Natural Bodies Are Hard Work
We commonly hear claims that men are naturally more muscular and physically intimidating than women. “It’s a biological fact,” someone might say. If that were true, though, we wouldn’t have to work so incredibly hard to make it so.
@IllMakeItMyself sent in this great example of the way in which we are pushed to force our bodies into a gender binary that we pretend is natural. On the upper right part of the Men’s Health cover, it reads: “Add 15lb of muscle” and, right next door on the Women’s Health cover, it reads “5 ways to lose 15 lbs.”
If we have to try this hard to make it true, maybe we’re not as different as we think we are.
Originally posted on Sociological Images, and reposted with permission.
A male commentor on my blog once pointed out that women are expected to be skinnier than men, and yet Mother Nature wants women to have higher fat levels. After all, estrogen turns a higher percentage of calories into fat for women, while testosterone turns a higher percentage of calories into muscle for men. Yet women often end up feeling that they have to work to have a “natural” skinny body.
So I would say that yes, men are on average more muscular due to testosterone. But then we put a lot of work into turning that biological sex difference into a more exaggerated gender difference, whether through men’s weightlifting, supplements, steroids, or “tough guy” stances.