Are women really weaker than men?


#1

I’m reading a Christian book on the role of men. In it, it claims that women are weaker than men. Is that really true in a Catholic context? If so, in what respects are women weaker? I don’t buy into all of the feminist propaganda, but to me, the claim sounded a bit sexist. I’m more of the opinion that men and women are equals, and of equal but different strength. What’s your take on this topic? Thank you.


#2

Do you mean physical weaker?

I mean, that's just biology.

On the whole, men are stronger than women. 10 out of 10 my husband will win in arm wrestling. He does all the toting and lifting around here.

Is every individual man physically stronger than every individual woman? No. There are anomalies. But on the whole, yes. That's why women's physical exams in the military have been scaled-- women have to do fewer pull ups, push ups, etc, to qualify for positions as compared to men.

I see no reason to try to dance around this fact by saying that "men and women are equals, and of equal but different strength". In physical tasks, we aren't equals. So why try to say we are.

If I've misunderstood something, please correct me. Also, it probably would be good to have a little more context regarding the book.


#3

I think it is a scientific fact that woman lack the muscle mass that men have. So, yes, women physically are weaker then men. Have you seen any heavy lifting competitions? The ladies never lift as much as the men do because they just don't have the muscle mass.

That does not mean that woman are emotionally or psychologically weaker than men. I am much better at balancing our checkbook and keeping track of money than my husband is. I am also much more patient than he is, so I am much better at dealing with the children than he is. That's one of the reasons why the kids always come to me first if they have a problem. They usually only go to Daddy if I'm not around of if I can't help them.


#4

I dunno. I’ve heard that the uterus is the strongest muscle in a human. Since men don’t have one, we can’t compete. :smiley:

Men do tend to make up for it in every other muscle, however.


#5

[quote="AllSeasons, post:1, topic:283777"]
I'm reading a Christian book on the role of men. In it, it claims that women are weaker than men. Is that really true in a Catholic context? If so, in what respects are women weaker? I don't buy into all of the feminist propaganda, but to me, the claim sounded a bit sexist. I'm more of the opinion that men and women are equals, and of equal but different strength. What's your take on this topic? Thank you.

[/quote]

What book did you read?


#6

The book didn't say just physical strength, but also other types of strength, such as spiritual, emotional, social, etc. I agree that if we're talking exclusively about physical strength, it's not much of an argument in most cases.


#7

As a boy of 9, I was told by my father, "Never underestimate the power of a woman." It took me a few years to understand what he meant: women are just as capable of evil as men.


#8

On the other hand, one would expect women can generally survive famine better than men because of a higher body-fat content (starting with each at a healthy weight, that is).

Also women tend to live longer, though this is largely (entirely?) due to the differences in lifestyle between men and women, especially in the old days when today's elderly people were young. For instance men used to smoke much more than women, though today that's evening out.

As far as intelligence, from what I've read men tend to have greater spacial intelligence and women tend to have greater verbal intelligence. Again this is a matter of averages, though it does, like physical strength, seem to have a biological basis since (again, just from what I've read here and there), men with higher testosterone levels also tend to have greater spacial intelligence and lesser verbal intelligence than men with lower testosterone levels.

As far as general intelligence goes, from a newspaper science article I read apparently there are far more men with genius-level IQs than women, but if you remove these outlyers from consideration and look just at non-geniuses, there is no real difference between men and women.

Finally, with regard to certain sins men and women may be stronger or weaker. For instance, women really do on average have weaker (not just different) sex drives, and so one would expect them to more easily resist temptations related to lust. Also women on the whole tend to be more churchgoing, for whatever reason. On the other hand, I hope this will not be interpreted as sexist, but from my experience it seems like women have an even greater tendency towards subjectivist approaches to truth and morality than men have, on average.

A Christian view of the differences between the sexes would not be to identify which one is superior and demand the inferior sex grovel before the other, but to see the sexes as complementary, one strong just where the other is weak so that they can forge a life together as husband and wife, and as a wider society made up of men and women.

That's not to say there is not a proper vertical dimension to the relationship as well as a horizontal one, but with the exception of the post-modern West the problem in the relationship between the sexes has usually been one of overemphasis of this vertical dimension and underemphasis of the horizontal one. Hence the need to stress the horizontal aspect: the equal human dignity of men and women and their possessing different, complimentary sets of strengths and weaknesses.


#9

It depends upon their respective body builds and ages; a 65-year-old man , IMS, has the muscle tone of a 25- yo woman.

Also, there are slight, asthenic males, and Amazonian females:shrug:

ICXC NIKA


#10

[quote="AllSeasons, post:1, topic:283777"]
I'm reading a Christian book on the role of men. In it, it claims that women are weaker than men. Is that really true in a Catholic context? If so, in what respects are women weaker? I don't buy into all of the feminist propaganda, but to me, the claim sounded a bit sexist. I'm more of the opinion that men and women are equals, and of equal but different strength. What's your take on this topic? Thank you.

[/quote]

Yeah. As others have noted, you have to be a bit more specific if you are going to address an issue of whether men or women are weaker. A Christian book could be addressing physical, spiritual, or emotional attributes of men and women.

There's a big difference between discussing weakness in terms of physical body strength and weakness in terms of resisting temptation. Likewise it is helpful to know how "strength" is being measured. Is someone who breaks down and cries whenever something goes wrong but then deals with the situation mentally and emotionally weaker or stronger than someone who seemingly remains calm but then goes on to make lots of poor decisions?

Even when dealing with physical strength there are areas where men are generally "stronger" than women and areas where "women" are seemingly stronger than men. We know men (on the average) have much more muscle than women particularly in the upper body. But there are other kinds of physical "strength", for example, resistance to disease and the ability to handle pain.

If this book is making general statements about men being stronger than women without explaining how or why then I would be cautious about any other claims it makes. (If it is an older book then you may have to factor in prevailing societal beliefs at the time the book was written.)


#11

[quote="AllSeasons, post:6, topic:283777"]
The book didn't say just physical strength, but also other types of strength, such as spiritual, emotional, social, etc. I agree that if we're talking exclusively about physical strength, it's not much of an argument in most cases.

[/quote]

That's utter nonsense.

Our Lady had to have plenty of strength to go through what she did. A lot of women hone those other strengths to great proportions in part because of their lack of physical strength. It takes a lot of spiritual, emotional and social strength to willingly submit to her husband's decisions and even more to not say "I told you so" when they go awry. (I'm a guy, so I can say that :D)

(disclaimer: I absolutely don't mean she should submit because of his physical strength)

BTW - what is the title of the book? It might help if one of the other posters has some further context on its content and purpose.


#12

However, women are stronger biologically, starting in infancy and throughout the lifespan. Their internal organs are stronger, less vulnerable to infectious and degenerative disease, and able to withstand physical pain better than those of men. And in mostly every culture, women outlive men, probably because most of them are not married to women!


#13

More male fetuses are miscarried than female. More male infants than female die in the first year of life. Women live longer on average. So while men may be stronger in terms of sheer lifting power, it seems that women have more endurance to live.

As for mental I think they are equal, but I also think that women like to hide or deny their intelligence more. I'm in my mid 20's, so I'm still part of the "ditzy is cute" age group. That's why most of my friends are men.

I think that by and large women are more stubborn, but that men are more gentle. (Yes, I really said that.) Women are harsh and snippy while men try to be calm and fair. I think that the male instinct to guard and protect women is an amazing thing. (But I also believe that its a woman's responsibility to make sure she doesn't have to be protected. That means self-defense classes, taking basic safety precautions, getting an education and being able to support herself, even if she later chooses to stay home, and learning how to assert herself when the situation calls for it.)

I view women as more religious, by a lot. And I know that this is very unfair and inaccurate but because I view religion as such a feminine thing when I encounter a very religious man my first reaction is to see him as weak. Of course I always correct myself. I've known a lot of strong and devout men. But I know that my thought process isn't uncommon because I had this discussion with friends last week. I think its because I grew up seeing only women in church pews. (Rural area, men stayed home and worked.) Even my grandpa would make comments about how church was for women.


#14

**Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses.

There is no way I could ever lift what a man can, nor could I ever swim as fast as a man.
But then again, a man thinks he's dying when he has a cold, and would completely fall apart if he had to give birth.

There are different kinds of strength, We are made different, but compliment one another. **


#15

[quote="BlueEyedLady, post:13, topic:283777"]
More male fetuses are miscarried than female. More male infants than female die in the first year of life. Women live longer on average. So while men may be stronger in terms of sheer lifting power, it seems that women have more endurance to live.

As for mental I think they are equal, but I also think that women like to hide or deny their intelligence more. I'm in my mid 20's, so I'm still part of the "ditzy is cute" age group. That's why most of my friends are men.

I think that by and large women are more stubborn, but that men are more gentle. (Yes, I really said that.) Women are harsh and snippy while men try to be calm and fair. I think that the male instinct to guard and protect women is an amazing thing. (But I also believe that its a woman's responsibility to make sure she doesn't have to be protected. That means self-defense classes, taking basic safety precautions, getting an education and being able to support herself, even if she later chooses to stay home, and learning how to assert herself when the situation calls for it.)

I view women as more religious, by a lot. And I know that this is very unfair and inaccurate but because I view religion as such a feminine thing when I encounter a very religious man my first reaction is to see him as weak. Of course I always correct myself. I've known a lot of strong and devout men. But I know that my thought process isn't uncommon because I had this discussion with friends last week. I think its because I grew up seeing only women in church pews. (Rural area, men stayed home and worked.) Even my grandpa would make comments about how church was for women.

[/quote]

As far as religion goes, your perception is likely due to having (I assume) lived your life in a Christian/Post-Christian culture. In Christianity, more women than men tend to be very religious. In every other major religion, from Judaism and Islam to Hinduism and Buddhism, more men than women tend to be very religious. Perhaps the difference is that our concept of "religious" is too universal, and it would be more accurate to say that more women than men tend to be "very Christian" while more men than women tend to be "very Buddhist", for instance.


#16

[quote="AllSeasons, post:6, topic:283777"]
The book didn't say just physical strength, but also other types of strength, such as spiritual, emotional, social, etc. I agree that if we're talking exclusively about physical strength, it's not much of an argument in most cases.

[/quote]

Well, what is the name of the book and the author?

That does not sound like authentic Catholic teaching.


#17

[quote="AllSeasons, post:1, topic:283777"]
I'm reading a Christian book on the role of men. In it, it claims that women are weaker than men. If so, in what respects are women weaker? I don't buy into all of the feminist propaganda, but to me, the claim sounded a bit sexist. I'm more of the opinion that men and women are equals, and of equal but different strength. What's your take on this topic? Thank you.

[/quote]

Don't agree women are weaker. Separate but equal? Now that is a slippery slope that has already been played out in racism. Not really buying into that either. I would toss the book personally :shrug: There are so many non real Christian subjective attitudes out there and sexism (all the ism's actually - racism, classism, sexism, etc.) runs rampant. Even topics in this very forum are oftentimes bogged down with so much sexism and false demeaning assumptions I can hardly stand to come here at times.


#18

Asking again, what is the title of the book please?


#19

[quote="AllSeasons, post:6, topic:283777"]
The book didn't say just physical strength, but also other types of strength, such as spiritual, emotional, social, etc. I agree that if we're talking exclusively about physical strength, it's not much of an argument in most cases.

[/quote]

When Jesus died the WOMEN were at the foot of the cross. The WOMEN went to the tomb. Christ first revealed Himself to the WOMEN because they were brave enough to be seen out in public... all while the MALE apostles were all scared out of their minds and hiding.
:shrug: ;)

It's a DIFFERENT sort of strength.


#20

? Great example of another sexist attitude. It has been proven that men married to women actually increase their own lifespan and live longer than unmarried men. Women live longer regardless of their martial status, with some studies finding that unmarried women tend to live a bit longer on average.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.