html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Who do I write to?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Who do I write to?

Back when I was wondering whether I am strong, Noel linked to this set of Weightlifting Performance Standards. I look at them a lot now, trying to place myself. I figure the line for 181 pounds is closest. I swore when I quit tkd that I would never weigh myself again, but my offseason weight was 167 (inseason, I starved to get down to 154). I have to figure I'm higher than my offseason college weight.

As always, I studied the women's standards pretty hard. Especially deadlift. I seem to be a promising deadlifter, which I will brag about next week after we know how much I can lift. So I'm looking at the women's standards and trying to figure out where I fit and what they mean. It probably took me a week or so to look up at the men's standards, but when I did I got PISSED.

Are you fucking kidding me? With relatively little training, men in my weight class can lift ONE HUNDRED POUNDS MORE THAN ME? Just a few months in, y'all can lift 274 lbs to a woman's 174? 57% more? A HUNDRED POUNDS? Are you fucking kidding? That much more? I had no idea. You guys are that much stronger? Serious? I got genuinely angry. I still am. I didn't know, and it is so UNFAIR.

I tried to think for a while why I didn't know men were half again as strong as women. I just never knew the gap was that big. I decided it was because I've never done a sport where that kind of difference showed up. In tkd we did a speed drill where you try to do as many kicks per minute. I was slowest on the team, at 104 kicks per minute, but the fastest person was only at 111. That isn't half again as fast. It is just a little faster. Sure, men do push-ups easier, but then you're doing your own push-ups and you can't tell how different the push-ups feel to the doer. When I was working out with the men's baseball team, they could throw the medicine balls further, but they weren't throwing them half again as far. They were only throwing them fifteen percent further. And I was doing as many crunches with forty pound plates as they were. In Ultimate, men are faster, but they aren't fifty-seven percent faster. If we raced the speedsters, the guy would lead, but not by fifty yards.

I had no idea men were that much stronger. I am so pissed. I thought they were a little stronger. Twenty percent stronger. Not sixty percent stronger. That is so jacked. No wonder y'all can't design equipment to be picked up and used with a reasonable amount of strength. You can't calibrate. That means you don't realize that things are heavy, two full grocery bags, a box of paper. They take work to move, and you don't even know that. It is hard to turn that stuck wrench. You are so spoiled. So much stuff must be easier, all the time.

This applies less to me, 'cause I am strong. But I'm coming up hard against an unfairness I had always underestimated. It fucking sucks. I didn't sign up for that much sexual dimorphism. I only grudgingly accepted a little bit of it. I can close the gap between me and you untrained sloths. And I can still kick your asses. But ONE HUNDRED POUNDS MORE? After barely any work? Motherfuckers. I'm glaring at you, pissed.

NEW FRIENDS! Welcome. My comment policy is a little unusual. I ask that your comments be AFFIRMATIVELY KIND to me and everyone in the comment section here. That means nicer than neutral. I can see how this would surprise you, contrasted with such a righteous post, but please either find a friendly tone or leave unfriendly comments in the blog you came from. Once you do that, though, we're delighted you are here and anxious to learn your thoughts. Thanks lots. (If you stick around, you'll get used to it.)

AFFIRMATIVELY KIND. That means not cleverness and not pleased-at-my-expense. You are not obligated to comment if you do not want to be KIND.

Regular commenters, what an exciting opportunity for you to practice socializing your peers! In, literally, the nicest possible way.

UPDATE 2: I'm deleting unkind comments, or this policy doesn't mean anything. I won't host that much hostility. I am sorry to erase your other content, and I hope that you will post it again, without snark behind it.


Blogger Megan said...

My trainer tells me that she went through this phase as well. She says it fades into acceptance.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have about 25% more upper arm muscle than my husband and do approximately an infinite amount more strength training than he does (since he does zero and I do some). But he can still kick my ass arm wrestling or pull-upping or push-upping or most anything else involving upper arm strength. (Something about the individual fibers in male muscle being stronger than my female muscle, regardless of the number of fibers.) It is patently unfair.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I figured the pull-ups were about some sort of strength to weight ratio. I didn't realize it was that much more absolute strength, too.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me be sure I'm clear. Longer life, multiple orgasms, able to have babies & half the upper body strength and you're pissed? Strong arms are useful, ya!

(I'm sure there are other imbalances that would be much more anoying if you weren't already accustomed to them - even leaving out cultural baggage)


11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha!! Yea, my ex- was pissed as hell when she found out how much stronger I was than her, and she was a serious college athlete whereas I am only a 170 pound runner who does very little upper-body training. Anyway, we were wrestling one day, and she couldn't hold me no matter what she did even though she was a fit 155, and she finally told me to just hold her to see if she could break away. So I put my arms around her arms and upper body and with very little effort I was able to keep her in place. I was maybe using half of my strength. Easy. It scared the shit out of her too because, like you, she never realized how strong guys can be, even ones like me who are decidedly mediocre in the strength and power department.

11:46 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Now you know why the Patriarchy is able to stay in place. You're glaring at us, but we're not too worried. We can just pick up all the stuff and leave, if it comes down to it.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so sweet when you get all girly-girl like this.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't until I got into serious weight training a few years ago that I realized just how big the gender gap really is. Only once in all these years of gym-going have I seen a woman bench press 135 pounds (two 45-pound plates plus the 45-pound bar), while most any man can handle that amount with just a little practice. The gender gap doesn't seem quite as pronounced with respect to lower body-dominant exercises such as squats and deadlifts, but is still pretty large.

The real question, however, is who cares? Being able to outlift another person means just about nothing unless you are competing against one another in certain sports. Brute strength is a meaningful factor in only a very small and rapidly diminishing number of jobs.

A prior commentor quite ably pointed out that women have certain advantages over men notwithstanding poorer weightlifting ability, chief of which is the fact that they live several years longer. I'll also point out that especially after age 35 or 40, women by and large seem more physically fit than men.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you care if you're as strong as men? What difference will it make? Strength plays no part in anything you do, right? I mean, ultimate is hardly a sport where power is required, it's not even contact.

And, lifting grocery bags, or a box of paper is hardly a good example. A box of paper weighs 20lbs, not 100s.

Besides, if you keep your arms straight, you're not lifting with your arms anyway, you'd be lifting with your legs, same goes with groceries. I'll carry 8 or so bags in 1 hand to save me from making multiple trips to the car. It's mostly on my legs, and they can carry far more weight than that.

Oh, and pull-ups are all about strength to weight ratio.


1:02 PM  
Blogger Jens Fiederer said...

Richard, now if it turns out that Megan, like the majority of women, does NOT have multiple orgasms, she is going to be DOUBLY pissed.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Absolutely, Richard. I'll get in line for the trade as well. The ability to lift heavy things more often than not translates into being obligated to living heavy things.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I noticed this in college. My girlfriend at the time was a serious athlete (crew) and was _far_ more fit than I when we started dating. However, when we started going to the gym together (me for the first time in my life), I quickly outstripped her in weights. Even more upsetting to her was that I was able to keep up on the erg (rowing machine) after a few weeks of training. I'm sure that my technique sucked, but on the machine, it's more about strength and cardio than in the boat where technique is _really_ important.

However, I also must join up with Richard on this and say that I'd rather have 5+ more years of life and the statistically significant chance at multiple orgasms.

Oh well, each gender has their specific advantages or else one of them would have evolved away and we'd be switch hitters like many fish species.


2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well that depends, M. You can turn a guys head, but doncha want him to sweep you OFF OF your feet? Watch him carry both kids and the groceries up the stairs? Snuggle up because all that muscle makes
him warmer?

in the heat of competition, you forget that you are strong enough to do most anything... and if you need help, all you have to do is ask. Most guys don't EVEN need you to smile.

Why should I be bothered that a horse can easily do more work than me? I am not a horse.

as for the multi-O whiners... you can reload every coupla' hours gentlemen, you should be happy that it's fun. Also, you don't need to pass any bowling balls through any parts to have kids, don't have to bleed out monthly for half your life, or shave all sortsa places... heh, the tradeoffs seem to favor us, slightly.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

There are two commenters named d, right? I'm sure I can tell a difference in tone...

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's also the ruling the world thing, but that's overrated.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Could be worse. Think about how much stronger chimps are than even the manliest man. The difference between women and men is nothing compared to the difference between us and the rest of the apes.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are two commenters named d, right? I'm sure I can tell a difference in tone..." M.

mmm, could be... but I figured there were so many Davids anyway... how 'bout SwissArmyD because that would be my other nik among friends. ;)

3:07 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

I'm not even a serious athlete and this one makes me cross. I'm pretty much over it, mostly, but I do know exactly how you feel.

God knows how Freud came up with penis envy, of all things. They can keep the external genitalia for all of me, but that men get to be on steroids is a complete piss-off.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

LB - it took me so long to realize!

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


They need to find another partner!

(Apologies to Whoopie Goldberg)


3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is proportions. As areas are proportional to the square of linear measures, volumes to the cube (so weight should be roughly proportional to the cube of height).
Force should be proportional to at least the fourth power. Of course there is more than this, but a lot of the difference should disappear if you account for difference in height.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but that men get to be on steroids is a complete piss-off

Women can use steroids too. In fact, because women have much lower natural levels of testosterone than men, their strength gains from "juicing" are proportionately a lot higher.

Now, the downside is that some women suffer a particularly distasteful side effect from 'roids, one too grotesque to be mentioned here. Let's just say that these women get to share in the normally male-only external-genitalia experience. What's more, this side effect is irreversible.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I was pissed off at the same numbers.

See I looked at the women's tables first, and I was thinking "fantastic, I count as expert or near expert in most lifts!"

Then when I changed to the guy's numbers: not so happy. It seems I'm just ordinary again.

One thing is that I cannot bring my wife to believe how strong I am. She'll go to all sort of elaborate lengths so that I don't have to lift a 10 kg bag or something because I'll hurt myself. And then if I lift one 20 kg bag in each hand she'll get angry because I'm doing something... well something wrong anyway.

And as for all the "multiple" stuff? All the girls I 'know' have no trouble. And it IS possible for men too.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those numbers seem low. Maybe age makes a huge difference, but that doesn’t seem right; surely people get stronger as they get past their teenage years.

I took weightlifting in high school. I was easily the weakest guy in my class (I was a stereotypical geek, with all the physical activity that entails); we tested 1RM after a few weeks, and my bench was between novice and intermediate, my deadlift and clean were between intermediate and my squat just barely passed the advanced level.

The minimum standards the teacher expected for guys were bench 1x body weight, and squat and deadlift 2.5x bodyweight. There was only one other guy who didn’t meet those standards at the beginning of the year. Maybe there was selection bias, but I’d expect the bias to run the other way; I took weightlifting because I’d never played any sport, had no coordination was slow, etc., and I had to take something for gym.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for all the "multiple" stuff? All the girls I 'know' have no trouble. And it IS possible for men too.

I could be wrong, but I think it takes A LOT of work for men. -K.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One issue with those weightlifting standards is the big gap between "Intermediate" and "Advanced." In fact, the site's description of the categories is curious:

Intermediate: A person who has engaged in regular training for up to two years. The intermediate level indicates some degree of specialization in the exercises and a high level of performance at the recreational level.

Advanced: An individual with multi-year training experience with definite goals in the higher levels of competitive athletics.

What about all the people - like, for example, me - who have been weight training for more than two years, but solely on a recreational level with no competitive athletic goals? There really should be something between intermediate and advanced.

By the way, my maximums for bench, squat and deadlift indeed are between the intermediate and advanced levels, closer to advanced for bench and squat, closer to intermediate for deadlift. I've actually dropped two bodyweight categories in the past six months and hope to drop a third soon.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The minimum standards the teacher expected for guys were bench 1x body weight, and squat and deadlift 2.5x bodyweight. There was only one other guy who didn’t meet those standards at the beginning of the year.

Say what???
I can understand the 1x bodyweight bench. But 2.5x bodyweight squats and deadlifts are another matter entirely. According to the chart Megan posted, that would push one almost to elite category for squats and well past advanced for deadlifts. Most people have to struggle for quite some time, several years even, just to get to 2x in those exercises.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter - I actually have the book that those numbers come from. The context isgenerally high-school aged kids who are lifting weights as a supplement for other sports (i.e. they aren't lifting weights to be a powerlifter, they are lifting weights to be a better football or volleyball player).

The terms "beginner", "intermediate" and "elite" are related to the three main styles of programming for strength training introduced in the book. Beginners can have training mesocycles that are only a few days long whereas elites need mesocycles structured more around a multi-month or year-long cycle.

The chart is mostly given as a guide so that people can't say, "I'm an elite lifter because I've been doing this for six months and I need some crazy Westwide Conjugate training!"

Rippetoe is a big believer in simplistic programming and doesn't think that many people will ever advance beyond intermediate, even if they train with (amateur-level) dedication for years.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That makes me think it must be age related. I’m sure there was selection bias in the upper end in my class. The teacher was also the football coach, so we had a bunch of football players in the class; we were always competitive for state, so those guys must have been pretty athletic/strong. But at the low end there was me, and I’m sure I’m not strong in absolute or relative terms.

Oh! Looking at the charts, it seems like it’s easier to lift some ratio of your bodyweight if you’re light, and I was only about 130 lbs. I did bike everywhere, so maybe that’s why my squat was relatively good, compared to my bench/deadlift? But I don’t think that makes sense either: biking should improve endurance, not strength. Shrug. Maybe I’m just misremembering.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And they carry more cash on them! Bastards!

(Suprised this hasn't been the topic of a post yet, so I thought I'd prime the pump while you're talking about how men are different.)


10:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dude, I was totally going to post on that. My sister said that I couldn't generalize about it, but she can't stop me. I want to combine that with something about how fun it was to be a bartender. But maybe I should stay with this "men are so different" theme.

10:23 PM  
Blogger billoo said...

Agree with Richard and the others..what about inner strength? Anyway, I thought it was "thank you body"?

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for all the "multiple" stuff? All the girls I 'know' have no trouble. And it IS possible for men too.

I could be wrong, but I think it takes A LOT of work for men. -K.

What would you rather have to work hard practicing on: strength, or that?

Seeing as I'm naturally strong, maybe I can spare some time for working on the other thing.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

<puts on theme song from "Rocky">

11:45 PM  
Blogger I don't pay said...

Not only don't know how much stronger we often are—I do know, actually, having often helped move—but don't know how strong the desire, the presumption for equality, substantial equality anyway, women have. That it could be offended by this, that it can undermine working beliefs I never realized you had.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Pogue said...

I have personally seen a woman come to the understanding that you just did. I was quite surprised. It was an old girlfriend, she worked strength at Fitness World while I spent most of my time drinking and smoking. She was 6 feet(my height), but provided absolutely no opposition in a friendly wrestling match. I laughed until I realized she was actually sincerly disappointed. It negatively affected the relationship. How do you people grow up so clueless?

4:21 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


How would we know whether you are a little stronger or a lot stronger? Honest. If you beat us arm wrestling, how would we know whether you are ten percent stronger or fifty percent stronger? We can't tell how it feels to you.

That was what the surprise was. I hadn't seen it before, and there wasn't really a way for me to gauge whether lifting couches is easy or hard for men.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This big surprise is why women should be much more in favor of gun ownership. How the heck is a 130 lb women ever going to even the tables with an abusive spouse, rapist or home invader. A 9mm, weighing a pound and a half, will do the trick very neatly.

Sincerely, I am not kidding about this. Women need to start thinking seriously about getting licensed.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you cannot appeal to some government regulatory board to enforce change on this one. Being a man has it's pleasures some time. :)

But hey, you guys get to have kids and have those wonderful things known as breasts. And you have multiple orgasms. That's not a bad trade-off :)

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At age forty-nine weight 135
Bench 200 deadlift 270 squat 330
At home by myself. No steroids. BTW I work at one of those menial labour jobs. Forty-hours a week gives me sixty-five a year. IQ133 I plan on outliving my wife. She's ten years my junior. Whoever said life's fair?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

women of 'roids?

just google 'joanie laurer' aka wwe's 'chyna'. or whatever she goes by these days.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, you just bumped your head on the same thing that makes firemen giggle when women want to join the fire department.

Maybe three to five normally fit guys out of ten can pass the entrance physical. Maybe one woman out of a hundred can pass the same test.

It isn't chauvinism, its "Can you pick up this ladder?"

The Phantom

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that you are aware of what science has know for centuries. That there is a definite difference between the physical strength of men and women. Can we please stop asking for the dumbing down of physical requirements for jobs like police and firefighters. Where these traits serve a definite purpose and in many ways are essential to the job.

If this post bothers you and doesn't meet your nicnest policy just remember. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Jens Fiederer said...

On arm wrestling:

I don't think I could give a %-tage estimate and think it is meaningful, but even when you win, it is OBVIOUS whether is is a struggle to bring the other arm down or whether it is a struggle to determine whether the other arm has actually STARTED yet.

We had a tie once at pub trivia, and they decided to settle it with an arm wrestling contest, and I seriously could not tell that there was any resistance at all. But, hell, was he good at geography!

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA. With all the misogynist and misandrist statements on here, with all the profanity and other assorted cursing, you choose the word 'liberal' to cease on and delete my comments - devoid of cursing and bigotry?

Sucks when those who are supposed to support free speech and oppose censorship don't.

Hilarious. But hey, it's your site. Enjoy blogging to your two friends and parents.


12:42 AM  
Blogger Beamers Creek Coffee Roasters said...

Unfair? That is an interesting term to use. Why should you expect life to be "fair". I think a lot of politically correct thinking over the past few decades has obscured the fact that men and women are in fact quite different in terms of their innate abilities. Men are stronger. Women tend to have quicker reaction time. I have read that while a man makes the best infantry soldier, women are physically far better suited to be fighter pilots for instance. There are difference in cognitive abilities as well. Strong spatial intelligence and mathematical ability tend to be more prevalent among men, while strong pattern recognition and language/verbal abilities tend to be more prevalent among women. There are evolutionary reasons for these differences which I don't have the space to go into here. Is this fair? Well, no. Is there anything we can do about it? Also, no. Does it make sense to pretend these differences do not exist, and raise generations of children to believe that men and women are equal in every way? I would argue, no. Each gender has its particular strengths, and it does no good to live in denial, IMO. Good luck in your future training. BTW I don't appreciate those other commenters who have posted rude responses. That's uncalled for and boorish.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean Larry Summers can have his job back now?

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Physical standards for firefighters are commonly adjusted to allow women with lower upper body strength to "pass" their qualifications, denying the opportunities to better-qualified stronger men.

One assumes you are also p*ssed at that, too, because it's unfair.

Or maybe not. However, you might be, one day, when your house is burning and one of these flyweight female firefighters taps at your upper bedroom window, and then discovers she doesn't have the strength to rescue you.

at gmail d0t calm

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as for all the "multiple" stuff? All the girls I 'know' have no trouble. And it IS possible for men too.

Women also can fake it, which of course men can't.

On the other hand, maybe faking it isn't totally impossible for a man, given a little planning:

There once was a harlot of Munich,
Who was had in the park by a eunuch.
At the moment of passion
He shot her a ration
From a squirt-gun concealed 'neath his tunic

No, I didn't come up with that myself.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arm wrestling: not a very good test of strength. Technique is almost as important as brute strength. Maybe even more important.

Firefighters' physical standards: I live in an area with all volunteer departments. Almost all of the volunteers are men. Suffice to say that a non-insignificant percentage of them would have a very, very hard time passing anything but the most undemanding fitness and strength test.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While this revelation is still fresh in your psyche, I hope you would do something, please.

Write a letter to the editor about what you've experienced, less the profanity of course. Highlight a couple of things. First, the fact that almost all males are stronger than almost all females and could easily overpower them to submit to rape, robbery, or whatever. And yet there are only a tiny percentage of men who do this - what does that say about men in general?

Second, as someone else alluded to, that gun control works in favour of the strongest of the unarmed population. Men don't need guns, women do.

Third, don't be pissed at this as being unfair. We're just built differently for different purposes. It's not right or wrong or unfair, it just is. Which is why men should do the things involving physical strength. You don't leave the ox in the barn in order to give equal plowing time to the cat. The ox can't catch mice. The cat can't plow. Why force a social construct onto a physical reality?

Good luck with the training, it's been an interesting read.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the top levels, the strength gap is over 100% (i.e., men are more than twice as strong, not just 50% stronger).

The women's world bench press record is 418 pounds. Granted, that's pretty damn strong, and the vast majority of men couldn't bench that much. But the strongest man can bench a little over 1000 pounds.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for deleting the unkind comments. They are not funny or interesting to read, just plain annoying. I'm okay with "unkind" if they say something new I've never thought of before, sometimes a harsh tone puts things in perspectives, but these were just lame. Good call.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

You should take Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It's a worthless art for self-defense.

Anyhow, on average, men are stronger than women. But there are many women power lifters who can out lift average - even above average - men. Just pick up an issue of Powerlifting USA, or look at these standards):

The abbreviations mean: bend press, squat, and dead lift. TOT is the total for all three lifts done in competition.

Don't define yourself based on averages.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I've given some thought to going back and relearning some holds and knifework. It has been a while. But that isn't where my interests are these days. Maybe.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something to brighten your day;)
regards G.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Brad in Waterloo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, when I suggested BJJ a year ago, I got laughed at by Anand. And I didn't even say FTW! This is SO unfair. -K.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


I don't think I'd specifically do BJJ. I'd probably stick with my Korean heritage and go with HKD. I was sort of more vaguely thinking about holds and leads and not really intending to go back to martial arts at all.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

-K, and of course, I apologize for the terrible injustice of it all.

Brad in Waterloo offered the comment that my comment policy is too unrealistic and sets me up for disappointment. The rest was meant to sting, and deleted for violating the comment policy. A re-write in keeping with the affirmative kindness comment policy is always welcome.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called nature. No sense getting pissed off about something that has been with us since our ancestors swung down out of the trees.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Megan. I know you feel my pain. -K.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

When I first read this post I assumed that your demeanor was in truth amiable, but you had chosen to parody the unproductive anger demonstrated by the least persuasive member of the political feminist movement with humorous intent. It didn't occur to me that you could possibly actually be mad.

Between some comments, and your latest post, It seems you actually were angry. I don't understand. This is nature. Other commentors have made excellent analogies, and I won't bother making new ones, but how does a generally rational and intelligent person get so angry at this one example of nature's diversity.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


My demeanor is generally amiable, and some of that shows up in that same post.

How did I get mad... thinking... (not sarcastically)...

Well, I didn't get mad in the sense of being mad at any one person. I didn't get mad in the sense of finding fault. There's no fault involved.

I can get a little mad at men who have all this potential, but then don't develop and use their strength, 'cause that is just a waste of something I would love to have and can't get. But that wasn't most of it.

Mostly I was mad because I am going to have to work SO HARD to accomplish something that half the people in the world get handed to them, that they probably don't even appreciate.

Even after I bust my ass, I'm STILL not going to get even close? If I bust my ass as a sprinter or a swimmer, I can get within a couple tens of percents. I was really very close as a martial artist, the difference was within a few percent. But to find out that all the work in the world would only bring me up to half? Half of what men get without a huge effort? That's just jacked.

(I'm trying to think of whether men who were in my beginner tkd classes got mad when the splits didn't come to them as quickly as they did to women. I think there was joking around along the lines of that's-so-not-fair, 'cause it would be so hard for me to touch my toes and you just can. I don't remember anger over it.)

So it made me mad. Not at anyone. Just at the set-up. It isn't like I want to do anything about that, except lift really heavy things and get stronger. But I wrote it up, 'cause this is where I write up the things that are on my mind.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oh, by and large? I don't parody feminists. I am one, and while I think that there are more and less effective ways of communicating with people, I'm usually protective enough that I don't joke around about them. I usually share enough of their message that even if I don't like the tactic, I'll keep a polite silence about it. We get attacked enough from the outside.

(I parody hippies, also from an in-group standpoint, and get protective of them if I am not sure that someone else making fun of them is doing it lovingly.)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

I am going to have to work SO HARD to accomplish something that half the people in the world get handed to them,

Think of how frustrated all the guys who want to grow breasts are.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


4:48 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Thanks for answering, that helps.

I don't mean to give any offense to any feminists who, like me, I believe you, and most people you meet now-a-days, believe that equality is a good thing, and we should promote it as much as we possibly can. I was just thinking about how much you love the "mimic with a twist" style, and since it seemed to fit the theme, I just assumed it was intentional

5:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


Naw, if you're looking for 'mimic with a twist', I suggest this one.

Have you read here a while, or you one of them Canadians?

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess based on your chat with Erik, our frames of reference are farther apart than I thought... that's why I chose the horse analogy. I can argue potential realized or squandered, but when I look out through these eyes, I look out through the vessel I have been given. The Potential is only the potential in this vessel. I can sharpen it, an push it, but my blue eyes will be the same ones I have always had. I'm not sure why it never occured to me to be angry that I don't have some other eye color, but it didn't. The smaller chest I don't have, likewise. The asthma, the broken back, they just are.

Do you get mad about other things like that, and what motivates you to do that? What is the outcome you strive for? I'm not being facetious...
It's kinda like "hey look at that!"

10:55 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

I've read that one, it is a good example.

I originally found you through MR way back when, and I started reading regularly somewhere in the area of a year ago, give or take. I've only started commenting with any regularity relatively recently, but you may not recognize the name because it's still not all that much. I try only to chime in when I can really add to the discussion or I don't understand something I would like too.

Also I missed the Canadian reference, but I am from Michigan, not quite Canada.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Megan, that chart from may have been disappointing, but here is another chart that should be much more encouraging. It shows the performance of NBA draft prospects at the league's recent testing camp known as the "Combine." Keep in mind that these prospects are the top college basketball players in the country, many of whom will play in the NBA. By any standards they're among the world's best athletes.

Toward the right side of the chart you'll see a column for bench press. It shows the number of reps at 185 pounds which each prospect was able to manage. Now, recall from the chart that 185 pounds isn't a particularly big amount for a man to bench. And then note that many of the NBA prospects, despite being fantastic athletes, were able to manage only a handful of reps. That should illustrate the fact that in most sports, including a fairly physical one like basketball, bench-press ability really doesn't mean a whole lot.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


Yes, of course, I've seen you commenting. I had you confused with the Eric above, whom I thought might be new. The Canadian reference is 'cause the new people came here from a right-wing Canadian blog. I was wondering why a regular would say something like:

How do you people grow up so clueless?

But on re-reading, you didn't. Got it.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's really unfair is that I'm not on the cover of fashion magazines. Just because I'm a middle-aged, average looking male. How unfair is that?!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

I can see what a bummer it would be, but consider:

Chicks usually have twice the body fat of the fellas. A ripped guy will be 5-10% BF, while for the ladies it is going to be 10-15%. You can go lower but it messes up your body. So pound-for-pound guys are going to be stronger.

Women seem to have better endurance. At least they can do more reps at a higher percentage of 1RM than guys. An uncharitable explanation is they lack the neurological efficiency to push out higher 1RMs.

In movements requiring skill, as you have seen, the difference rapidly decreases.

[The point about other apes, which someone brought up, has always intrigued me. I don't know why this is, and I'd love to find out.]

[And congrats for wading through the crap that clogs up the comments]

1:41 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

"I had no idea men were that much stronger."

Because ever since the late 70's, radical feminists have demonized as sexists (and probably crypto-nazis) anybody who pointed out the difference and insisted that this difference mattered in certain professions, such as firefighter, soldier, etc. And liberal journalists, educators, etc. have cooperated in perpetuating the lie that there are no real physical differences of any consequence, a lie that has real consequences when lives are on the line.

So I'm sorry you have discovered a disadvantage that you cannot overcome, but as some of your commenters have pointed out, we all have disadvantages of one sort or another.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


I've done sports my entire life with boys and men. Since I was twelve, being the only girl, then woman in the room or on the field has been entirely familiar. I've never seen a gap of twice. Like I wrote in the fourth paragraph, this was the first time such a big difference showed up. The rest of the time, if there were differences, they were much smaller.

I think my surprise is from my experiences, not from a conspiracy of feminists and journalists.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What on Earth has caused all the agro in this thread?

Getting on to the ape thing, I looked at this a while back, and there are a bunch of reasons even Chimps kick our arses at weights.

1. The typical test is to get the chimp to pull a handle. This is the equivalent of a rowing movement. BUT chimps are big arm, small leg animals, whereas humans are small arm big legs. So if the human did a deadlift while the chimp did a row, it might be a fairer contest.

We'd still loose by a long way however, because:

2. Chimps are much denser than a human. For reasons that evolutionists aren't quite clear on (I like the aquatic ape theory) humans have huge bodyfat %. So a 60kg human has the lean body mass (and hence muscle) of say an 50 kg chimp.

3. Humans are lazy. Even the laziest zoo chimp still spends her time hanging from one arm and swinging about. This makes a "normal" chimp the equivalent of a trained weight lifter.

4. Chimps are all fast twitch. If you made it a strength endurance test (ie. How much weight can you lift for 50 reps) the human would be way better.

So in conclusion, if the human was a trained athlete doing 50 reps of squats compared to a chimp doing 50 reps of a row, then we wouldn't be the weakest.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Lux Canon said...

World Record Bench Press
One Thousand and Ten Pounds.

Gender is a mystery, ennit?

12:25 PM  
Blogger Mustang Sally said...

There are a couple of things people are ignoring here:
1) attitude (social conditioning)
2) genetics (the world one-arm pull-up record was held by a (circus) woman for a long time).

We could say the average man is taller than the average woman. That does not mean a woman cannot be taller than a man. When I have seen some women armwrestling men that get giggly and don't focus their strength.

I have done some gymnastics in the past so I know how to apply strength. Plus I have freaky natural strength (genetics). I still do weight training and though my arms look slender a very surprising bicep pops out when I flex. A larger man (boy-friend of my friend) found this out the hard way when I overpowered him in an armwrestle. I'm very cocky too about these things. My muscles were a lot denser and stronger than his.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, truth hurts? Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars.

Life is unfair. That's the summary of this planet the past 10,000 years.

It's true not just in the physical world, but everywhere else: politics, churches and religion, ... witches and wizards, magicians.

And of course, weight lifters.

Hormones are different. That's just the way it is.

After night, comes day. That's not going to change.

After summer is ? . That's not going to change.

When you run for President, you will be assassinated (or someone will try). That's not going to change.

Men can lift more than women. Generally and averagely. I promise you that's not going to change either.

That said, I love women.

To the world, I'm just another person. But to my woman, I am her world.

Go check out my girl's blog at she doesn't even know how to post properly. (That's another thing, men tend to be more geeky and technical than women.)

12:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home