Are girls (and women) getting stronger, and why?

Are girls (and women) getting stronger, and why?

Joined: September 6th, 2008, 6:25 pm

September 18th, 2008, 3:53 pm #1

Truy asked this interesting question on another thread:
"So you are saying that girls are getting stronger? I won't deny or agree. But why you think this is? Are girls genes evolving or what? Or are they only beginning to show their hidden potential? Are the female muscles pound to pound stronger than males?"

I doubt even the male supremacists would say girls and women aren’t getting stronger. Take weightlifting. In 1987 the women’s World Champion (in the 67.5kg bodyweight class) lifted 45kg less than the guy who came last in the US National Championship and 95kg less than the winner. This year the women’s Olympic Champion (69kg) lifted 7kg less than the US men’s champion, and more than everyone else in the field. Two schoolgirls lifted more than ten of the thirteen American men.

The fact that this is happening so quickly means it’s not genetic evolution – that takes thousands of years in humans.

There are lots of other possibilities, medical science, nutrition, etc., but I think hidden potential is the most likely. Long ago in parts of the UK families of tin miners used to work their own deep shaft. The men did the skilled work of mining at the rock-face. Men at that time thought women couldn’t do skilled work, but didn’t doubt their strength. The women’s job was to carry baskets of rock, weighing more then they did, up near-vertical ladders to the surface on their backs. Many got sick and crippled in later life, but they got that job done.

Women haven’t yet developed their potential strength because they’ve almost never got (and typically still don’t get) as much exercise as men. Nowadays they take more exercise than they used to and so they’re stronger than they used to be. Women weightlifters take a lot of strength-building exercise and get a lot stronger.

As for whose muscles are stronger, looking at weightlifting again, the top women may have improved faster, but the top men still lift 20% more than they can. So for now it looks as though men’s muscles are stronger, but there’s a huge gender-overlap. Look at the schoolgirl weightlifters on the 'Boys and Women...' thread.
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dave
dave

September 20th, 2008, 6:37 am #2

Pure nonsense. Your comparison of women's WORLD performance with men's USA, points solely to this: weightlifting is not a popular sport in the USA nowadays. That's all. Be it USA, be it any other place in the world, when and where it does become popular enough to attract good competitors for a given period of time, men will always show better results than women for that period. Teen males will do better than teen females, men will do better than women, many teen males (obviously those who gets faster through puberty, but many others as well) will do better than adult women. That is a matter of fact, and you can check it for any objectively measurable record in any sport anywhere in the world: countries/ages/weights/categories/etc. If a few teen females do better than some adult males it's only when you artificially create the two comparison sets, say in two different places, or categories, or whatever. These artificial comparison sets reflect nothing of the real situation of men vs. women actual physical gap which cannot and never will be closed.
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Joined: September 6th, 2008, 6:25 pm

September 20th, 2008, 3:32 pm #3

No, Dave, it isn’t nonsense, but thanks for your point about the comparison. You’re right, it’s unequal. But I didn’t choose it to be equal. I chose that comparison because it’s dramatic and fun. (And because it’s kind of interesting that there are already women and girls out there in the world who are stronger than almost every man their size in the USA.) The important thing is not the comparison itself, but the way it's changed. In 1987 there WAS no comparison. Now there’s no difference!

Instead of all that, I could just have said that in 1987 top male weightlifters worldwide used to lift about 50% more than the top female lifters worldwide. An equal comparison. Now they lift about 20% more. Will the difference get even smaller? Yes, because women’s records are still tumbling, while men’s don’t change much. A female supremacist could claim it’s only a matter of time before these girls and women will be stronger than the men – and at least have some evidence to back that claim.

What you say about men doing better in every sport is wrong. Most long-distance open-water swimming records are held by women and there are other examples – look back through this forum. But it is true that, for the moment, men do better than women in most properly matched comparisons.

You lose it big time when the ‘will always’ comes in. You give no evidence for any: “…real situation of men vs. women actual physical gap which cannot and never will be closed.” That’s not an argument, just a statement. If you give some reason why you believe this, others may be able to argue with you. But with no backup at all it’s not that interesting, the kind of stuff clueless male supremacists often spout, just because they want it to be true. You’re not one of them, are you?
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dave
dave

September 20th, 2008, 8:37 pm #4

Yes, Sage. It is nonsense. Choosing the comparison to be dramatic and fun as you did, equals in this case to making that comparison false. Since it is not true that "there are already women and girls out there in the world who are stronger than almost every man their size in the USA" - and it cannot be interesting either, unless you find false statements to be interesting. The unpopularity of this sport in the USA equals to repulsion of good potential from it, hence you definitely do not compare the world women to " almost every man their size in the USA". Moreover, among all weights you choose the most unattractive ones for the USA men and compare those only. There was no comparison in 1987 and there is no one now. There never will be one, as there will always be a big physical gap between men and women.

Instead of all that you should just say that the popularity of the sport in the USA decreases, especially among men in the lighter weights. There is your 50% and 20%. The overall real difference didn't get any smaller, as you can obviously observe from world results over all weights. This overall gap is huge and is unbridgeable. Time comes when men will definitely hit a plateau but so will women – it's just that their plateau will be lower. Female supremacy is stupidity, and same goes for its so called claims.

Again – pure nonsense about "long-distance etc.". Real talent, real sportsmen are repulsed from such events, same as they are repulsed from fighting dogs and crocodiles, although such underground fights do exist, and some men are attracted to them. When and IF this long distance swimming will become "mainstream", will get recognition in the same sense athletics gets, i.e. periodical regional/world/olympic competitions, unions, organizations, officials, etc., etc., when it will have a big pool of talented participants, then the results and the gap will become obvious, since only then they will become SPORT RESULTS.

I lose nothing when I say the gap cannot be closed. It's a physical observation accessible to any normal person who can read the stats, even simpler: to anyone who lives on earth and not inside some fantasies. In the species called Homo Sapiens, the male physically outperform the female. Measure the strength, the speed, the reaction, measure whatever you like – the gap reveals itself as a given physical fact. Whatever training improves - it improves it for both sexes. Whenever the plateau is reached it is reached by both sexes. That’s all there is to it. There is no "believing" component into it, just measuring and reading ability.

Yet, this natural physical gap has nothing to do with person's place/stand/position in society. The fact that someone can not lift a certain weight does not prevent this someone from being an equal member of society. Competitive sport is such a tiny portion of life, that recognizing ones inability to participate in it, does not take anything from that person. So, leave the physical gap to the physical realm – competitive sports, etc. – and don't bring it into real life, the one where you work, love, have friends, community, decisions, elections, etc., etc. The starting line of this real life is indeed equality, and here it is really worth fighting inequality whenever it exists. But ignoring/denying/fighting inequality in weightlifting is nonsense.
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Joined: September 6th, 2008, 6:25 pm

September 22nd, 2008, 12:50 pm #5

Well you’ve given arguments of a sort, which you seem to believe, and I’m going to respect that, not just dismiss them as nonsense, which is much too easy to do.

I’m sorry you got so confused by my weightlifting example. It was only there to show that a change has taken place, which it has. You need to READ what I write – the 50% and 20% figures have nothing to do with US weightlifting. I’ll try again – please forget all about that example and read the following very carefully.

Thirty years ago the best male weightlifters in the WORLD, regularly lifted 50% more, per pound of bodyweight, than the best female weightlifters in the WORLD. Now the best male weightlifters in the WORLD lift only 20% more than the best female weightlifters in the WORLD. Understand it now? These ARE EXACTLY your “world results, over all weights”. And the women’s performance is improving every year, while the men’s isn’t changing much.

Well, so a sport isn’t really a sport unless it produces the results you want. How convenient, and why am I not surprised? Open-water swimming is a popular sport, which indeed has periodical regional and world competitions, unions, organizations, officials, plus a big pool of talented participants – and, yes, it’s in the Olympics too. What did you think it was? - a couple of women in their backyard, doing it between the dog-fighting and alligator wrestling? That comparison is just extremely silly.

Now you want to take this wrong idea beyond sport to everything physical: “measure what you like”, you say. Fine, I will. What about the scientific tests which showed female muscle has 75% better endurance than male? – again you’ll find it earlier in this forum. (Are these laboratory experiments also too much like dog-fighting for you?)

You say anyone can read “the stats”, though you never ever quote any. We’ve already agreed there are stats showing men are better at lots of sports-type things (FOR NOW) and women at less. But you don’t seem to understand the difference between facts and opinions. If I tell you the Giants will win the Superbowl next year, that’s an opinion, not a fact, no matter how strongly I believe it and no matter how good the Giants are, because it’s about the future. Your views about men’s and women’s performance in the future are OPINIONS, not facts, and you never give any information, stats or data, of any kind whatever to support them. FACT: women have already overtaken men in some sports. FACT: they’re getting very close in others (like ultramarathon – yes, it has all that stuff though it’s not in the Olympics yet). FACT: they’re not that close in weightlifting yet, but they’ve closed the gap very quickly. FACT: their weightlifting performance is increasing faster than men’s. Come on, Dave, give us some specific facts, not just general (and mostly wrong) opinions.

I’m just repeating myself by now, trying to get you to understand. You are bringing no information to discuss, just bigoted opinions supposedly based on these “stats” you can never quote. You call female supremacy stupid. I feel the same way about male supremacists (even ones who say that their bigoted views only apply to sports and the like) and especially when their ‘arguments’ are presented from a position which more and more is coming to look like total ignorance. Unless you actually do know some real facts, and can tell us what they are, I think we’re done here.
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dave
dave

September 23rd, 2008, 7:10 am #6


So, please do what you intended but didn’t do in the first place: bring comparable results, say from a world championships, or the Olympics, or even the USA nationals. Do it for a few categories not just for 56/62kg, and support your claim. Just a few lines one below the other: men-women.

You will see the obvious: women’s results are far below men’s. What might have fantasized is a misleading picture coming from the lower weights. The real thing is that competitive sport in general and weightlifting in particular is a system that has very concrete and limited goals. And grading every person on earth according to a strength table is not one of those goals. All it can do in this aspect is to perform a scouting and to attract lifters with good potential. Obviously it is hard to do in the lower weights. If within the current trend of average body weight increase, X% of adult men (world wide) still weight below 56kg, and from this X% one has to scout people willing to become competitive sportsmen, then it’s not an easy task to get a big pool. And since the system has to invest (in the end it boils down to money) in this pool, the whole thing starts to shrink. Countries/regions that have strong public organizations (state as the most evident example) to support it can do something to keep it wide enough. But even they can’t fight the average body weight increase trend.

Who can have any doubts that a plateau in weightlifting will be reached? It’s obvious. No one can lift 1000kg. Here’s an out of the hat upper bound for you. Obviously the real bound is much less than 1000kg, but who would argues that it exists. No less obvious that such bounds exist for any other sport. So what’s the problem? You think that men had already reached it, or reaching it now? That might be so indeed. On the other hand it might be not. But if someone says that women’s bound is close or equal or higher than men’s – then it’s just nonsense.

Open water swimming… As for weightlifting, do the simplest thing: write here a few results (in this event) from the latest Olympics. Men-women. Do you see here any trace of the so called “big gapped world record” held by women in say swimming across various Channels? No. Why? Because when it comes to the Olympics (and its ilk) it ceases to be what is sometimes called “self-propelled” sport. And when this happens – men show higher results than women.

“75% better endurance than male” – again a simple misuse of words. You take some specific terms and concepts used in a research and give them a different meaning. Do you really know what and how exactly was this research checking? Do you understand its methodology, its theoretical basis, the interpretation of its results? Catchy headlines have nothing to do with science. “75% better endurance” has a certain meaning in one particular research, and to grasp it one has to understand the field. What is left without this understanding? What does “75% better endurance” means not in scientific but in everyday’s language? Nothing, yet everything. Everything you want to put into it, hence nothing in real life. So, lets hear your opinion: what do YOU think “75% better endurance” means? Give a real life situation, and say: I think that in this situation we will see how “75% better endurance” shows itself.

As for the facts:

FACT: women have not overtaken men in any sport.
FACT: they get no closer to men in any sport.

If anyone has to bring facts, it’s you. And comparing USA men to world women won’t do. That’s all you did so far. Do better, and we’ll see if you can support your fantasy claims.

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Joined: September 6th, 2008, 6:25 pm

September 23rd, 2008, 7:13 pm #7

Gee, I’m getting really tired of saying this (and apologies to others who don’t need to see it three times to understand it):
Thirty years ago the best male weightlifters in the WORLD, regularly lifted 50% more, per pound of bodyweight, than the best female weightlifters in the WORLD AVERAGED OVER ALL THE BODYWEIGHT CATEGORIES. Now the best male weightlifters in the WORLD lift only 20% more than the best female weightlifters in the WORLD AVERAGED OVER ALL THE BODYWEIGHT CATEGORIES. Got it yet? – oh, please! The data is at:
http://www.iat.uni-leipzig.de/datenbank ... /start.php
Take a look. If you can’t understand it, get someone to explain. Until then stop just posting it’s not true or only for 56kg or other rubbish when you have no idea at all.

Try reading that research rather than asking a million questions about it – it was at University of Colorado in May 05. You said: “measure what you like” so I did – nothing about all this real-life stuff. Typical – you make a silly generalisation. I prove it wrong, so you change it for, surprise surprise, another silly generalisation.

I really loved your “facts”!
“Fact” 1: Yes they have – Open water swimming. Honestly this isn’t even controversial. Most people know it, it doesn’t bother guys in the sport…
“Fact” 2: Yes, they are. Is this a joke? Everyone but you must know that women have been closing all the gaps. Look at the weightlifting, then move on to track and field, powerlifting, pool swimming, cycling, speed-skating. In almost every measurable sport women are catching up. (Our mighty forum owner Viktfar posted some interesting examples back in a thread called: “Fr all you skeptics” back on p2).

Well, thanks for those “facts”, Dave – haven’t laughed so much for a while. I bring in facts and references to support everything I say (remember all those numbers and percentages and URLs). You respond with something sophisticated, like, “Oh, no it’s not.” and zero facts and references to support it. If you can’t produce any at all (despite the quality humour) I’ve had enough of the mindless bigotry, I’m afraid.
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dave
dave

September 24th, 2008, 7:26 am #8

As expected you couldn’t bring any relevant numbers here. The reason is simple: they do not exist. So all you can do is useless empty talking.

Thirty years ago the best male weightlifters in the WORLD, regularly DID NOT lifted 50% more, per pound of bodyweight, than the best female weightlifters in the WORLD AVERAGED OVER ALL THE BODYWEIGHT CATEGORIES.

Why? Because the notion of BEST FEMALE WEIGHTLIFTERS thirty years ago is meaningless. Their pool was too small and their competition was too close to zero, to determine that. Is it big enough now? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But at least the field is now organized, and the notion of BEST now has a meaning.

And you actually gave yourself a good advice, which I am delighted to reproduce here:

“If you can’t understand it, get someone to explain. Until then stop just posting your 30 years old comparisons or other rubbish when you have no idea at all.”

From your advice to read the research I see that you did not understand any of it, otherwise based on it you could give your own example of a real life situation where this 75% would clearly show itself. So, take your advice once more: get someone to explain the research.

You proved something? What and where? Very funny to hear accusations in silly generalizations from someone who makes silly generalizations about women surpassing men in sports.

Facts… Again, you bring many words, but no numbers. No forums examples are needed here. Take the open water swimming. Some of it was in the latest Olympics. Go to any site that has the last Olympics results in that event. If your “fact” that women hold the world records in this field was actually a fact – we would see something of that in the Olympic results as well. Alas, we do not see it.

So all you bring is merely “facts”. Try FACTS for once. When you do so you see this FACT:

FACT: women have not overtaken men in any sport.

So, until you are able to bring a few rows of real numbers, please go on with your silliness to amuse the readers of this forum.




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Joined: September 6th, 2008, 6:25 pm

September 24th, 2008, 7:11 pm #9

I gave you some information I know is true. Because it doesn’t fit with your ignorant chauvinist opinions, you say it’s wrong or false, even though you know nothing about it. When I give you the source, so you can check, you refuse.

I do not post false statements nor wrong data. Ever. There would be absolutely no point. I will not discuss with someone who calls me a liar.
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dave
dave

September 25th, 2008, 11:35 am #10

If you use the term information to denote knowledge about reality, then you obviously gave no information so far. Maybe you indented to, but didn’t have enough time yet. No rush, take your time. If on the other hand, by information you mean knowledge about someone’s fantasy world, then you indeed gave plenty of it.

And I’m totally for it: fiction, science fiction, etc. Not for all genres, but for quite a few of them, yours included. Although all of them are hermetically sealed by a fantasy stamp, that stamp IS the crucial feature that makes them so enjoyable. So, if you change your mind and decide to dig deeper into fantasies, please go on, don’t be discouraged by anyone's posts. Argument, contradictions, clashes – all are good and welcome. Whenever different people stop writing opposing posts - boredom starts its rule.
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