Friday, June 11, 2010

A response to an "ASK" question.

This was probably just a troll, but i still find myself keen to give an answer.

The question:
Why are men better than women?

The Previous answer was:

"Nature gave men the better body, we are taller and stronger. We also don't have to worry about PMS or be careful like women do during pregnancy which means we are ready 24/7/365 and require less maintenance. Even from the way we pee, men can do it easier while for women its more uncomfortable. men have higher toleration to "physical" pain because we have a higher muscle ratio, giving us greater upper body strength. female hip bones are wider apart so they are slower than men at running and more prone to injury in sports
. . ."structurally" men are better. . ." "

Which I really do not think provides a satisfactory answer. The original question presupposes that men are "better" than women, however "better" is used ambigiously here. Certainly we could say things like "Men have strength" but we cannot say this is true of all men, or that it is "better" than many other traits. Likewise comments like "women get PMS" is absurd reasoning, all humans regardless of gender experience mood changes affected by reproductive hormones, both males and females experience these fluctuations. Females often in corrollation with their ovulation/menstration cycle and men often experience mood changes when replenishing sperm "Stocks"(somewhat frequently). But yet again we have nothing to suggest that this is the case for all people and it certainly doesn't bring us closer to deciding if one gender is better than another. Ideas about "maintenance", "pain tolerance" "run speed" are all affected by societal expectations, vary between individual people and do not, by themselves, qualify for an overall "better." The final comment that "structurally men are better" is again absurd, a good question to ask this claim is "better at what?" and does that kind of "better" override the structural benefits of the alternative? Surely the answer is no, built for different purposes perhaps, but you could not draw from this that one is "better."

So... who is "better?" Honestly, neither. This is another case of the human tendancy towards dichotomy. That is we tend to want to divide the "traits" into two non-overlapping categories, in this case "male" and "female." We assign (percieved) characteristics to each group. Unfortunatly power imbalances between the groups can lead to negative traits being assigned more readily to the less-powerfull. Furthermore trait's of the less-powerful group that are not "negative" may be percieved to be negative. This is called class polarisation. In the case of male-female "which is better" debate, these polarisations cloud our judgement and do not help produce a realistic conclusion.

for example:
Strength - Weakness
Aggressive - submissive

To fully understand this you need to take a appropriately critical viewpoint of your current gender expectations, in particular to question their foundations.
In truth individuals are androgynous, that is that they have a fairly even mixture of traits and mental attributes from the two artificial categories. More or less our "tendacy" is incorrect and leads to questions like "why are men better than women."

The physical difference between genders are perhaps the largest true differences. However, despite these differences it is still difficult to define one as "better." In response to the original answer it could be just as easily said that women are more physically flexible than men, often have better fine motor skills and have a longer lifespan (often with less health issues). Of course, just as the generelisations made in the original answer, these do not apply to every women and only represent a slight tendency in the direction of being "better" in those areas. Yet again, we are no closer to defining who is "better" for it seems individuals have a mix of traits and even those traits which do have a gender correlation, it is a tenuous link and no one trait is vastly superior to another.

So my final answer is that men are not "better" than women and likewise women are not "better" than men. There are some patterns of trait strengths in the genders, however they are complimentary, have very little real affect on modern life and one cannot be said to be "better" than is subjective. Most individuals are androgynous and trying to divide the traits into two categories does not do the reality justice.

You could ask "why is it better to be a man" or "why is it better to be a women" The answers are of course subjective opinions and not something as "fact" but it is none the less a fun topic to mess around with :)