There are many dif­fer­ences be­tween men and women

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

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.

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