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Biology is the key to inequality

April 12, 2011

One reason mens sports are more viewed on television may very well be due to a man’s strength, appearance, and the hyper that has surrounded men’s sports for decades. Yet, another reason that media portrays this inequality is due to our DNA. For biological reasons, the best women can never run as fast as the best men. In any sport, running, swimming, cycling, women are slower than men, at the olympic level. It does not matter if it is a 30 meter dash or a 10 mile marathon.

Doctors say this is due to the presence of testosterone in men. You can see this “gender gap” close when women professional body builders take steroids that add testosterone to their system.The hormone affects everything in your body: from muscle size and strength, the size of your heart, how able you are to hold oxygen, and how much fat you have on your body. All of these give men the biological advantage over women. To even further this point, a study took place that showed even when men and women gained the same amount of mass by taking steroids, men’s hearts grew larger and stronger, and women’s hearts did not keep up. Stronger hearts allow for more physical activity. Also, unless a woman is taking steroids to change their biological presence, women typically have body fat percentages that are twice as much as a mans. Women have to carry extra weight.

Thus, this inequality that is represented around the world in sports is due to biology. People enjoy watching a sport that is more exciting, and it will always stay this way. Women cannot do anything to change this. That is why mens sports are more profitable than women’s, hence greater viewership.

Here is a link to ESPN’s Top 50 Athletes of All Time. 4 of the 50 are women.

3 Comments
  1. Pierre Gerondeau permalink
    April 12, 2011 3:54 PM

    This was a good post, and it was interesting to see scientific reasoning behind gender inequality in sports. Yet while women might not be as fast or strong as men, just to play devil’s advocate that doesn’t mean that their sports are not exciting. People have been trained to believe that men’s sports are superior to women’s sports, with better athletes who can perform physical feats impossible for the general population. Younger male athletes realize that they can’t do what the top men athletes are doing, but sometimes they think they are better than the top female athletes just because they are women. I think that it will be hard to make women’s sports as popular as men’s sports, because of how much men’s sports are advertised and the athletes are showcased to a variety of markets, but I think with more media coverage and different mindset in judging women’s sports, they can become more popular. Some people might say that this “lessening” of judgment means that women’s sports are inferior to men’s sports, but that is not necessarily the case. We look to top athletes as role models, and while we might not be able to take away the same skills from men’s and women’s sports, we can still learn techniques that make us better amateur athletes.

  2. chelseahoedl permalink
    April 12, 2011 5:05 PM

    Another thing to take in to consideration is high school/college sports versus professional sports. It seems that you attribute the popularity of men’s sporting events over women’s to ability level. If this is the case how would one explain the popularity of college sports compared to professional sports? While professional sports may attract more viewers, college sports (especially as far as football and basketball is concerned) attract a large amount as well.
    As far as physical ability and talent are concerned, college athletes are not as toned and skilled as their professional counterparts. Why is it then that they still attract a large amount of viewers?

  3. Anna Gwiazdowski permalink
    April 12, 2011 9:05 PM

    I don’t necessarily agree with your argument that our DNA is the reason men’s sports are watched over women’s, and I also don’t think DNA has anything to do with how exciting a game is. If you can find more support, then maybe I’ll reconsider.

    However, I do agree that DNA reflects the inequalities in men’s and women’s sports. Just as you said, if you look at the highest point of honor in sports, the Olympics, you can see that qualifying times for men are faster than they are for women. The following is an example of Men’s and Women’s qualifying times for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the United States (http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/47f659f4-8b91-4375-906e-393321a5d99d/2012%20Olympic%20Trial%20Cuts.pdf). As you can see men’s times are much faster than women’s. Physical build has a great part in this, and thus makes your DNA argument quite valid.

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