There are many differences between men and women
Question: You’ve discussed briefly some of the physiological and emotional differences between the sexes. Could you list other physical characteristics unique to males and females?
Dobson: Men and women differ in countless ways, many of which they aren’t even conscious of. Here are just a few of those differences:
1. A woman has greater constitutional vitality, perhaps because of her unique chromosomal pattern. Normally, she outlives a man by three or four years in the United States. Females simply have a stronger hold on life than males.
2. Men have a higher incidence of death from almost every disease except disorders related to female reproduction and breast cancer.
3. The sexes differ in skeletal structure. Women have a shorter head, broader face, less protruding chin, shorter legs and longer trunk. The first finger of a woman’s hand is usually longer than the third; with men the reverse is true. Boys’ teeth last longer than do those of girls.
4. Women have a larger stomach, kidneys, liver and appendix, and smaller lungs than men.
5. Women have three important physiological functions totally absent in men — menstruation, pregnancy and lactation. Each of these mechanisms influences behavior and feelings significantly. Female hormonal patterns are more complex and varied. The glands work differently in the two sexes. For example, a woman’s thyroid is larger and more active; it enlarges during menstruation and pregnancy, which makes her more prone to goiter, and provides resistance to cold. It is also associated with the smooth skin, relatively hairless body and the thin layer of subcutaneous fat that are important elements in the concept of personal beauty.
6. Women’s blood contains more water (20 percent fewer red cells). Since these supply oxygen to the body, she tires more easily and is more prone to faint. Her constitutional viability is therefore strictly a long-range matter. When the working day in British factories, under wartime conditions, was increased from 10 to 12 hours, accidents of women increased 150 percent — but not at all in men.
7. Men are stronger than women in brute strength.
8. Women’s hearts beat more rapidly than those of men (80 bpm vs. 72 bpm). Their blood pressure (10 points lower than men) varies more from minute to minute, but they have much less tendency to high blood pressure — at least until after menopause.
9. Women can withstand higher temperatures better than men due to a difference in their metabolism.
10. Men and women differ in every cell of their bodies because they carry a differing chromosomal pattern. The implications of those genetic components range from obvious to extremely subtle.
Who can estimate how many other sex-related influences lie below the level of consciousness?
Question: What are the most common causes of depression in women?
Dobson: I asked that question of more than 10,000 women who completed a questionnaire titled “Sources of Depression in Women.” The most frequently reported concern was low self-esteem. More than 50 percent of an initial test group placed this problem at the top of the list, and 80 percent put it in the top five. These were primarily young, healthy women with seemingly happy marriages, which should have produced greater contentedness. Nevertheless, the majority struggled with feelings of inadequacy and a lack of confidence. That finding is rather typical of American women in all age categories and in various economic strata.