program in Girls’ Schools

Girls’ Physical Education in Saudi Arabia

According to Arab News,  the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has approved a program allowing physical education to be taught in girls’ schools. This is more significant than some observers realize. The deeply religious and conservative Middle Eastern nation does not not favor women’s rights or their independence. However, there is a movement for change. The kingdom wants to modernize and that means having women be a part of the larger society and public sphere. The implementation will occur during the 2017 and 2018 school year. Saudi women will no longer accept a second class status or remain under antiquated guardianship. An even bigger incentive is to mobilize women in the workforce and other sectors. This starts with the youth and creating new opportunities. Vision 2030 seeks to enhance the Saudi kingdom economically, politically, and socially. This change is policy is part of that program to ensure the country is not left behind in the 21st century. Sporting activities are being encouraged across the kingdom. This is part of the Vision 2030 program and women will gain the most  from it. The focus on sports clearly has an intention on building high performing Olympic teams. It would not be surprising to see the girls who benefit from this program becoming Olympic athletes in the future. Like Title IX in the United States it will be beneficial both in terms of public health and women’s empowerment.

        The minister of education Amed Al-Issa  issued the decree for schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for girls’ physical education. A supervisory committee will be established under the supervision Haya Bint Abdul Aziz Al-Awwad, undersecretary of education for girls.  This program will target both public schools and universities. Three months of intense policy study Saudi officials thought this was the correct time for educational reform. Change will not be immediate. It may be decades before the new policy shows positive results. Discrimination and gender bias cannot be erased by a mere stroke of a pen. There will of course be individuals who object to any form of change. Others are more open mined and fitness trainers seem more enthusiastic about the decree. It is not secret that some girls have been given private lessons in tennis and soccer before the royal decree. Now girls can have schools provide facilities to develop athletic skills. There are less liberal voices as demonstrated by Mohammud M.S :” I don’t think it’s right for a young girl to take a sports class in school, she will grow harsh and rough, which goes against her delicate nature.” He expounds further: “I won’t deny my daughter’s participation in any (physical education) related activities in school but I will draw a line somewhere.” It seems Saudi men who were raised in a religiously conservative society reject the idea of a strong woman. However, others realize  that change cannot be stopped  yet sill wrestle with the idea of  traditional gender roles. This change should be welcome for the sake of the kingdom’s image.

          Western images and ideas about Saudi Arabia either are stereotypical, racist, or Islamophobic. As a way to disparage an entire race, some point to Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women. Commentators say “they are not part of the civilized world”  or use it to elevate Western values as being superior. The truth is like any other country,Saudi Arabia has its problems, but it is seeing women become more powerful. Over the past decade it has happened rapidly. During the Rio 2016 Olympics Saudi Arabia sent four women athletes to compete. Although it was only four athletes the image was important. Prior to that Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkani made history as the first women to compete in the modern Olympic games in 2012.

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These young women were met with harsh criticism at home by religious fundamentalists and extreme traditionalists. These negative reactions inside the kingdom only validate Western prejudices and misconceptions. If one truly loves their nation they should seek to see all members be successful, especially in an international setting. Doing so will dispel the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment so prevalent in mainstream Western media. Many objects to women’s participation in sport come from a religious context. The Quran does not ban or prohibit women from participating in sports. To make the claim it makes women into bad Muslims has not factual support. Religion should not be regressive, but progressive. Islam has a tradition of impressive civilizations which include the Abbasid Caliphate, Umayyad Caliphate, Songhai Empire, Mali Empire, Sokoto Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire. That tradition must be revitalized in elevation of people and society. Women are the key to saving the kingdom from turmoil. Sports are not the only sector women are flexing their muscles; they are making their mark on government.

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Princess Reema  was appointed in 2016 to oversee the women’s sports sector. She works in the General Authority for Sports and it is pivotal that women have leadership positions. Normally, a Western view of a Saudi woman is that of a weak and oppressed creature sheltered from the outside world. Contrary to misconceptions women are challenging old customs. Around 2014 schools Saudi state schools introduced sports for girls after vocal opposition to a general ban on women in sports. The move was incomplete without physical education for all girls. Gradually, the kingdom is introducing reform. Yet, they do not go far enough. The fear of the House of Saud  is that reform in other areas may mean mass political reform or possible revolution. The Arab Spring has increased this paranoia. The trepidation of regime change may halt reforms, which could prevent such events from occurring. The addition of physical education to girls’ education is a great step in promoting social health and stability to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The encouragement of  a healthy lifestyle will prevent disease and reduce healthcare costs in the long term. Seeing as people will live longer in the future, this must be encouraged.

Saudi Arabia Approves Physical Education Program in Girls’ Schools

Happy Inauguration Day

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It is unfortunate that American politics has come to a point in which far-right extremist views are acceptable. Hate or general violence directed at immigrants, African Americans, and women will become  the norm under a Trump presidency. Donald Trump and his supporters dream of a United States that is of the 1950s  in which racial discrimination was common and women had little power in society. While Donald Trump’s racism is well documented, what people forget is his misogyny. Women have accused him of sexual misconduct and tapes exposed a crude side of his personality. A Republican dominated Senate and House of Representatives means Trump has a free hand to implement policies that could be potentially devastating to the United States. There is limited hope for the future, but people can still resist. That is why it is important to support the Women’s March on Washington. Let it be known the citizens of the US will not tolerate oppressive measures by a Trump administration.

Women’s March on Washington

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Happy Inauguration Day

Wonder Woman Is No Longer an Honorary UN Ambassador

The iconic comic book character Wonder Woman is no longer an honorary UN ambassador. The fictional character’s selection did meet some condemnation. The reason it was done was to promote the empowerment of women and girls. UN members and external pressure wanted this revoked based on certain perspectives. They claimed they were concerned about the “over sexualized image,” which featured “a large breasted white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh -baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots.” They went on to explain that it was “not culturally encompassing or sensitive.” Hearing these statements demonstrates erroneous thinking. It is the type of  irrational thinking that comes from extreme third wave feminists and false social justice warriors. These two groups do not want to challenge injustice, but merely act as managers of current conditions. These people presenting themselves as advocates are nowhere to be found when people are in danger. At this point in history the United Nations has lost most of its credibility. UN failures and abuses in the  Democratic  Republic  of the Congo, South Sudan, Haiti, and the authorization of military action in Libya prove it should not lecture any nation on human rights. Iraq suffered under both UN and US sanctions, while North Korea  is  being put under sanctions. This honorary ambassador for the famous DC character could have been a positive development for the struggling supranational organization. Syria could be the breaking point for the world body. These criticisms of  Wonder Woman’s image display a level of ignorance about the character. The arguments for rejection can easily be discredited.

           The claim of the over sexualized image almost sounds like a religious fundamentalist argument. Wonder Woman is drawn as an attractive and athletic woman. Yet, some feel that the mere image of the woman’s body is sexual. There effort to prevent misogynistic convictions only reveals their sexist prejudice. To them a woman that is dressed in a certain way is just a sex object. Men are hardly ever judged on how they dress. These objections to the character’s costume expose an undated traditionalist view about women. Extreme third wave feminist make similar arguments, but in another context. They believe that presenting women in this image encourages a rape culture. This explains why feminists and the religious right collaborated in the attempt to ban pornography in the United States in the 1980s. The traditionalist claimed that it was obscene. Feminists stated it created rapists and hate for women. Both these statements are incorrect. Rape is the product of a society that thinks violence against women is normal, not lascivious materials . What is considered obscene or  crude to one person, may not be to the other. These two groups obviously do not believe in the freedom of speech.

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The case with the statement on Wonder Woman reveal a combination of these two schools of thoughts. They say her uniform is sexualized, but the only thing it does is reveal some parts of her body. It should be understood that DC comics is not pornography or sexualized. It has happened to the character in certain comics, but that is not her sole purpose. Wonder Woman does not fall into being a simple stock character or some random trope amusement. She is one of DC comics most recognizable characters, with plenty of fans around the world.  Wonder Woman costume is more tame compared to real life swim wear.

Wonder Woman has not appeared in a thong or nude in the comics. Microbikinis almost seem like no clothing at all.   When examining this objection it lacks cogency. While it is true, normally Wonder Woman appears in her thigh bearing suit, there are times in which her costume changes. At first she wore a shirt. This was during her first comic books in the 1940s. There were times in which she wore pants. The costume changes depending on the time or character designer. Writers and artists change the image of  a  comic book character various times.

         The belief that Wonder Woman’s design is impossible baffles the mind. Seeing as she is a cartoon character she can be drawn, which ever way an artist wants. If these UN members bother to do research, they would realize that Wonder Woman is not some unrealistic standard body. There is a habit to draw women unnaturally thin, but this has been avoided by DC artists. Wonder Woman has either appeared athletic and sleek or muscular. Being an amazon she has to look the part. She is a type of superhero that is a fighter trained in warrior combat. So it would make sense to show her body as if it was trained for rigorous physical activity.

Depending on the artists and writers of the comic, Wonder Woman can break the common model of slim woman. This allows the readers to at least believe that she could pull of the strength feats she does or fighting super villains. Wonder Woman’s design can either be extremely cartoon like or realistic model. Saying that her body proportions are impossible is wrong based on several reasons. The first reason one should remember is that it is a fictional character not meant to be a entirely realistic depiction. Another reason is that there are other mediums besides comic books encouraging body image disorders. The fashion and fitness industry do this as well. Fitness magazines emphasize weight loss and present the slim body for women as the image of health. Fad diets and equating a slender body with success. The fashion industry entourages models to starve themselves and they only design clothes for an ectomorphic body type. These critics have never spoken out about these more serious issues. The last point also is that Wonder Woman’s proportions resemble that of a female athlete. Many of them are more Wonder Woman like than the actual character!

Muscular thighs and a powerful looking upper body seems to be the model Wonder Woman is based upon. The women who train in what ever sport they choose to compete in create a body that is powerful and has implications about what a woman can achieve. The concept of the weaker sex is based around a pseudoscientific understanding of biology and physiology. The female body is seen as inferior or either frail. The muscular woman challenges this idea. This extends to a version of feminism that emphasizes women’s physical prowess as a means to challenge patriarchy. The fact that men are stronger than women has been used a justification to control women, becomes a ludicrous argument when women develop their strength. The image of the strong woman in this mode of thought can inspire young girls to grow up to be confident and independent women.William Moulton Marston Wonder Woman’s creator was a supporter of women’s rights. He has supported the women’s suffrage movement  and did not hold traditional views about gender roles. The character was not meant to be an empty vessel, but a symbol for women to liberate themselves. It surprising  that UN members are rejecting an image that shows a woman with one type of power. Although there are many types of power ( mental, financial, and constitutional) , physical power is still not consider acceptable for women. That statement about Wonder Woman’s “impossible proportions” just proves their objections are not out concern for women’s well being.

     The only legitimate argument that can be made to revoking the honorary ambassadorship is one of cultural sensitivity. This claim also has weak points. Wonder Woman is a white person who is trying to be presented in a campaign to empower girls and women globally. The majority of the world’s population is not white. This image almost seems like a painful reminder of the colonial past in which whiteness was presented as a standard of beauty and success in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Adding to this is the fact her costume is the US flag in swimming suit form. What appears from this is a type of subtle cultural imperialism. The great part about fictional characters is that they can be changed. That means even their skin color. Marvel has done comics in which their former character are no longer white. Amadeus Cho is the new Incredible Hulk. Fans did not recat negatively to the change, because comics function on retrocative continuity. There is no reason why Wonder Woman can be either African, Asian, or South American.

This needs to be done to correct past mistakes. It is no secret that comics have had a tradition of racist caricature. African Americans were targets, but Asians, Mexicans, and other non-white groups were subject to prejudicial representation in popular media. It was common to see blackface and yellowface  caricature in Wonder Woman comics in the 1940s and 1950s. The only characters drawn in a normal form were the whites. This was the era of Jim Crow and Japanese internment. Even after the end of World War II, ant-Asian and anti-black racism was still prevalent. America’s refusal to grant African American equal rights and its wars in Korea as well as Vietnam demonstrated America’s desire to maintain a white supremacist system.

 The Japanese a portrayed as small eyed, sneaky dwarfs. African Americans are shown as sub-human. These were the views shared by the majority of whites in the United States. 

The end of European colonial empires and the civil rights movement in the United States had a major impact on race  relations. Certain views were no longer acceptable. It had a positive effect on popular culture and comics, because more non-white superheroes were being created.  Wonder Woman has been used as a symbol for social justice whether its appearing on the cover of Ms. Magazine  or artistic renditions for a contemporary cause.

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An artistic rendition of Bree Newsome, who took down the Confederate flag form the South Carolina State House in 2015. It had been there since in 1961 and continues to be a symbol of division in hate.

Numerous fans produce art and share it online as a way to explain certain movements. This could range from anything to Black Lives Matter to women’s rights issues. Taking a recognizable popular culture figure helps explain what a cause is about. A popular symbol remains in the minds of  people longer than just mere ideas. Wonder Woman should not be regulated to just a frivolous part of entertainment.

   UN  member should reconsider their decision. If one examines the history of Wonder Woman she is a comic book character born out of the women’s rights movement. Using this cartoon character for a UN campaign to  empower women and girls would a positive development. This sudden reversal reveals what the organization is really about. The United Nations was never about creating world peace or even enforcing international law. It was about imposing order through the domination of the world’s most powerful nations . The UN has either authorized or allowed armed conflicts to start, which harms more women and children. It fails women on many levels and continues to make women’s rights as  low priority. There are a few programs for women’s causes, but these are under funded by peacekeeping missions. Although there was controversy regarding this event, one question remains. How come no one has nominated a real woman as an honorary ambassador? There are women who do amazing things everyday and making a difference in the world. May be this exposes a larger problem. The United Nations,just like most human societies is majority male dominated. Women must have an active part in the societies in which they live. While Wonder Woman is no longer going to be an honorary UN ambassador, she will always be a favorite among comic book fans.

Wonder Woman Is No Longer an Honorary UN Ambassador

Serena Williams Wins Her Seventh Wimbledon

Serena Williams won her seventh Wimbledon. She has proven over the years that she is one of the best tennis players competing today. Williams has made tennis an important sport and has done much to promote it to a wider audience. Once considered the domain of arrogant, pretentious, and self absorbed upper class elites has become a sport worth watching.  Below is a video showing both Serena and Venus flexing their muscles. Femuscleblog offers words of congratulations to the Williams sisters.

Serena Williams Wins Her Seventh Wimbledon

RIP Muhammad Ali

The sports world awoke to lugubrious news today. Muhammad Ali one of the greatest boxers passed away at the age of 74. His life was not only amazing in terms of his athletic feats, but his humanitarian work. Besides fighting opponents in the ring, he also fought social ills. Racism, white supremacy, war, and poverty were cancers he spent most of his life combating. Ali’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War inspired many peace activists. Muhammad Ali was a member of the Nation of Islam and supported Black Nationalism. As the years past he became a global icon. Muhammad Ali’s athletic talent boosted the international profile of the sport of boxing. Today matches are highly rated shows on television. Muhammad Ali will be remembered as one of the best athletes in history.

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Laila Ali With Father Muhammad Ali

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RIP Muhammad Ali