While a definite precursor for manhood, the ability to do multiple pull-ups has never been a coveted skill for women. Interestingly, in occupations that require athleticism as a prerequisite, women still display a vast discrepancy in upper-body strength to that of their male counterparts. In January 2014, while only 1% of male recruits couldn’t do more than two consecutive pull-ups, 55% of female recruits walked away from the Marine Corp’s “three-pull-up test” as failures.
However, according to physiology, the female and male bodies are pretty similar in terms of muscular structure, and the muscle fibers of a male are completely equal to those of a female. This puts a lid on the argument that women aren’t built to be as strong as men, but still lends the question: why the vast discrepancy?
Scientists and scholars believe it has much more to do with what our culture desires and idealizes in the male and female forms. For example, in general, men are considered more attractive when they look muscular, big, and strong, while femininity pushes women to remain small, dainty, and petite. Even the changing standards of the female form from a skinny minnie to a more voluptuous, curvaceous creature still don’t push females to pump near the amounts of iron that men strive to lift in the gym.
Further, these social norms start pretty early with young boys more likely to be encouraged to run, play, and physically maneuver their bodies around the neighborhood, while girls are encouraged to have tea parties with barbie and play house in the living room. Who knows what might happen if girls are pushed to develop their strength to the same degree that boys are, but it’d probably be pretty awesome to find out. In lieu of this suggested science experiment, the next time you see a little girl tying on her apron to bake some plastic muffins, you might consider asking her to drop and give you 50. Know more.