Nehanda Update: [Women are physically weaker.] Weaker doesn't mean less valuable.

(59 Posts)
EmbarrassingAdmissions Wed 21-Jul-21 21:01:16

Good discussion in her comments, including this from Salve Vagina:

This is a really great observation. The idea that physical strength equals social worth is so misogynist, but it's an idea so many of us [internalise] from childhood. And something deeply rooted like that is often very hard to even see in yourself, let alone to challenge and change.

twitter.com/NehandaMusic/status/1417570665331404803

She was mentioned on this 2020 thread in which she first her had reconsideration of her previous position about gender ideology:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/a3844928-Billy-Bragg?msgid=94899296#94899296

OP’s posts: |
FloralBunting Wed 21-Jul-21 21:07:15

Nehanda is one of my favourite tweeters. She's funny, charming, she takes no shit at all and you'll often find interesting conversations connected to her tweets. This is no exception.

FionaMacCool Wed 21-Jul-21 21:18:34

That's so funny @EmbarrassingAdmissions. I had clicked on her feed earlier today (from the Glasgow park walker thread-> Glinner> Twatter).

It's an excellent point isn't it?

Deliriumoftheendless Wed 21-Jul-21 21:19:38

Someone posted something along these lines way back on these boards and it really was a lightbulb moment for me- qualities like physical strength (which are generally greater in men) are prized so highly that to accept women are (generally) weaker seems to equate to “of less worth” which I think is probably why some feminists have pushed the idea that women can be as strong (ie as good) as men. But it’s all defined by a male model and we forget their are different forms of strength and that “softer” (for want of a better word) qualities are just as valuable.

It is a misogynistic view but one a lot of us have internalised. Because it’s everywhere.

ScreamingMeMe Wed 21-Jul-21 21:34:00

She's brilliant isn't she? And very talented. Buy her music or subscribe to her on Spotify 😉

I see that her "awakening" was caused by someone policing her language.

"Lol I have the exact moment screenshotted...I said uterus with regards to being female and someone called me a terf..."

"Suddenly EVERY WORD my mum had been saying came flooding back but in full colour..."

"They're policing language Nehanda"

"I didn't believe her...then this happened and I had to revisit everything she'd said on the whole matter...turns out mum was right...who'd have thought it"

twitter.com/NehandaMusic/status/1417575839298985985?s=20

littlbrowndog Wed 21-Jul-21 21:35:51

She is great. 🌟🌟🌟

ScreamingMeMe Wed 21-Jul-21 21:54:27

Some good discussion in the replies too. Worth a read.

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quixote9 Thu 22-Jul-21 03:09:55

Of course women are weaker ... because strength is defined as male forms of strength.

If you had a several-square-centimetres hemorrhage from an internal organ, like most women do every month, men would be in the emergency room. Women don't merely live with it, lots of them do difficult jobs and major athletic events at the same time.

Male physiology would collapse under the marathon of pregnancy, even if they had the uterus for it.

There's a lot of female winners among ultramarathoners, ultraswimmers, and the like. Extreme endurance is something women are better at. (Who would have guessed?)

NiceGerbil Thu 22-Jul-21 03:22:25

Agree agree

Everything pretty much is measured against standards set by men for men.

Yes they are on average bigger and physically stronger.

But we have different strengths.

Sports created by men for men to showcase the things men are good at. We can do other stuff better than them. But.. who knows what. Because sports invented by men. (Endurance, long distance, things involving flexibility.. dunno)

Laws by men for men. Property. The sort of violence men do to each other. Sex offences? Fucking useless. Flashing. Non contact. Can't be that bad..

Etc etc

NiceGerbil Thu 22-Jul-21 03:25:10

One thing we are superior at is having a crap grin

All those pushing muscles.

Looking on the many threads on here in general women in done out. Men... Not so much.

If they could do that they'd have power shitting competitions I'm sure of it grin

NiceGerbil Thu 22-Jul-21 03:37:23

Reading the responses I was thinking how can so many women say. Yes I used to deny the idea that men were stronger physically because it felt. One said disempowering.

And then I thought. When I was young. I knew it in theory but also I dunno. Felt it was irrelevant. Or maybe not such a big deal. I also thought blokes were almost all good chaps. And rapists were. Rare. Evil...

Then at 19 I was alone with an ex. He attacked me. And it changed everything.

I'm 5 3 he was 6 4 and played rugby to a high level.

I said no multiple times and he just.. ignored me. That was somehow a shock. I would say no and he would stop. That was how it was supposed to go.

I tried to wriggle free s little but no way obviously.

Then I froze and kind of disassociated s bit.

And after that things were different. I knew nice blokes did that. I knew no didn't work. I understood that with most men if they wanted they could take and I could do nothing about it.

I'm glad so many young women haven't learned that way. But that seems to mean pushing away real life and women who say VAWG is a massive problem. It's disempowering. Right?

TurquoiseBaubles Thu 22-Jul-21 06:14:32

It's like intelligence. We are programmed to think of intelligence as related to things we learn in school. Of course, that is also related to a misogynistic view of the world - traditionally men could study and learn and become clever; women "just" raised the children

As a mother to children with various learning difficulties, I went to a parenting course where I was introduced to the idea that there were many types of intelligence - physical, mental, social, musical, artistic etc etc. All of my children had a variety of these, but the only measure that was taken of them in school was academic.

Once I realised this I looked at all children with completely different eyes.

Just because a person is "cleverer" doesn't mean they are superior. Just because that person is stronger also shouldn't mean they are superior.

UsedUpUsername Thu 22-Jul-21 06:38:13

TurquoiseBaubles

It's like intelligence. We are programmed to think of intelligence as related to things we learn in school. Of course, that is also related to a misogynistic view of the world - traditionally men could study and learn and become clever; women "just" raised the children

As a mother to children with various learning difficulties, I went to a parenting course where I was introduced to the idea that there were many types of intelligence - physical, mental, social, musical, artistic etc etc. All of my children had a variety of these, but the only measure that was taken of them in school was academic.

Once I realised this I looked at all children with completely different eyes.

Just because a person is "cleverer" doesn't mean they are superior. Just because that person is stronger also shouldn't mean they are superior.

Yep.

Intelligence is highly prized by the culture so those who don’t measure up are considered less than.

It used to be the case with physical strength, but less so these days.

Fucket Thu 22-Jul-21 07:47:11

Regarding strength and intelligence, I have these conversations with my children a lot. The eldest girl views herself inferior to her brother because he is already stronger and faster. I will not lie to her as I was, men are stronger and faster. It’s helped stop her feel worthless. I’ve taught my son he shouldn’t brag that he is stronger and faster than girls. He should be, compared with his own sex he is shorter and not always as fast as his peers. He is therefore just ordinary. He is not allowed to use his strength to over power his sisters. It’s actually calmed them both down as they are fiercely competitive, and I hope my son will grow up knowing he shouldn’t use his strength against women.

My youngest is more academic than the others, they know she can read at an earlier age etc. I explain that they are much, much more suited to outdoor skills. They can climb, surf, walk miles and miles and have from a young age, but the youngest is not built for that. I tell them all, “every person has a part to contribute to society and all of us have our strengths and weaknesses. We should cherish each of our own abilities, and be proud of each other when they achieve something they worked hard for, even if we found it easy.”

There is too much gaslighting or avoiding talking about a differences for fear of seeming sexist or old-fashioned. We don’t explain our biological differences and champion them to our children, no wonder too many young people grow up confused as hell.

WarriorN Thu 22-Jul-21 07:58:17

This is a really great observation. The idea that physical strength equals social worth is so misogynist, but it's an idea so many of us [internalise] from childhood. And something deeply rooted like that is often very hard to even see in yourself, let alone to challenge and change.

Gosh that really reminds me of when the kids in "no more boys or girls" lined themselves up in order of who was the strongest; all the girls ended up one end and the boys fought for the top spot.

Then one boy had an absolute meltdown when he couldn't hit the bell (fair ground bell hitting strength game) and a number of girls were amazed they could.

If they're already equating strength with worth, it makes you think.

NonnyMouse1337 Thu 22-Jul-21 08:04:56

Men have evolved to have the muscle mass needed for explosive energy. It's useful in lifting and pushing heavy things, fighting other humans and animals etc.

Women have evolved for childbirth and this translates into endurance and longevity. Pregnancy and childbirth are such dangerous events that countless women have died, and yet the human race has thrived for millennia because so many women (even without being Olympic athletes) have managed to endure the physical challenges and exertions involved in giving birth and raising young children.

Both sexes have their strengths and weaknesses. From an evolutionary point of view, women are the more valuable resource. Testosterone gives men the physical strength to help and protect the family / tribe from danger, but leads to a weaker immune system and shorter lifespan. Women's bodies can endure the pain and physical challenges of multiple pregnancies and births, they have stronger immune systems and longer lifespans.

It is only patriarchal influences that have framed the differences between the sexes as women being 'inferior' to men by focusing only on the things men are good at, while ignoring the things women are good at.
The unfortunate side effect is when you talk about the differences between the sexes, some people confuse that with the patriarchal framework of placing some sort of superior/inferior value on the traits, instead of realising they are the ones looking at it through that lens.
I think popular media can do a better job of tackling this, not by pretending the difference between the sexes don't exist, but by highlighting the things women are good at alongside the things men are good at.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 22-Jul-21 08:08:52

What Fucket says re her kids is of course one of the reasons women's sport must be kept for women

Hopefully the value placed on physical strength will diminish as we develop more and more mechanical and robotic assistance. It's already much less relevant than it used to be.

I remember a nice moment from before DD stated her engineering degree. We belonged to a sailing club which had quite a lot of engineers in its membership who would ask about her plans with genuine interest. They didn't seem phased by her being a 5'1" girl who when wet and tousled looked about 12 - they would talk about hard maths. They knew what was important and what wasn't. One - a big strong guy with hands like hams - ruefully told her he'd got qualifications in just about every branch of engineering except her preferred specialism - electronics - and looked with some envy at her small paws. And indeed, when she got to uni she was somewhat surprised to find when she did a group project that she was the only competent solderer.

WarriorN Thu 22-Jul-21 08:11:24

Generally though at primary school children between the sexes have roughly equal strength. It's when puberty hits that the differences start, so late primary for some, early secondary.

Floisme Thu 22-Jul-21 08:34:31

I hadn't come across Nehanda before so thank you.

I once had a big argument with some young women colleagues because I said men are stronger and faster than women. They called me sexist and I told them they'd been watching too many superhero moves. But really it's not funny, because it's partly why they refuse to acknowledge there's any problem with men using women's spaces or competing in women'' sports.

ScreamingMeMe Thu 22-Jul-21 08:42:49

Yes Flo I've been told numerous times by younger women online that I'm sexist and even that I'm making women into victims. And some women are stronger than men and so on. It's...quite something.

NonnyMouse1337 Thu 22-Jul-21 08:52:16

Isn't it sort of obvious when having sex with men that they are much bigger and stronger than women? blush
I would have thought heterosexual women would understand it, but seems like younger women don't grasp this ... I can understand thinking the differences in physical strength between the sexes isn't relevant and I too thought it didn't really matter when I was young, but to completely deny it is absurd.

Floisme Thu 22-Jul-21 08:57:02

Yeah I used to think I was as strong as any boy..... until I was 12. I just don't understand how you can come out of puberty and not notice.

EmbarrassingAdmissions Thu 22-Jul-21 08:58:57

it's partly why they refuse to acknowledge there's any problem with men using women's spaces or competing in women'' sports.

That's such a good point. Given the number of women who don't want to do strength training because they're worried about looking like Schwarzenegger this may well be part of that misunderstanding. Because of our relative lack of testosterone, it's pretty hard for us to gain muscle, no matter how hard we train.

Maybe there are large numbers of women who suspect that the only reason for a performance difference is a lack of training volume and intensity?

Given some of the revelations about the misunderstanding of women's anatomy that sometimes come up on MN - maybe a lot of people don't understand about differences in body composition, the type of fibres that make up the muscles, the different bone density, and the difference that testosterone makes to building muscle with training (and rest).

OP’s posts: |
Beowulfa Thu 22-Jul-21 08:59:17

I read a lot of science fiction in my teens. I remember one Arthur C Clarke novel in which he predicted space ships would end up being crewed by women, as muscle strength has no advantage in zero gravity, and being smaller meant less oxygen consumption. He also arguably predicted GPS and the internet....

Floisme Thu 22-Jul-21 09:04:28

Maybe there are large numbers of women who suspect that the only reason for a performance difference is a lack of training volume and intensity?
This is why I'm not as optimistic as some that Laurel Hubbard in the Olympics will change many minds. There seem to be so many young women who are just determined not to see it.

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