The Weaker Sex Science That Shows Women Are Stronger Than Men
When it comes to longevity, surviving illness and coping with trauma, one gender comes out on top. Angela Saini meets the scientists working out why
Four years ago, completely spent, blood transfused into me in a frantic effort to allow me to walk, I lay on a hospital bed having given birth the day before. To the joy of my family, I had brought them a son. Blue balloons foretold a man in the making. Not just the apple of my eye, but the one who would one day open jam jars for me. The hero who would do the DIY and put out the rubbish. He who was born to be strong because he is male.
But then, physical strength can be defined in different ways. What I was yet to learn was that, beneath our skin, women bubble with a source of power that even science has yet to fully understand. We are better survivors than men. Whats more, we are born this way.
Women may hold the key to prolonging life in extremely old age, the gap between the sexes is glaring
Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men, says Steven Austad, an international expert on ageing, and chair of the biology department at the University of Alabama. For almost two decades, he has been studying one of the best-known yet under-researched facts of human biology: that women live longer than men. His longevity database shows that all over the world and as far back as records have been kept, women outlive men by around five or six years. He describes them as being more robust.
Women Are Better Workers Than Men
You need a reality check. Check out the statistics on women astronauts…Half of the last class selected for a future Mars mission were women. Check out the numbers of women who have died for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. This year, the US Army Rangers and Navy Seals are admitting women for combat. Check out the number of women CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies or the Forbes Lists of the Richest People in the World. We can shoot well enough to be a snipers, fly drones, helicopters and war planes. You haven’t figured out that women actually rule the world because all men want us…..I’ll never be second because that’s what I choose, not them.
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Women and men present different symptoms for the same medical conditions. Women are more likely to have insomnia and fatigue in the weeks before they have a heart attack, rather than the chest pain commonly experienced by men.
Changes of life Women in India, Japan and China experience far fewer menopause symptoms than western women who commonly report hot flushes, night sweats, depression and insomnia. Scientists at Kings College London argue this could be due to women lumping together their experience of growing older with the menopause.
Casual sex Women are choosier but not more chaste than men. A study by two German researchers, Andreas Baranowski and Heiko Hecht, found that women want casual sex just as much as men and were as likely as males to have sex with a stranger, as long as it was in a safe environment.
Boys toys A 2010 study by Professor Melissa Hines at the University of Cambridge found that girls on average were genetically predisposed to prefer dolls while boys liked to play with mechanical toys such as trains.
Risky business Testosterone is associated with higher levels of optimism, rather than aggression. Saliva samples taken from traders on the London Stock Exchange confirmed they had higher than average testosterone levels. Scientists from Britain, the USA and Spain concluded this increase made the traders more optimistic so more likely to take big financial risks.
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Those In Power Will Always Struggle Hard To Stay In Power Through Whatever Means They Can
Some newly-strong women, in fact, may prefer to keep it that way as well. As Katz points out, some of feminisms most vociferous opponents have been women. Rather than fight against the system, they may have found ways to work it to their advantage and to minimise sexist behaviour with justifications such as Thats just locker room talk.
The impacts of these opposing movements some pro-equality, others against is visible in modern-day politics. On the one hand, Katz says, in the US, youve got a guy unapologetically evoking an era when women were ornamental, and who got elected partly by appealing to throwback masculinity.
On the other, Petersen adds, as societies have grown more complex, democratic and peaceful, violence and aggression as tools for maintaining control have decreased. This has contributed to a growing number of female political leaders taking centre stage Angela Merkel being the most prominent example.
So, while its pure fantasy to imagine that women may suddenly become physically stronger than men, some of the shifts that such a scenario would trigger are already underway. As Fairbairn says, Id rather women just run the world as we are now.
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Practical Application Of Strength Differences
Because human muscle tissue is made up of the same thing regardless of gender, all human muscle responds to stimulation in the same way. If a woman trains with weight that meets her thresholds, she will gain strength at the same rate as a man who trains at the same level of intensity, relative to his threshold.
Progressive overload, or the idea of periodically increasing resistance load to challenge the limits of strength, is key to building strength and power; both men and women can achieve this.
It can be seen, however, that women tend to match the strength of men more closely in lower body muscles than in upper body muscles. For examples, squats and lunges come easier to women than push-ups or pull-ups.
Men Vs Women: No Clear Winner
An alien landing on earth for the first time may easily form the opinion that the male of our species, being larger, is biologically superior to the female. But on closer inspection, he would find that biological advantages and disadvantages are more or less equally distributed between the sexes:
1M. Men are physically stronger than women, who have, on average, less total muscle mass, both in absolute terms and relative to total body mass. The greater muscle mass of men is the result of testosterone-induced muscular hypertrophy. Men also have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments.
1W. Women produce more antibodies and at a quicker rate than men, and have more white blood cells. For these reasons, they develop fewer infectious diseases and when they do, they succumb for shorter periods. Man-flu is not a myth!
2M. Men have greater cardiovascular reserve, with larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass, a higher red blood cell count, and higher hemoglobin. They also have higher circulating clotting factors, which leads to faster healing of wounds.
2W. Women have lower blood pressure than men, and, at least prior to menopause, are less likely to suffer from potentially deadly cardiovascular diseases.
4W. At the other end of the spectrum there should also be fewer women than men with learning difficulties.
How Does A Woman End Up With Two Toolboxes
Well, right at the start of female development, at the multicellular stage, it seems theres a random turning-off of one X in each cell. That creates two populations of cells, each one using an alternate X. And then when, say, the babys heart is being built, if her fathers X can build a better heart, his X cells will outperform her mothers, and shell end up with 80 per cent of her heart cells using her fathers X, and only 20 per cent using her mothers. Whereas in her skin, it might be reversed.
Its like youre building a house, and for every room, there are two blueprints you can build by, and the foreman decides which is better. And every organ and every system in a female body has that massive advantage over mine.
Thats why boys around the world consistently outnumber girls in congenital malformations: problems in the way things are built. From relatively benign things like tongue-tie, to much more severe things like club foot, webbed toes and organ malformations.
Female Mast Cells Make And Store More Inflammatory Substances
When activated by stress or allergens, female mast cells release more inflammatory substances, which can provoke a more aggressive immune response such as anaphylaxisâ a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction â and leaky gut.
We have discovered that mast cells isolated from females make and store more inflammatory substances â histamine, serotonin, and proteases â than mast cells from males. These substances are responsible for many symptoms of mast cell-associated disease, including airway congestion, migraine headache, abdominal pain, digestive issues, and shortness of breath. While mast cells from females and males have the same genes, with the exception of sex chromosome genes, their levels of gene activity differ significantly. In fact, we found that more than 4,000 genes were more active in female mast cells compared with those from males.
Further, many of the highly active genes in females produce proteins that are involved in manufacturing and storing inflammatory substances such as histamine and proteases. This unique difference in the ability of females to store and release more histamine and proteases may explain why female mast cells can trigger a more potent immune reaction. It also may suggest why women may be more vulnerable to certain diseases and disorders and why men are more resistant.
Is The Male Performance Advantage Lost When Testosterone Is Suppressed In Transgender Women
The current IOC criteria for inclusion of transgender women in female sports categories require testosterone suppression below 10;nmol/L for 12;months prior to and during competition. Given the IOCs stated position that the overriding sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition , it is reasonable to assume that the rationale for this requirement is that it reduces the male performance advantages described previously to an acceptable degree, thus permitting fair and safe competition. To determine whether this medical intervention is sufficient to remove the male performance advantage, which we described above, we performed a systematic search of the scientific literature addressing anthropometric and muscle characteristics of transgender women. Search terms and filtering of peer-reviewed data are given in Supplementary Table S1.
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Functional Differences Between Genders
As sure as power lifting and other muscle building sports and exercise programs are more challenging for women, many flexibility-related movements are more challenging for men. Because muscles are essential in the flexibility equation, it must be credited to women that they have the muscular strength advantage in certain areas.
While men are taller and broader, built to carry and lift, women are more inclined to use muscular strength for tasks related to flexibility, coordination and balance. More women than men take yoga classes and that may be part of the reason that women who perform stretching exercises along with lower-body strengthening exercises have the edge on balance says the American Heart Association.
It has been proven that although men typically have better performances in sports such as sprinting, distance running and swimming, given the proportional difference in height and muscle area, women are actually stronger in these events. In the absence of external-weighted load, women can be considered to be the supreme sex in sports reliant on rhythmic use of muscular coordination.
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Evolution Of Sexual Dimorphism In Human Voice Pitch
The pitch of the voice is about half as high in males as in females. Even after controlling for body height and volume, the male voice remains lower. Charles Darwin suggested that the human voice evolved through intersexual sexual selection, via female male choices. Puts showed that preference for male voice pitch changed according to the stage of the menstrual cycle while Puts found women preferred lower male voices mainly for short-term, sexual relationships. Intrasexual selection, via male competition, also causes a selection in voice pitch. Pitch is related to interpersonal power and males tend to adjust their pitch according to their perceived dominance when speaking to a competitor.
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Why Do Men Run Faster Than Women
ByLaura Geggel27 May 2017
Running is a sport that both men and women enjoy, whether they’re racing in a 5K or a marathon, or competing for a team or their country while speeding around a track. But no matter the venue, it’s pretty common to see men clock faster times than women do.
Given that both men and women train equally hard, why is it that men, on average, are faster runners than women? Even the world’s fastest man is about a second speedier on the 100-meter dash than the world’s fastest woman: Usain Bolt did it in 9.58 seconds, versus the late Florence Griffith Joyner’s time of 10.49 seconds.
The answer to this gender bender is multifold, but it has a lot to do with hormones and body size, doctors told Live Science.
Before girls and boys hit puberty, their bodies are fairly similar. During puberty, however, boys experience a surge of testosterone. By adulthood, some men have up to 20 times more testosterone than women do, according to HealthLine.
Testosterone plays several roles, including telling the body to create new blood cells, keeping bones and muscles strong and prompting growth spurts, according to the Society of Endocrinology.
“Because produce less testosterone, we are at a disadvantage in terms of muscle,” said Dr. Emily Kraus, a primary care sports medicine physician at Stanford Health Care in California. “Males have a greater amount of muscle bulk.”
Men Have Higher Mortality
So far, itâs sounding pretty good for men. Their mast cells produce less inflammatory mediators, and they are less prone to have hyperactive immune disorders like autoimmune disease, chronic pain disorders, and IBS. But, thereâs another side to the story that gives women a huge advantage.
Because women have much stronger immune systems than men, they can mount more effective immune responses against viruses and bacteria. While the precise reason why females mount a greater immune response is not fully understood, mast cells are likely an important factor.
Mast cells are the first immune cells to become activated in response to pathogen infections and are critical for orchestrating the immune responses necessary for clearing infections and for developing protective immunity to prevent subsequent infections. Therefore, womenâs immune systems are superior.
The immune system is also important for regulating the growth of cancer cells, which may be a major reason why men have higher rates ofdeath from cancer. The greater immune response in females is not just in humans; this pattern is observed across species.
Men Offering To Pay For Women’s Meals On Dates
If you go on dates with men, and those men offer to pay for your meal, that isn’t necessarily a sexist move on their part. It definitely can be, if you’re dating a misogynist who’s likely only offering to buy your pasta so that you’ll be in his debt, or because not paying for your meal would wound his fragile masculinity. However, if your date is offering to buy your meal for the right reasons, that can actually even be a feminist act on his part.
Before I moved to NYC, I rarely ever let my dates pay for my meals and/or drinks because I didn’t like the feeling of “owing” someone I was sleeping with. I actually still prefer going dutch over letting someone pay for me, but in my limited experience, dudes in New York have always wanted to treat me. Even though it’s kind of difficult for me to do, I’ve mostly been letting them, because NYC is expensive and the wage gap is a real thing.
When you consider the fact that women make an average of 79 percent of what men make, , it makes sense that some feminist men would want to fight the patriarchy in this small way. So, when men offer to pay for your meals for socially conscious reasons, that’s anything but automatically sexist.
And Yet You Also Say That Womens Immune Systems Are Often Better Than Mens
Right! A perfect example may be COVID-19. Of course we cant be sure yet, but according to the World Health Organisation , early figures show that more men than women are dying of corona. And if we look at another corona-virus, MERS Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome it certainly kills more men.
Now if you ask the WHO why that is, Im not kidding, they still say its because men dont wash their hands, and smoke more. But what were seeing is that tobacco consumption doesnt actually correlate to COVID-19 deaths. I think the real reason is that all male immune cells are identical, whereas females have a choice of two. Maybe the immune cells using your mothers X are better at fighting corona than the ones using your fathers X. And so over time, they will divide more swiftly and dominate your bodys response to that infection.
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