Men Are Different From Women, Women From Men

By Philip Carl Salzman
Philip Carl Salzman
Philip Carl Salzman
Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Past President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
January 4, 2022Updated: January 10, 2022


It’s well established in biology and psychology, and fully substantiated with empirical evidence, that, on average, men are different from women, and women from men.

Genetically, males have XY and females XX chromosomes. Physically, post-adolescence males are taller, heavier, stronger, and faster than women, thanks to the male’s low fat-muscle ratio, heavier skeleton, and larger heart and lungs. In reproduction, men make a brief contribution of providing seed, while women carry the child during gestation, give birth, and provide nutrition during breastfeeding. Neurologically, male brains tend to prioritize one hemisphere at a time, while female brains tend to function using both hemispheres together. Psychologically, males are stronger in estimating and negotiating spatial-temporal relations, while females are stronger in verbal capabilities.

Males are more oriented to the physical world, while females are more oriented to the social world. Males are more task-oriented, while females are more family-oriented. In some activities, such as mathematics, males are more prominent at the extreme ends of the distribution, the capable and incapable tails.

These hardwired differences between males and females show up early in the interests, behavior, and temperaments of boys and girls. According to Jonathan Gottschall in “The Storytelling Animal”:

“There are reliable sex differences in how boys and girls play that have been found around the world. Dozens of studies across five decades and a multitude of cultures have found [that] … : boys and girls spontaneously segregate themselves by sex; boys engage in much more rough-and-tumble play; fantasy play is more frequent in girls, more sophisticated, and more focused on pretend parenting; boys are generally more aggressive and less nurturing than girls, with the differences being present and measurable by the seventeenth month of life. The psychologists Dorothy and Jerome Singer sum up this research: “Most of the time we see clear-cut differences in the way children play. Generally, boys are more vigorous in their activities, choosing games of adventure, daring, and conflict, while girls tend to choose games that foster nurturance and affiliation.”

There’s probably no more inane and counterproductive sentiment about sex than “why couldn’t a man be more like a woman” and “why couldn’t a woman be more like a man.” Facing reality and appreciating men and women for who they are, for their particular characteristics and strengths, is the only sound basis for relations between the sexes and for mutual respect in society. Understanding the differences between men and women allows reasonable expectations and greater appreciation.

In contrast with the understandings of science, activists advance contrary assertions about race, gender, and sexuality, such as masculinity is toxic, systemic racism is everywhere, looting isn’t violence but silence is, the future is female, whiteness is evil, racial discrimination is social justice, and so on. As well, claims directly about sex include sex is not binary but a continuum, transwomen are women, there are dozens of different sexes, transwomen athletes are no different from biologically female athletes, men can menstruate and have babies, and a child can be any sex they want to be (or can be convinced to be).

The idea behind these innovative claims about sexuality is “identity.” The claim is that you are whatever you identify as. But it turns out that the claim is false in many arenas. If you claim to be a police officer, a lawyer, or a doctor, and you haven’t formally qualified for the role, you’re committing a felony, and are likely to be imprisoned if you’re caught. If you identify as a black Republican, your identity is denied, as you can no longer be considered black if you’re a Republican, pointed out by no less of an authority than then-candidate now-President Joe Biden. Identifying as a different age than that on your birth certificate and wanting to officially change your age has been rejected by courts. Identifying as black, Hispanic, or Native Indian while having white parentage has been rejected by those reference communities, as Rachel Dolezal, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Canadian Carrie Bourassa found out.

Only in the case of sex is one allowed to claim being a sex other than one’s actual biological body. More than that, for now under the law in the United States and Canada, everyone else is compelled to accept you for whatever you claim you are, and to call you whatever name and pronouns you demand to be called. So a fully unaltered biological male claiming to be a woman must, by law, be accepted as a women. Thus, fully unaltered biological male transwomen must also be admitted into what were previously women’s spaces: toilet facilities, locker rooms, shelters, and prisons. And, as we have seen, fully unaltered biological male transwomen have been allowed to compete in sports against female athletes.

The destruction of women’s sports by biologically male trans athletes is increasingly becoming a scandal. Many transwomen athletes, such as the swimmer Lea Thomas, who had competed previously with men, are breaking women’s athletic records by large amounts, and depriving female athletes of their records and of scholarship opportunities. This attack on women is shameful, and the athletic associations that tolerate it are abdicating their responsibility.

The indulgence of trans individuals is due to our celebration of “marginalized” minorities as worthy “victims” suffering from oppression. Certainly, there’s legitimate widespread sympathy for individuals with mental health issues, such as gender dysphoria, the sense that one inhabits the wrong kind of body. (Other motivations for gender transition included homosexual desire to be the opposite sex of the sex one craves, and sexual gratification from becoming the sex that one desires.) That people feel the need to take on the attributes of the opposite sex as a way of coping with their discomfort is something that should be tolerated, although not celebrated.

The exception is children, who increasingly are pushed into immediate physical transition with little consultation, and into the spaces of the opposite sex, by irresponsible teachers and doctors. Of course, the transition clinics make a fortune from providing puberty-blocking and opposite-sex hormones, and from plastic surgery to imitate the organs of the opposite sex. It’s well established that most children who express dysphoria will grow out of it by adolescence, but the trans activists and medical clinics demand immediate “affirmation” and transition, even in small children.

These corrupt school and clinic officials should be in jail, not in charge of children.

The situation of children has been exacerbated by “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” or social dysphoria, in which groups of girls influence one another to all enter into transition. Currently, the most common patients of transition procedures are young girls. Parents are taken by surprise and left in the dark. Transition clinics rake in the money. “Watch and wait,” to give children the chance to grow out of their dysphoria, which most would do, is denounced as “transphobic” by trans activists.

No one appears to be looking out for the interests of the children. That our medical and government officials stand on the sidelines and cheer, threatening anyone, such as parents, who dares to interfere, is a sign of deep corruption in our public culture.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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