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Comment of the Day: The Differences Between Men and Women

October 15, 2009


Cas Balicki, again proving himself one of NewsReal’s most thoughtful commenters on yesterday’s open thread:

Since this is an open thread:

David Horowitz’s post of yesterday touched on a genderless society. I take that suggestion more as a political conception than a practical or biological idea. What has always troubled me about male/female differences, aside from the obvious ones that trouble me not one wit, are the significant psychological and physiological differences. The physiological differences to which I refer are things such as measures of upper body strength, depth perception, and overall endurance.

My problem with declaring men and women equal in all respects is that when I look at sports what I see is a complete repudiation of this axiom. Watching Olympic gymnastics would confirm these physiological differences as women’s events tend to emphasize balance where men’s tend to emphasise physical strength and more particularly upper-body strength. Even looking at events such as running, both short and long distance, men’s times are better. What is surprising about this fact is that woman are reputed to have greater endurance than man on a pound for pound basis. Yet women’s world best times in the marathon trial men’s by some fifteen to twenty minutes. Clearly, facts such as lung capacity play a role in overcoming endurance.

In addition, there are also differences that appear on normal or bell-curve distributions. When populations of men and women are compared the left tail of the bell curve confirms that baby boys have more problems—higher infant mortality, higher incidence of retardation, etc.—than girls. In a statistical sense boys are over represented on the left side of the bell as compared to girls. The statistical news, however, doesn’t appear to be all bad as boys are also over-represented on the right side of the curve, meaning there are more geniuses among boys/men than among women. This is not to say that women cannot be geniuses, but that there are fewer of them as a portion of a normal population.

There are those that would deny psychological differences between men and women. I am not one of them. I don’t want to turn myself into an atavist chauvinist, but being a sometime sports fan I can only point to sports such as horse and automobile racing to prove the point that there are psychological differences between men and women that appear in competitive situations. When I consider horseracing, I see a sport that confers huge advantages to women as opposed to men the chief of which is weight and the related ability to maintain a light weight. Yet there are fewer women jockeys than men jockeys. The same is true for automobile racing. I attribute this dearth of women riders to psychological differences between men and women, more specifically: to drive a car in a competitive environment at over two-hundred miles per hour requires an almost suicidal aggression that is not found in women to the degree that it is found in men. As well men are reputed to have a keener sense of depth perception, a vital talent in both horse and auto racing. In summary, the games we play define our physical differences better than any polemical tract published by NOW.

  1. October 15, 2009 11:02 pm

    Women weaker and smaller than men? Like doh.

    And a good thing too. It would be difficult to take them over your knee and spank their little backsides when they didn’t have dinner ready on time otherwise.

  2. October 16, 2009 3:37 am

    Mystery I love it.

  3. Julie Trevor permalink
    October 16, 2009 5:13 am

    Watch out, you’ll suffer the same fate as Larry Summers…

  4. October 16, 2009 6:58 am

    The psychological difference would stem from the difference between being the penetrator and the penetratee. As a male I find it impossible to imagine being the OBJECT of penetration and not the Subject of same.Needless to say not ALL men feel as I do.GHT

  5. ElanaSe permalink
    October 16, 2009 7:04 am

    Also testosterone and progesterone are different hormones for different genders. Women are more emotional, men are more adventurous. You can see that clearly while you’re driving: women usualy cause or almost cause accidents because they’re easily distracted, men – because they are too confident.
    Studies of brain have shown the clear differences in male and female intellectual abilities. They are not better or worse – they are different in different fields. It doesn’t mean there is no exception – but those prove the rule. Men tend to be more logical, women – more social.
    It always amazed me how easily modern feminists got dragged into this “equal” argument. Don’t they really see the difference?
    The original purpose of feminism was equal rights and opportunities – not celebration of mediocrity in the name of politics.
    But Cas, no matter how many facts you’ll show – be ready for the piles of dirt flying toward you.

  6. Walt permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:57 pm

    Men and Women are different in many ways. Those who try to smother those differences diminsh all of us.

  7. Rhodi permalink
    October 16, 2009 10:07 pm

    Men and women are designed to complement each other. I grew up with all women–a single mother, myself and my sisters; I can honestly say, now that we’re all married, there is much more balance at family functions.

  8. Trenchant Commentator permalink
    October 17, 2009 2:52 am

    Years ago, when working in the consulting engineering (energy sector) field, I had to research an article about why women comprised – at the time – less than 3% of engineers (the proportion hasn’t grown significantly since that time). I interviewed one of the company’s senior female engineers who spent a long time explaining (and demonstrating/proving with research she had done) that the female mind was less capable of manipulating three dimensional objects in the mind (i.e. spatial conceptualizing ability is inferior to the male’s).

    As a veteran of offices on three continents, I would also point out that the contemporary office – with its politics, political correctness and lower productivity – is symptomatic of women’s greater role in the workplace. I chose to go the consultancy route when it became obvious that I would never “fit” into contemporary office culture. Since then, I’d say that approx. half my female clients find clear motivation in trying to take a “sister” down. A businesswoman has no greater enemy than her female colleagues.

    The “glass ceiling” was demolished years ago. What women have not finessed is the ability to collaborate and be team players. Their higher degree of selfishness and egocentrism (in the office context) is the “built-in” glass ceiling that the female gender has yet to transcend. Women tend to “flock together”, but that does not constitute an ability to be “team players”. There’s the rub, girls!


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