Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently claimed that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution—which prohibits depriving "any person" of equal rights—does not apply to women. In other words, according to Scalia, women are not equal to men. Guess what? Scalia is right, but in the diametrically opposite way, because it seems women are actually superior to men! Here's the score.
It is a well known fact that in most cultures women live longer than men. In the United States, for instance, all races considered, women now live an average of 80.1 years, compared to 74.8 years for men. Hence, from a longevity standpoint, women score a point.
Many studies have demonstrated that women have a higher pain tolerance than men—probably an evolutionary adaptation from childbirth. (The brilliant comedienne Carole Burnett once tried to express to a man the pain of childbirth by telling him to imagine what it would feel like to "take your bottom lip and pull it over your head!") Higher pain tolerance: another point for women.
Similarly, it is believed that women can live longer than men without food because women have more body fat and less muscle mass than men. Since fatty tissue needs far fewer calories than muscle, women have the double advantage during starvation of having less muscle (thus burning fewer calories) and more fat (thus having a greater amount of stored calories) which translates into a metabolic advantage during times of famine. Score's now women 3; men zip.
Moreover, due to having less body mass than men, women use fewer natural resources (i.e. air, water, food, fuel, etc.) so women are naturally "greener" than men. Okay, score's now 4 to 0.
In addition women generally seem to have higher social and emotional intelligence than men, are less violent and aggressive, are almost never serial killers or sexual sadists, and are far safer drivers (sorry guys, but it's true). In fact, a recent New York Times piece noted that men are found to drive faster overall, ignore traffic laws more often, take more (and greater) risks, and are involved in the majority of fatal crashes around the globe. Score's now women 5; men nada.
Also, having two X chromosomes provides a huge health advantage, which is clearly the case for X-linked diseases, such as color blindness, hemophilia and Duchenne's disease (a severe recessive X-linked form of muscular dystrophy). These diseases, caused by mutations on the X chromosome, nearly always affect only men. Since females have two cell lines (one paternal and the other maternal with different X chromosomes active), if just one of a woman's X chromosomes is "healthy," it can prevent the expression of most X-linked diseases. Males, however, who have a "sick" X chromosome will inevitably be affected, as they have no "back-up" X chromosome from a "healthy"cell line. Women 6; men zilch.
And then there's parthenogenesis—a form of asexual reproduction found exclusively in females, where growth and development of embryos occurs without fertilization by a male. What's more, parthenogenesis always results in female progeny because the offspring invariably possess two X chromosomes. While there are no known cases of naturally occurring mammalian parthenogenesis in the wild, it does occur in a variety of species and is a possibility in humans. Hence, it is theoretically possible for women to reproduce without any male genetic contribution (i.e. sperm), while it is impossible for men to procreate without women. Score another point (their seventh) for the girls.
And speaking of sex, consider that women can be multi-orgasmic! Score another major point for the ladies.
In essence, the only area where men have a clear biological advantage over women is their physical strength and possibly reaction time. But, unless we're considering sports or athletic performance, even this physical advantage is becoming less and less important due to technological advancements that are leveling the physical playing field. Still, in all fairness, let's give the guys a point.
Final score: women 8; men 1.
So, in a true battle of the sexes, the smart move would be to bet on the women. Sorry Justice Scalia, but even narrow-minded, conservative misogynists can't ignore the facts all the time.
Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!
Copyright by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.