I guess that it was inevitable, that sooner or later, something would trigger my disdain towards the gender wars. The past month provided me with enough material to do just that.
It all started with an article in a medical aid magazine. As usual, the common gender rhetoric was present in abundance – “As women get stronger and stronger, their times are getting better and better. The gap separating men and women is closing.” - but, it wisely included choice comments by prominent scientists and coaches that, intimated at the differences: “A woman athlete will never out sprint a man so long as she is a genuine woman” and, “Because the average sub-elite woman is around 15kg lighter than a comparable man, she will perform better the longer the distance gets. It doesn’t mean that there is any narrowing of the gender gap.”
Some went as far as to claim that the differences were mostly partial to the way one perceives one self. Natalie du Toit, a disabled swimmer, was used as an example. She is being coached into NOT believing in her weaknesses as a limiting factor and, as proof, it was stated that she is currently beating all the male athletes in her swimming training squad. Further on in the article is went on to note that she is still 30 seconds off the women’s world record target.
Another contentious example used was that of Billie Jean King, then in her prime, beating a 55 year old male tennis player, Bobby Riggs, in three straight sets (6-4, 6-3, 6-3.) If memory serves, female activist of the time, jumped on the band wagon claiming equality or else.
On a different front, a popular woman’s magazine took to publishing an illustrative guide to the differences. Some of the ‘brain’ comparative differences quoted are: Males – 3 times more likely to be brilliant at maths; 100 times more likely to be a chess Grand master. Females – 33% more likely to attend religious services; two-and-a-half times more likely to become psychologists.
On the physiological front: Females – 23% of body weight is muscle; needs at least 12% body fat to maintain fertility; takes twice as long to process food. Males – 40% of body weight is muscle; needs at least 3% body fat to maintain functions; produces more stomach acid.
Fun differences are: Males – makes 82% of marriage proposals; four times more likely to commit suicide. Females – Initiates 70% of divorces; Puff for puff, 72% more likely to develop lung cancer.
A trendy daily newspaper went on to print that “Grumpy old men are more an exception than the rule. A new study suggests that men’s anger dissipates and mellows with age while women these days start off angry and get angrier and grumpier as they get older. Women take things personally and are likely to be angry about a situation than not angry.” The article was written by a female reporter.
When one postulates on the above observations and assumptions to what they really mean in the scheme of things, or in trying to prove gender equality, one does nothing more but while away time. Precious time that could have been used for the betterment of humankind as a whole.
Differences there will always be. Nature intended a pattern of life that is out of human control and nothing human will change that. Once again, it seems that our developed brain is creating a problem situation that does not generally exist in nature. Animals accept each other for what they are, yet will perform their different roles or obligations without remorse or grudge.
The only piece of close equality lies in the human brain. A piece of highly specialised grey matter that permits us to live, exist, perform, out-think and produce offspring with the passion of horny rabbits. Yet, even that is wired differently. The right and left brain differences are more evident in males than in females. Differences that are unmistakable in the way the two genders deal with problems, ordeals and life.
Pepe le Pew (a cartoon character) claimed that: “there is very little difference between male and female. Vive la Difference!”
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