And I always want to point out here: women, on average, possess more lower-body strength, while men, on average, possess more upper-body strength. There’s a lot of overlap and it isn’t always individually applicable, but that’s the generalization, averaging across the population.
But we SOCIALLY value upper-body strength, and upper-body muscles. So we construct women as weaker, because we refuse to measure them on the body parts where they may be stronger, we devalue those.
Lifting is mostly done with the legs. So women may be as good or better at heavy lifting as men. But we socially construct lifting as having to do with large, muscular arms and chests. You don’t really need powerful arms and chests to lift—you need powerful thighs, otherwise you’re gonna throw your back out. We actually lie about what makes a person strong and capable to favor men.
Push-up and pull-ups are upper-body strength exercises. So they’re socially valued. The military doesn’t tell you to do 20 squats as penance. No one is fucking impressed by all the squats you can do. Squats just sound stupid, hah, squats. We laugh at them because women might be better at them than men, on average. They’re worthless.
Sarah Kathleen Peck offers some advice on answering the dreaded “So, what do you do?” question.
Also see Philippa Perry on how revising that inner storytelling keeps us sane and Timothy Wilson on why it’s the root of psychological change.