"You can do it, man..."

(Tim) Recent tests showed South African runner, Caster Semenya, had three times the normal level of the male hormone, testosterone, prior to her latest competition. This led sports authorities to order what are widely being called "gender tests" to determine whether, when she blew her fields away in recent races, Miss Semenya had an unfair advantage. An errant fax number brought what should have been a private matter into the public eye.

Returning to Johannesburg following stunning victories at the World Athletics Championships, Miss Semenya told reporters...

of her coach's pep talk prior to her races:

"I called my coach and my coach told me 'you can do it, man'," she said. "You lead from start to finish. You can do it, girl," she added, recalling her coach's comments.

"I took a lead in the last 400 and I killed them. They couldn't follow the race. It was good man. I saw gold at the last 200," she said, smiling as she spoke.

That's how the London Telegraph reported it.

The clip of her adulatory reception in Jo'burg is painful. This poor girl's life is being ruined and she appears to know it.

Comments

> This poor girl's life is being ruined and she appears to know it.

Isn't this what feminism is all about, being mannish? Everyone's celebrating a manly woman "killing" other women who just couldn't be quite manly enough, despite their best efforts.

"I killed them" -- sounds rather like a male expression to me. I'd expect a feminist to think so, too.

Speaking of killing, the authorities are worried about whether she had an unfair advantage over normal women when merely running, but society has no problem with normal women fighting in combat, and don't think that puts normal women at a serious disadvantage over real men out to kill them.

What a world.

And her coach is an East German, Ekhart Arbeit, and the actual limits for testosterone are set at a few times the usual MALE level--no the lower female level of the hormone.

It's still preliminary and based on anonymous sources for the most part, but it doesn't look good for (?) her.

I dare suggest that upper level sports is going to need to go to monthly drug/ dope testing to get any semblance of credibility, including mandatory DNA tests for female athletes.

I think feminism can be more fairly said to be about providing women (and men, too, for that matter) the opportunity for access to the full range of human experience. It has nothing to do with trying to ape men.

Competitive sport gives women the opportunity to use our physical abilities to their fullest. Like men, we are built to run! Many of us find it a joy to see how far and how fast we can go, and to participate in the excitement of racing. I don't see anything "mannish" about it. Just because men are generally (but not always) stronger and faster doesn't mean they get a monopoly on the pleasures of physical exertion and competition. It simply does not follow.

"I killed them" sounds like a natural expression of exultation in competitive triumph. It may not be in the best taste to say so out loud (for either sex), but "I killed them" is an expression of a universal human emotion.

> mandatory DNA tests for female athletes.

That would be intolerably sexist. Don't the men need DNA testing to make sure no females are sneaking in?

> It has nothing to do with trying to ape men.

That's debatable. It certainly looks like what's happening from this side of the street. I see manly females everywhere these days. Part of feminism is renouncing traditional femininity.

> Like men, we are built to run!

Are you also built to fight?

> Many of us find it a joy to see how far and how fast we can go, and to participate in the excitement of racing. I don't see anything "mannish" about it.

Well, go ahead, but it doesn't look particularly modest or lady-like. And when you "kill" the competition, make sure to do so with a quiet and gentle spirit.

Maybe you don't see anything mannish about today's female warriors, either...?

You missed a major point of my post -- the ludicrousness of protecting normal women from a super-manly-woman in a mere footrace, while normal women are not to be denied the right to fight to the death in combat against real men. What's wrong with this picture?

If it is demanded that women be treated as the equals of men in the military, certainly they are not going to sweat a manly woman in the next lane on the track?

Correction; the anonymous reports do state that her testosterone level is three times that expected of a woman. Not quite sure what that is, or how it compares with a man's, but looking at "her" physique, I'm guessing it's getting up there with that of Lyle Alzado in his prime.

Keep in mind that this is the level she attained during competition, when good East German coaches have their charges "de-juiced" enough to pass tests.

I've got nothing against women enjoying running--but I think Maggie and I both would agree that if the desire to run fast starts to "require" obtaining the hormones of a man, there is something amiss.

Fair enough?

> if the desire to run fast starts to "require" obtaining the hormones of a man, there is something amiss.

They didn't seem to care a whole lot in Johannesburg, not to mention the majority of the continent. To suggest anything might be amiss is automatically called sexist and racist.

But how is it sexist when the incident is all about women versus women?

And how is it racist, when her own village school principal didn't figure out she was a girl until 11th grade? ...or when the other girls in school always gave her a hard time about looking like a boy?

"You can do it, man..."

In the inclusive sense of the word, no doubt.

Bike Bubba, I might very well agree with you, but, frankly, I am finding this Caster Semenya issue confusing. The existence of "intersexed" individuals who are born with both male and female traits provides a definitional challenge. I don't know if Caster Semenya has an "intersexed" condition, but if she does, how do we figure out which box to place her in? If she is a woman who simply has higher levels of testosterone than most women, why do we not simply treat her as having an athletic advantage (such as abnormal height in a basketball player) rather than placing in a different sex category? I don't know enough to answer these questions -- but I think the powers-that-be need to come out with some kind of clearly comprehensible, bright-line standard.

Michael I understood the point of your post, but chose not to address the women-in-combat issue because I am an agnostic on that issue. I do not know what is physically required in a modern war, and I do not know whether some women are able to do what is physically required. I have simply never studied the issue.

But I do see a distinction between athletic competition and women-in-combat. We know for a certainty that the best men will always outperform the best women in most sports. Therefore, segregation is necessary in order to foster competition. But we don't only put the "best" guys in the military, so perhaps it is possible that above-average or exceptional women may in the middle-of-the-pack in terms of whatever abilities are required.

Maggie, agreed that it can be confusing, but look closely at the data; she's coached by the East German who juiced generations of Schwartzenegger-esque women sprinters, she's dropped seven seconds from her 800 time in recent months, she's built like a linebacker, and she's got extremely high testosterone.

Whatever the status of her DNA, that combination of factors leads me to suspect "better living through chemistry" as at least one factor.

> But we don't only put the "best" guys in the military, so perhaps it is possible that above-average or exceptional women may in the middle-of-the-pack in terms of whatever abilities are required.

Thanks for the reply, Maggie.

I have two sons currently in the military. One is a Drill Instructor at Basic Training. Not surprisingly, there are lower physical fitness standards for all women. More is expected of all men. In other words, more is required of effeminate men than masculine women, regardless of natural ability.

Dear Maggie:

Female high school athletes have more knee injuries then their male counterparts; why?

Warmly, David

> Maggie, agreed that it can be confusing, but look closely at the data

It's likely both, one leading to the other:

She was born abnormally masculine.

Because of that, someone decided she was a good candidate to be made into an unbeatable Super Woman, with a little help from modern science.

Bike Bubba, Oh yes! I DO agree that drugging is definitely a possibility! I was thinking the very same thing! I am not sure why that possibility is not being discussed more.

Michael,

I don't advocate differing fitness requirements for the sexes. I have looked at a number of different fitness requirements for police work, firefighting, the military, school fitness, and the sex differences always seem arbitrary.

I have also looked at fitness requirements to determine combat readiness. There are also different requirements on age. I am pretty sure any moderately fit woman should be able to meet (and exceed) the minimum male requirements for her age group. But I will certainly concede that doesn't prove that women add value in combat. I just don't think that fitness requirements really tell us anything either way.

David,

According to "The Complete Book of Running for Women" by Clare Kowalchik, women are more susceptible to knee injuries due to our larger quadriceps angle (the sharper angle at which our hips come down to our knees), which puts more stress on the knees. There is some speculation that the fact that a woman's quadriceps are stronger than her hamstring puts more stress on the knees as well. Another factor is greater looseness of the joints among women, especially during ovulation and pregnancy.

I am not sure I see what you are driving at. I will note that the benefits of running are legion, and one can avoid injury by wearing proper shoes and by increasing one's speed and mileage gradually.

One other thought: I was moved to break my usual silence because of my own personal experiences as a distance runner for 25 years (since I was 13). Those experiences are utterly contrary to the notion of trying to be a different sex, i.e. trying to be "mannish." Distance running forces me to be very conscious of my body and what it can do. That includes consciousness of being in a female body and all that entails. It's perhaps hard to explain but I find myself constantly awe-struck at how my body has the capacity to grow babies AND move my body over the ground for long distances (my effectiveness at the latter compromised to some extent to accommodate the former, yet able to do both).

I have never once in my life found myself crying into my pillow because I couldn't outrun the fastest guys in my peer group. It was never about them.

>I am pretty sure any moderately fit woman should be able to meet (and exceed) the minimum male requirements for her age group.

With all due respect you are mistaken. The minimum male fitness requirements that involve upper body strength are generally beyond the ability of pretty much all normal women.

Let me get this straight; exercising for women is a plot to make us male? You really believe women shouldn't do sports?

And here Karen is again demonstrating a serious deficiency in reading comprehension.

And Maggie, who with every word shows us just how different the sexes are - undeniable, bedrock differences shown in things like the reasons we women are more susceptible to knee injuries and how we cannot be both superior athletes and bear children.

Marvelous, simply mavelous the way you both make the opposite case to that you intend.

Kamilla

Dear Maggie:

Why is there a greater looseness in the joints among women?

David

David,

I actually may be mistaken, since I am only relying on google, and it has been a while since I looked at this.

I was looking at basic combat readiness standards for the army here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=u.s.+physical+fitness+charts&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g10

This test is based on a 2-mile run, sit-ups and push-ups. You will have to take my word for it, but I just did 34 real push-ups, which is the minimum requirement for my age group (37-41). My only training is that I do about 10 push-ups twice a week as part of a very light weight program.

There may be other tests that I am not aware of (though no one seemed to know of any in a conversation I had with some military guys in another blog conversation).

Again, I do NOT claim that this means I am evenly matched with a fit man my age. For example, I am unlikely to be tall enough. Also, when I do push-ups, I am not lifting as much weight as a man, since most men are heavier. I simply question the usefulness of these fitness tests at guaging a person's effectiveness at the task to be accomplished.

Kamilla,

I do not understand why you think my words undermine the case I am making. I never claimed that women have the same athletic capabilities as men. I have consistently stated the opposite.

My case is that a woman who runs will reap rewards in terms of physical health, mental and emotional fitness, and enjoyment of life (as will a man). Running is probably the best recipe for cardiovascular fitness -- which is important for women since heart disease is the number one killer of women in America. It is also great for promoting bone density, which is something women in particular have to be concerned about. The fact that men may be faster (at least the ones who match my training) is irrelevant.

David,

You ask why women have greater looseness in the joints. I think you know the answer. (I also think you knew the answer about women's greater susceptibility to knee injuries.)

I suspect you are trying to make some kind of argument, but you are doing so by implication rather than stating outright what you mean. Come on, don't be shy! Spit it out!

A good picture of physical differences: the average male candidate for the Air Force Academy can do over ten pull-ups. Only 1% of female candidates can even do one--they were tested with a flexed arm hang. (I did 13, but didn't make the cut for other reasons)

I'd assume the Army and Marines have similar results. Now consider whether one just might want to have that kind of strength when trying to get over a wall before being shot in the infantry, or whether that kind of strength might be useful when trying to get a wounded friend out of the line of fire.

Miss Semenya would probably be OK, thanks to "better living through chemistry" and possibly other factors.

Maggie,

As Mr. Bubba correctly notes historically pull ups were part of the fitness requirement to enter service, at least in my service. Women generally could do one or none so consequently all they had to do was hang from the bar for a modest specified time.

Additionally I find that most civilians substantially overestimate the amount of pushups they actually do as most of their pushups would be disqualified for lack of form. I've watched a number of young women, quite fit for their age, struggle to crank out 10 or 12 pushups using proper form.

"she's coached by the East German who juiced generations of Schwartzenegger-esque women sprinters, she's dropped seven seconds from her 800 time in recent months, she's built like a linebacker, and she's got extremely high testosterone."

As they say, correlation does not equal causation, but it does stand up and shout "HEY! LOOK OVER HERE!"

Maggie,

I was on an Army ROTC scholarship in college for nursing. There were different standards for physical fitness for me as a woman than for my male peers. I met them every time, but I never for a moment thought I could carry any of my male peers out of the line of fire if they were injured.

I recall being a hindrance on more than one challenge course because, not only couldn't I lift myself over an obstacle with brute strength, I was usually too short to be of any good. About the only thing I could compete equally with them on was marksmanship.

Incidentally, I lost my scholarship when a knee injury made my knee too unstable to run on without significant mechanical bracing. Kind of hard to sneak up on the enemy when you have to worry about your hinges squeaking.

To me, the issue is arriving at standards that actually will measure effectiveness in combat. If no women can meet those standards, so be it! (There are also questions about combat roles. I believe it is the Israeli army that uses female snipers, and I have also heard that small stature can be useful in certain roles on board ship. Snipers and navy combatants are perhaps unlikely to have to drag injured men around on their backs or engage in hand-to-hand combat with a male enemy. On the other hand, an argument could be made that any soldier needs to be able to do these things. On the third hand, I wonder whether every male soldier is able to carry an injured fellow soldier. On the fourth hand, perhaps they can.)

I was surprised to see no pull-ups in either my local police or army fitness standards. I agree that pull-ups are very difficult for women. That may be where strength differences between the sexes are greatest.

I firmly believe that push-ups, however, are well-within the ken of all women who put in some effort. I am quite sure I am using proper form, because I was taught, coached, and relentlessly critiqued by my father, a Marine Corps veteran. (I can do a proper salute, too.)

There are undeniable inherent limits to what women can achieve compared to men in terms of strength and speed. However, there is also the issue that most women don't make efforts to reach their potential in terms of upper body strength. Women (myself included) tend to focus more on cardiovascular fitness while giving upper-body strength short shrift.

Again -- my main point is that, for purposes of sport and physical pleasure, these differences are irrelevant. The fact that men have greater capacity for running and weight lifting doesn't mean that running and weight lifting makes you "mannish." I have outrun men, including military men and male athletes, all my life. That doesn't make me a mannish, either. It makes me a woman who put in the training to achieve a certain result. Because I am doing it in a woman's body, without chemical assistance, my running is, by definition, "womanly."

Maggie,

I am praying that in your pursuit of running and the achievements and accomplishments you have gleaned from it that you are ultimately doing it for God's glory and not your own.

Mary

> Let me get this straight; exercising for women

> is a plot to make us male?

> You really believe women shouldn't do sports?

Hello Karen,

Sorry, you haven’t quite got it straight, but no matter. There are hundreds of so-called sports. I think we were talking about running, mostly, and I never said women shouldn’t run. [I wouldn’t want my wife running like they do in those big competitions, though.] If she wants to run around for the health benefits of running, fine. But she doesn’t need to be “killing” anybody over it.

Since you brought it up, let’s look at the Olympics, which started in Greece in 776 B.C. The ancient competitions involved training for warfare: running events, a pentathlon (consisting of a jumping event, discus and javelin throws, a foot race and wrestling), boxing, wrestling, and equestrian events. Men only. Women never competed in the Olympics until 1900 in Paris, supposedly in tennis, sailing, croquet, golf, ballooning, and equestrian. I doubt they were dressed like many of today’s female athletes. [Gymnasium comes from the Greek “to exercise naked.”] Comparing the Olympian women of 1900 and athletic women of 2009, I’d be forced to say there has been a noticeable shift towards mannishness. But that has more to do with feminism than mere “exercizing.”

Since greater suceptibility to injuries have been mentioned, I though this quote interesting:

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics [Athens, 1896], said, “It is indecent that the spectators should be exposed to the risk of seeing the body of a woman being smashed before their very eyes. Besides, no matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organizm is not cut out to sustain certain shocks.”

>"I think feminism can be more fairly said to be about providing women (and men, too, for that matter) the opportunity for access to the full range of human experience. It has nothing to do with trying to ape men."

Maggie,

Feminism is evil. It has no good fruit. God did not intend that women have access to the "full range of human experience". No more did He intend for men to have such access. This is clearly seen in His commands concerning the subordination of women to men, slaves to masters, children to parents, and citizens to governments. Every subordinate is denied access to the particular experience of his authority. Aside from this there are physical realities that, by design, preclude each sex from enjoying the full experiences of the other. You cannot deny that feminism seeks to make women "ape" men. Your own words show that you believe that anything a man can and should do a woman can and should also do. You maintain that as she advances into a man's "range" of experience she should still be considered to be "womanly". Logically, this brings us to the conclusion that the dominant lesbian partner is as "womanly" as the recreational jogger.

The sins connected with feminism have destroyed our families, our churches and our culture. They have brought us rampant divorce, fornication, adulteries, abortions, poverty, violence, disease, and etc. A doping African woman using "male" hormones to enhance her performance is just one more casualty in the war. A war not between male and female but between fallen man and God.

Mary, Thank you! I do believe that, despite the arrogance of some of our more famous athletes, sport is for a humbling experience for most people.

Michael, Hmmm . . . Not sure when running (or any other sport) shifts to "mannishness." I think it only becomes "mannish" when a woman starts using chemical enhancements to stimulate the development of artificial male characteristics. Until she starts doing that, it isn't "mannish" because her body is simply responding naturally as a woman's body to the rigors of exercise.

It sounds like you are saying it is okay for women to exercise but not to be too competitive about it? I don't really see why that should be. Competition is fun and motivating and character-building and inspiring.

If we are worried about injuries, we should also get rid of all the masters' competitions and tell the elderly to stop being so active!

Maggie, most men of moderate fitness are able to take another man of similar size in a "fireman's carry" and carry them fairly easily.

For another (hilarious) demonstration of this principle, google "Wife carrying" or "Estonian Carry." Our friends in Finland came up with a contest where a man carries his wife (minimum weight 135 lbs.) over a course of approximately 300 yards with hurdles and water traps. The winner gets his wife's weight in beer.

So yes, men are more or less physically able to move some fairly significant burdens that women, by and large, are not able to carry.

>>So yes, men are more or less physically able to move some fairly significant burdens that women, by and large, are not able to carry.

With all due respect to those engaging in such a weighty discussion in which so much truth is being discovered by so many, let me throw in my two cents:

If the above sentence is anything other than self-parody or sarcasm, it's apparent we've become a nation of idiots.

And yes, yes, I do love you, Bike Bubba.

No matter what the case is, I still feel bad for her. They should have investigated this before the race.

> Our friends in Finland came up with a contest where a man carries his wife

A sport where the girls can't ape the boys -- hopefully!

> men are more or less physically able to move some fairly significant burdens

She ain't heavy, she's my better half.

It is catching on in the U.S., too -- the North American Wife Carrying Championship takes place on Saturday, October 10 at Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry, Maine. [Probably too late to begin training.] Maybe it will be an Olympic event someday!

Dear Maggie:

Yes, I was building toward something. You commented: "Like men, we are built to run."

My response: No, not actually. Women were created by God with a different design. I could spell it out but I think you get it.

Can women run? Sure. Can they benefit from it? Some of them can. Were they made to run? No.

Warmly, David

I figured that's what you were getting at, David! I disagree (that we weren't made to run and that only some women benefit from running), but I think I have probably said my piece ad nauseam. Either way, the floodgates have opened in the last 30-40 years such that women have taken to distance running with a vengeance.

If I were truly mischievious I would bring up the fact that women's boxing is to be an Olympoic sport in 2012!

> If I were truly mischievious I would bring up the fact that women's boxing is to be an Olympic sport in 2012!

But that wouldn't be mannish, or aping men, naturally. I suppose it is also motivating, character-building and inspiring to beat other women about the head and shoulders.

Reminds me of several news stories I've seen about female athletes getting concussions much more than men, and the terrible long-lasting effects from them.

Olympic wife carrying....just how would the homosexuals go about entering that...flipping a coin I suppose.

Thanks for the before bed chuckle. :)

Is is not ought.

>>If the above sentence is anything other than self-parody or sarcasm, it's apparent we've become a nation of idiots.>>

Well, we do have women in combat, women in firefighting roles, women jail guards for men, and most people aren't speaking up. And look who was elected as President.

:^)

>>women jail guards for men...

Sometime in the past couple of years, I was in jail visiting an inmate in a tiny room in the middle of the cell block. When the visit was over, a female guard was escorting me out and we passed one of the cells. She stopped and turned to face the inmate visible through the door (head to toe), and I followed her gaze.

There stood a grown man looking at us with some hostility and completely unclothed. As in stark naked.

Sadly, to me it was stark but to her it was obviously mundane. It was horrible, seeing that snapshot of the minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years of her life.

I asked her if she found it hard to work in such an environment and she said she did. I said I was sorry and left her there where I'm guessing she is, still.

Pity the woman, but fault you and me, men, who have allowed it, and continue to allow it each hour of each day around our nation. It's utterly despicable that we tolerate such a thing.

But don't ask me what to do about it. Maybe start by preaching and teaching and observing Biblical sexuality in our homes and churches and the businesses and classrooms under our authority?

That's one possibility, albeit a very unpopular one.

Sadly,

I'm young, well it doesn't see so much so more as I think I'm quickly approaching middle age. Why did women change so much in the 20th century. Our roles are different, the clothing left modest behind a long time ago, women have jobs only men should have, women are marrying women, women have children without ever meeting the baby's father... What happened?

Tim, that scenario is common. My sister-in-law used to work in a prison like that, and it was a daily occurence.

She suffers from manic depression now, due probably in part to the things she experienced there. Yes, we've lost our minds, it seems.

Michael,

Is it really that hard to believe that women might enjoy many traditionally male activities for their own sake? That it is not tied to the idea of being "like a man" so much as the intrinsic enjoyment and challenge of the activity?

As for women's greater risk of knee injuries or concussions etc, I just don't see the relevance of the comparison. If I want to determine whether to participate in a particular activity, I would look only at MY degree of risk and compare it to the benefit of the activity in order to determine whether it is a risk I am willing to take. That men may have lower risk is wholly irrelevant to the cost-benefit analysis I would make for myself.

Dear Maggie,

Wanting to walk the fine line between being a gentleman (and it's almost a definition of a gentleman, that he never inflicts pain), and warning day and night with tears (which is most certainly not gentlemanly), I believe I should say publicly that my daughters are nothing like you, and that this truth makes my heart skip--no leap--with joy!

They love being daughters, sisters, mothers--in short, women--and they don't spend their days spitting in the eyes of men who think that's good. They're not brash. Has anyone else noticed how that word's dead, now? They're not pushy broads. They don't usually have a chip on their shoulders, and if they do occasionally, it's got nothing to do with wishing to be a man.

If you despise them thinking they must wear denim skirts and have hair halfway down their backsides, I understand. Stereotypes are useful to ideologues.

I hope one day you'll join them, and the world will live as one...

The very proud, but even more grateful father of Heather and Heidi and Michal and Hannah; and the loving and admiring husband of Mary Lee, who ain't gotta work on Maggie's farm no more...

Tim,

I appreciate your reluctance to inflict pain and share the same reluctance. Therefore, I am happy to reassure you that (a) I am only puzzled by your words, not pained; and (b) I have never harbored any thoughts, feelings, or stereotypes about your family members or their wardrobes one way or the other.

I would also appreciate not being stereotyped.

With that said, I sense that I have overstayed my welcome here and will therefore sign off.

Dear Maggie,

And yet what you should be doing is not doing a cost-benefit analysis, but rather looking to the Scriptures and asking whether this activity honors God and speaks truth about creation or lies. Women in combat for example lies about the very order of creation and lies about the gospel. Ephesians 5 tells us that men represent Christ and women represent the church. Christ laid down His life for His bride; He didn't ask the church to fight and die for Him while He hid in the synagogue and taught. When we send our women to fight for us as men, we lie about the very nature of the gospel.

What activities or events do men and women do that lie about the creation order of men and women and how God created men and women. I get a kick out of the typical evangelical desire to never offend with our words but be content to preach with your life and wait until someone asks you what is so different about you then turning around and doing everything just like the world to be sure that no one ever notices a difference. Is women boxing lying about the nature of women as created by God. I would submit that it is, whether or not it is done competitively or not. Is running? Doubtful when done for recreation. However, if it turns women away from the natural use of their bodies, it can be.

I would say the same about a man being the primary caregiver to young children. Is there anything inherently wrong with this? Eeeeyyhh. Maybe not. But I wouldn't grant that to you without some serious and significant conversation. In most cases it will be lying about the order of creation and the nature of man who was created to provide for and sacrifice himself for his wife and his family.

You can extrapolate from there I am certain. Let the attacks on my misogyny begin...

> Is it really that hard to believe that women might enjoy many traditionally male activities for their own sake?

Like drinking? The media's been really highlighting the alarming rise of drunk driving by women. I could say something about the facts that women are not able to hold their 'likker' as well as men, but I'd expect you to object.

> That it is not tied to the idea of being "like a man" so much as the intrinsic enjoyment and challenge of the activity?

Whatever. It would be nice if you could just acknowledge that there has been a great blurring of any distinctions between the sexes in the last 50 years, and it hasn't been because men have taken up knitting. It is an inescapable truth. Ask your local tattoo artist.

Thanks for the discussion.

> She suffers from manic depression now, due probably in part to the things she experienced there.

Yes, but take into consideration what a wreck she'd have been under patriarchy, marooned at home with a bunch of rug rats, baking cookies, cleaning messes, and other mindless drudgery. How much better to be achieving one's full potential -- doing meaningful, rewarding work.

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