(ThyBlackMan.com) We have seen the images floating through our media before. A woman’s physical superiority over any given man to demonstrate the perception of a woman’s physical dominance (if only they are determined or skilled enough). This exhibition is typically promoted in our media to enforce themes of women’s empowerment, strength, courage, power, and independence from and against males; and sometimes to symbolically represent the defeat over an established patriarchal hierarchy.
Examples of “women kicking men’s butts” can be seen in a number of movies where women are the protagonists mired in a male-centered system who benefit from malfeasance and corruption. Other times, this dynamic is positioned where the woman is the token in a predominately male group of fighters or mercenaries. From ‘Terminator’ with Linda Hamilton to ‘Aliens’ with Sigourney Weaver to ‘The Protégé’ with Maggie Q, the feminist fantasy of women outpunching men is easy to find in today’s media-dense society such as in When Average People Challenge Pro Female Fighters which has played out to 4.4 million videos on YouTube. At issue is whether these neo-tropes highlighting the benefits derived from unconventional sexual dimorphism create a false sense of physical supremacy.
Social media has been trending with women trying to take on men as if this was a viable example of conflict resolution. A few months back, Spirit Airlines employee gets into fight with traveler at DFW Airport showed a Spirit Airlines passenger slapping a Spirit Airlines employee in the face during an argument at the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Airport. After the employee became enraged and tackled the woman and then hit her just before a group of men stepped in to prevent a further encounter between the two.
A string of videos in “When Men Actually Fight Back| Men vs Women in Fights,” displays what happens in mismatched setups where a woman is expected to perform as a man in hand-to-hand combat. The narrator here seems to enthusiastically speak about the failed attempts of women trying to overpower men. But despite the implied mockery, the content creator makes the point that in real-life situations, women’s aggression to physically prevail over a male combatant rarely goes the way they had predicted.
In a YouTube podcast called “Delusional Women THINK They CAN Fight A Man?! HEATED DEBATE!,” the hosts, Walter Weekes and Myron Gaines otherwise known as “Fresh and Fit,” sparked a raging debate with two of their guests “Maddie Moon” and “Egypt the Goddess” over whether or not Moon could go a “round” with Gaines. The women were convinced that they could fight men and dispatch with them without much effort. The conversation moved into a discussion as to whether it was advisable for women to physically engage with men whether in self-defense or as an act of aggression during a disagreement.
Gaines implied that societal civility has lulled some women into a sense of security on a level where they feel that they can assault a man amid a tense standoff without consequence. Gaines may have a point here. A few of the women on the panel attempted to equivocate that taking self-defense, going to the gym, or simply being mentally confident could put them on equal ground when physically engaging with men.
The conversation segued into women’s experiences with domestic violence. This raised another discussion about whether a woman should arm herself or run rather trying to stand toe-to-toe with a man. Gaines conceded such a scenario is different. Protecting one’s own life is not the same as trying to resolve a heated argument with any form of violence, which no woman or man should tolerate. In one of the stories that a woman told about an argument that she had and later attempted to match strength with a man, she lost her tooth in the confrontation. The conclusion the panelists made was that emotional men could be exceptionally dangerous to society, deleterious to a combative woman, and that women should not try to match men physically for their own safety.
Gaines himself became the victim of an assault during one of his podcasts in 2021 when a woman slapped him repeatedly after he wanted her to leave his panel of guests. Gaines never raised his hand despite threatening to physically remove her from the property. Security and police were later called to attend to that incident. Since then, the topic of women’s aggression towards men with the thought that they could equally challenge a man in a fight has been a recurring topic. Many times, it has served as a cautionary topic for women that they should avoid confrontations with men at all costs especially if that man is emotionally wrapped up in the moment.
Without delving deep into the science, researchers have indicated that historically and physiologically, men have been built stronger by design for myriad reasons. Koichi Hashikawa, Yoshiko Hashikawa, Julieta Lischinsky, and Dayu Lin write in The Neural Mechanisms of Sexually Dimorphic Aggressive Behaviors that “Aggression is a fundamental social behavior that is essential for competing for resources and protecting oneself and families in both males and females. As a result of natural selection, aggression is often displayed differentially between the sexes, typically at a higher level in males than females.”
“Never underestimate the power of a woman” was a slogan created by an advertising agency to promote Ladies’ Home Journal in 1941. The phrase boosted magazine sales and simultaneously revealed women’s economic power as they increased their presence in the job market and ergo their financial independence and capabilities. The power of a woman concept has been applied to myriad iterations through the generations including their physical strength. But as we witness the successes of marketing and gender inclusion, it helps sell products and goods because it encapsulates what was then an emerging reality: women are economic powerhouses.
The same phrase has been used to emphasize a woman’s physicality such as in the YouTube clip “Female Fighters Beating Up Guys” where the narrator opens up a montage of women MMA fighters besting men saying: “you should never ever underestimate the power of a driven female.” Although the edited clips of women smashing men up in a ring may be entertaining for some to watch, the reality of sexual dimorphism where human genders exhibit different corporeal characteristics also includes physical strength and power. Very often, the average physical strength of a man is greater than the average physical strength of women. And that, physical strength is far different in a hand-to hand confrontation than economic strength.
Violence as an answer for conflict resolution is never a good idea. Even worse, men and women fighting each other is never a good idea. At times, such matchups could be curious exhibitions of inter-gender combat. But whereas most men have been conditioned and raised not to physically assault a woman, its doubtful that these values in reverse are rarely emphasized. In fact, in Hollywood and media it often seems like when women try to take on a man in a fight it is glamorized and internally applauded. But in the real world or as the young people say “IRL,” when a man decides to clap back, it could lead to a disproportionately devastating injury for a woman.
Staff Writer; Dr. Blackademic
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