In today’s world, biology has become a topic of political debate. People use science and research to support their own opinions and gain political advantage. However, we can’t deny that gender is a unique and narrow division in our society.
Instead of getting caught up in these divisive arguments, let’s have an open and honest conversation about the biological differences between men and women. It’s important to understand that these differences go far beyond just our reproductive organs, even though most of us aren’t aware of the extent of it due to the way the topic is discussed.
The truth is, the biological dissimilarities between women and men are not limited to their reproductive systems. Our body differ in many other ways, from our backs to our hair to our stomachs. Exploring these physiological variations can give us fascinating insights into what makes each one of us unique.
The skin Difference
You know how you have a whole army of skincare products lined up on your bathroom counter, while your boyfriend is still using that ancient bar of soap? (Ouch!). Well, that’s part of the significant difference between men and women, and there’s a reason for that.
A man’s skin is 20% thicker than a woman’s. That might explain why they sometimes seem to have skin as tough as a rhino.
Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch.
But don’t be fooled, their skin can also be more sensitive and prone to irritation. Shaving can be a real pain for men. It can scrape away the outer layer of skin cells and expose the delicate layer underneath to more dirt and bacteria.
Also, Men have more oil-producing glands on their faces, or sebum. They crank out twice as much of it compared to women. That’s why you might see your man shining like a disco ball by midday. And unfortunately, all that extra oil can lead to more acne and clogged pores.
But hold on, ladies, we’re not off the hook just yet. When it comes to collagen, men have a leg up on us. Their collagen, which is the stuff that keeps our skin firm and smooth, is about 65% stronger than ours. (Lucky them, right?).
This is one reason why men don’t have to worry about cellulite like we do. However, both men and women experience a decline in collagen as they age. For women, though, it’s like a high-speed once hit by a thing called menopause.
But ladies, that shouldn’t stop us from embracing our skincare routine, even if your man thinks you’re running a mini beauty salon. After all, taking care of our skin is an adventure we’re all in together.
The Presence of Hair
The body and facial hair have always been seen as signs of maturity and high testosterone in men.
The presence or absence of hair on our bodies is influenced by something called androgens. These are natural hormones at work during puberty, helping us develop physical characteristics and producing sex hormones. Men have more androgens and testosterone than women, which is why they tend to have more body and facial hair.
As for women, we naturally have less androgens and testosterone, which means having less body and facial hair compared to men. But sometimes, women may experience more hair growth in specific areas, like the face, which is known as hirsutism. It’s a sign of hormonal imbalances, like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a condition that affects hormones and can cause increased acne, cysts on the ovaries, irregular periods, and other complications.
Let’s go back in time to the prehistoric times and the early days of civilization. Back then, women had a special way of evaluating potential mates. They looked at the presence of facial hair as a sign of strength and masculinity. They look for these signs in men to tell if “a man can protect and provide.”
Back to present day, things have changed a bit in modern times, some women preferences have taken a little detour. We now have hormonal birth control that influences women’s hormone levels, specifically by introducing artificial estrogen into their bodies. And it turns out that women on hormonal birth control may be more attracted to men with less traditional testosterone markers, who are often seen as more “effeminate.”
How We Store Fat
It always a dirty game when it comes to losing those extra pounds. It seems like men have an easier time dropping weight and keeping it off compared to women. But why is that?
Ladies, it turns out there’s a biological reason behind this.
On average, women tend to have 6-11% more body fat than men. Additionally, men have more muscle than women because they have higher levels of testosterone, a hormone that helps build muscle.
This difference in muscle mass and body fat can be traced back to primeval times. In those times, men needed to be lean and muscular for strength to hunt for food, work, and provide for their families. On the other hand, women needed more body fat for pregnancy. Extra body fat was essential for nourishing both themselves and their growing babies.
This biological conditioning is deeply rooted in our history. The male metabolism works faster than the female metabolism, allowing men to shed weight more quickly and stay agile and lean for hunting and survival. Meanwhile, women are biologically wired to store more fat as a natural mechanism to support our health and the needs of our precious babies.
The Curve of the Spine
We’re all too familiar with that part of our back that gives it that nice curve. That’s otherwise known as the lumber spine or lordotic curve.
Women have an extra vertebra in that area compared to men. Three wedged-shaped vertebrae in our lumbar region, while men have two.
Why do women have this extra vertebra, you ask? It’s mostly linked to a successful pregnancy. When a woman is growing a tiny human inside her, her center of gravity shifts.
This extra vertebra helps accommodate the weight of the baby bump and keeps her back muscles from going on strike, and instead, adapt to that change. Consider it as a built-in support system for all the wobbling and wiggling that comes with pregnancy.
Fun fact: men find this curvier lumbar curve very attractive. And like to see it on their women more than they admit.
Talking about the digestive system, specifically the colon, which plays a vital role in how our bodies process food. You might assume that the colon is the same for both men and women since we all need it to digest our food. However, there is an important difference to note.
In women, the colon is about 10 centimeters longer than in men. This means that part of a woman’s colon has to fit in her pelvis, alongside her bladder and reproductive organs. The reason for this difference is fascinating. A longer colon in women helps them retain fluid during pregnancy to nourish the amniotic sac, which is where the baby grows. With a growing baby inside, a woman needs more fluid to stay hydrated and keep the sac filled. Hence, a longer colon is necessary to accommodate this need.
Because of this longer colon, the digestive process in women tends to be slower. There is more space for the food to move through, which can take an additional 14 hours compared to men. This slower process can make women more prone to digestive discomforts like bloating and constipation.
If you’ve ever wondered why you might experience more stomach aches than your husband, it’s because your colon takes longer to process the food you eat.
Understanding these differences can help us better appreciate the unique workings of our bodies. It’s important to take care of our digestive health by eating well, staying hydrated, and being mindful of any discomfort.
You might think that these variations are relics from a bygone era, the biological differences might have you think, “Do they even matter anymore?” Well, they may not serve the same purposes as they did in the past, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless.
Biology has been fine-tuned over thousands of years to help us survive and keep the human race going. Back in the day, these differences were important. But now, in a world that’s rapidly changing, we sometimes see them as drawbacks or just ignore them completely.
We don’t have to be so gloomy about it, do we?
All along, this has been an advantage. Men and women have always had their natural instincts kicking in— one mostly provides and the other creates. With each role bringing their own unique strengths to the table.
These instincts might seem primitive or outdated in our postmodern, egalitarian age. But deep down, we still carry those natural instincts that have guided us since the beginning. Our body are designed to support our survival and procreation, even if we don’t always notice it.