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Comment of the Day: The Differences Between Men and Women

Posted on October 15 2009 9:27 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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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.

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