For centuries, in western societies, the “beautiful sex” has been considered the “weaker” one. Whereas for millenniums, domineering men have been considered the “stronger” one, up until a few decades ago, this is due to the patriarchal structure of societies and the ruling Jewish-Christian system which gave men more personal, political and social rights. “You husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with them according to knowledge, assigning them honour as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one”, an epistle-writer consulted to male recipients.
With the outbreak of the feministic movement in the second half of the 20th century, societies nowadays are being confused about the roles of men and women, both inside and outside the family institution. The question as to what the “weaker” and what the “stronger” sex really is (if a “stronger” one actually exists) still concerns people, especially during recent years. Personally speaking, a definite answer has not yet been given.
What is being considered in order call one sex “stronger” and the other one “weaker”?
Arguably, the first known criterion, the external one and therefore untrustworthy is the physical strength. Men, with regards to their muscular-skeletal structure are superior to women. The male is on average bigger than the female, this also being mostly the case in the animal kingdom. Due to this bodily strength men have managed to subjugate women throughout history. Some researchers (like Beethoven and others) claim that the matriarchal society, with women dominating in at least some parts of the world, existed even before the patriarchal one appeared (the latter only being known from the ancient East since the beginning of the second millennium B.C.).
However, this has not been historically and ethnologically certified in an unquestionable way, thus this subject still remains scientifically open.
It is a fact though, that men have subjugated women using their physical power since the beginning of the world. He restrained her into certain, locked rooms (destined for women exclusively), he deprived her of her personal, social and political rights, as well as her education. He considered her as the “device of the devil” and he restricted any non-familiar activities of hers. Still, he did that without having any supremacy (intellectually for example); although according to current investigations, the way that the female brain functions differs to the male one since the average male brain is heavier (1.45kg) than the female one (1.3kg). This difference though, is simply because of the physical, bodily difference.
The only remarkable variation between the two sexes is that most of the times when it comes to dealing with life”s problems men are more realistic, logical and self-composed. However women are more sentimental and vulnerable since they frequently let their emotions overshadow their will and intellect. Besides, maternity is the “centre” of a woman”s life (tota mulier in utero, as the Romans used to say) whereas men generally are not that intensely influenced by their children”s birth and existence. Under this rationale, women can be considered as the “weaker” sex since they constantly need men’s psychological as well as sentimental support, especially when women become mothers. Apart from the sex difference itself, every person (born as male or female) is being taught and trained by his/ her family(mainly by his/her mother) in order to obtain a male or female behavior. Consequently, apart from the genetic structure and origin, masculine or feminine behavior is also a matter of education.
Still, although it may seem or sound irrational, science’s current investigations question whether the feminine sex is the “weaker” one and masculine the “stronger” one. First of all, genetics state that when it comes to mankind, their sex is seriously influenced by the existence of the “Y” chromosome which is smaller and weaker than the “X” chromosome. Consequently, “Y” chromosome (on which male sex is dependent) will keep on fading. This implies that the number of men is going to diminish within the next centuries. A pessimistic statistical investigation foresees that in the following 100,000 years the male sex will not exist at all! For the time being, there is scientific evidence “injecting” us with the optimistic view that the “Y” gene can be auto-amended as well as auto-refitted. Things thus are not as tragic as they seem...
On the other hand, science states that the ovule of a woman is not weak. Actually, it is very strong. In contrast, the 130 to 180 million of spermatozoa are the weak ones (which often do not even manage to fertilize this single ovule, though it is being insistently “encompassed”). However if we put genetics as well as pessimism aside for a moment and come to more realistic observations, we will notice that the common “weaker” sex is actually “stronger” one, in many ways. Women can endure physical pain more than men can. This can be certified by the fact of labour pains and giving birth. If it was physically possible for men to keep an embryo in their “womb” for 9 months, they would not bear it. They would die of heart-fatigue, suffocation or other psycho-somatic alterations. Women however, are predestined to bring a new life into the world. They can withstand labour pains.
Besides, women can live on their own more easily than men. That is why an average woman usually lives almost 5 to 7 years longer than a man. Apart from that, in some countries, in Africa for instance, women perform equally hard (if not harder) jobs to the masculine ones and they can get along even more successfully than men.
In addition, if we wanted to examine men’s general attitude towards women, we would note that men are the weaker beings, especially in fields of love and sex. Women of course also fall in love just like men do, but when it comes to whether they would proceed in a permanent relationship or marriage, they in fact behave selfishly. The man who provides a woman as well as her children with the best, materially, will be chosen as the appropriate one. Among many men, women are the ones to choose who they will be chosen by. Men in reverse, despite their “masculinity” and the money they obtain (which they can allegedly use freely) are at the end of the day victims of their feelings for the woman they love. But most of all they are victims of their unavoidable inclination and hunger for sex. This innate sensuality of theirs, their untamed impulse for copulation, works eventually against their own good. They are driven to their own enslavement towards the female sex since they are dependant on it in order to be satisfied. This is why “bordellos” and brothels existed for centuries.
For each aspiring Samson, there is always a seductive Delilah capable of “taming” him with her lures...
So, the renowned “user” of women becomes (and, at this point, he actually is) “used”. Suffragette Esther Vilar copes with this matter in a realistic as well as raw way. These are some of her views written in her innovative book called “the dressized man”: “Each man is enslaved to the woman who relentlessly manipulates him from a very young age. From his start he is taught to obey a woman, his mother, who directs and trains him, the way she wants, in order to “make” him a real man. Later on, he learns how to co-exist, listen to (sometimes even obey) his wife, as well as the mother of his children, so as to ensure advancement and peace for his family... Women, in the way they choose to use (or not-use) sex, they “tame” men. They “dressize” them the way they want. This way, they satisfy their rational or even irrational, wishes. A woman often satisfies men’s sexual desires (frequently pretending to enjoy orgasm herself) in exchange of ensuring housing and food for her as well as her children. One thus should not be surprised to read the following words (written on a hagiographic script): “000” and also reading that women are described as “valiant” (000). Therefore, women (especially in western societies), using a “hyper- weapon”, have succeeded in persuading men that they represent the “stronger” sex, since they have been more efficient and forceful than men. Women have managed to manoeuvre men giving them the appearance of the “master” as well as the “head” of the family, while the real “heads” are women themselves. They are the ones who use sex in a double way. They expect men to be fighters and “barbarians” outwardly (towards a rival for instance) whilst expecting them to be tender and affectionate inwardly (towards their children and themselves). All these above are according to Esther Vilar and the sharers of her views. However, who would question the truth of her words?
Which is thus the “stronger” sex and which is the “weaker” one? During the last decades, women have dynamically intruded also into the fields of work. In this way they have acquired an additional “weapon”: the weapon of education and financial independence. Many times they have even proven themselves superior to men in these fields. This has made women even more powerful and thereby, more competitive against men, since they do not seem to need men anymore. Even the artificial insemination of women is possible through sperm banks as societies nowadays have become “permissive” enough on the issue of obtaining children outside the marriage arrangement.
During the 20th century, a great change has happened. A change less noticed than it should have been (maybe because it was not understood as much as it should have been. This has nothing to do with political morals or financial cases. The family institution, the traditional one, has been questioned, almost torn down. Marriages nowadays are easily destroyed. Almost two out of five marriages in the western, “advanced” societies come to an end... The Family, the “cell” of the society is being “attacked” by various, external factors.
Young men and women prefer to cohabit rather than to get married mostly for financial reasons plus their desire for independence. Men have gradually become less willing to the initiative to seek for a female mate or even flirt with women due to current women”s financial independence and “aggressiveness”. As a result, women lately wonder: “where have real men gone?”
The self-proclaimed “stronger” sex has relented and it keeps on relenting fearfully, since it has lost its seeming powerful role. Thus, the bottom line of this “tug of war” seems to be that both sexes have strengths and weaknesses. Both of them are repressive just as much as they are repressed. And if they keep on dealing with their relationship selfishly, without any honest intention for co-existence and mutual understanding, they will continue having these competitive, destroying and self-destroying roles.
Only time will tell whether they will perpetuate this obvious (or insidious) “fistfight” and mutual exploitation or they will embrace one another with sincere, unpretentious love; for their own everlasting benefit...