Even in this day and age, there is an inflated adage – bought into by many, dictating that men are definitely the stronger sex. There are obviously varying degrees and definitions for the word ‘strength.’ Physiologically speaking, men are typically stronger – when you are talking about raw brute strength than their female counterparts are. (But NOT always, as we know of some pretty strong women in this world)
But when it comes to mental, emotional, and psychological strength – the picture of a women breaking down into sappy puddles at the first hint of strife in their lives, is quickly becoming nothing more than a ruse. Women are not only able to defy obstacles, but have an uncanny and creative ability to overcome the odds, deal with drastic life changes and find solutions to problems in an unpredictable world that is seemingly changing the way society looks at a woman. Truth is, we should never underestimate the strength and resilience of a woman!
For instance, often when things in life don’t go as planned or roadblocks are hit such as; getting passed over for a job, getting pregnant unexpectedly, raising a child alone, suffering through the loss of a spouses job, the family home burns down, a car accident, health issues within the family – it is so often the steadfast woman who is holding all things together. When it comes to keeping calm and moving on, today’s woman has become the jack of all trades, dealing with levels of stress from the family level to the professional level. Today women are strong & resilient and should never be underestimated. Their strength lies in their ability to bounce back, to lead, be creative and yet do all the things a man can do. That said they still have the compassionate and caring side that cares for the sick, raises our children and keeps families together.
So what is it that makes women so strong? In 2011, a study by the National Institute of Health revealed that men and women exposed to the same amounts of the defective DNA that typically causes autism, had vastly differing implications. In fact, in cases where siblings were born with nearly identical DNA configurations, the male was 15 times more likely to be impaired than his female sibling. Study after study seemed to confirm that women were able to overcome more genetic or neurological issues than man, and can lead completely normal, healthy and functional lives even with documented genetic issues. Perhaps the strength of a woman truly is in her resilience, something hotwired into the psychological make-up. Or, perhaps it is something that has been indoctrinated by the years of struggling for equality that has somehow conditioned the female brain and spirit to become more resilient and strong.
Sociologists believe that as woman have had to fight for respect and equality in society, they have become much stronger. And at the same time, it is socially acceptable for woman to show their softer sides, to cry or weep, or have moments of emotional distress. Whereas for men, these feelings/reactions are often looked at as weakness, so men tend to hide their emotions which seem to capsize their efforts to remain resilient and creative. Since women are able/allowed to straddle both emotional weakness and strength simultaneously, they are better able to deal with their stressors in life, which enables them to move forward with confidence and a clear head. Stress has long been known to cause a severe mental block that stymies productivity and since men are often hiding their stress, and keeping it all inside whereas women are not conditioned to do so by society, women are better able to deal with problems in life.
Interestingly, many studies into the resilience strength and survival instincts of woman have seemed to confirm the genders strength. One study out of Johns Hopkins found that women were 14% less likely to die after identical traumatic injuries than men are. And while the ‘strength of a woman’ seems to be a newly accepted assertion, a study out of New York by a sociology professor at City College says that women have long been psychologically stronger than men, mostly due in part to socialization. The study showed that women concentration camp survivors during the Second World War, exposed to the same amounts of trauma as men (often more) were able to cope more effectively than the men. The study was summarized as this. “Often it’s not what happens to you but how you deal with it that determines whether or not you’re going to make it through,” Helmreich says. “Assuming that the degree of trauma is roughly the same, I would say that women have more resilience than men because they are allowed to more freely express their emotions.”
At the end of the day, it is good to have a woman on your side! Woman often have the creativity and survival instinct that can effectively get you through nearly any problem that life throws your way. As we move forward as a society, quickly dispelling the notion that emotions signify weakness, we may just find realize that it is the emotions of a woman that in fact make her such a pillar of strength to those she loves, and to that which she is passionate about. And whatever you do, never underestimate a woman, for it is she who may be the savior in your time of need.