Many people have asked themselves: why do women live longer than men? Women do indeed live six or seven years longer than men on average, which is a huge difference. All research questions related to gender are controversial, and the research about the differences between men and women has often been painfully biased and flawed. It’s difficult to find the true answer to this question. However, there are certain possible answers that have some support in the research.
Going to the Doctor
Statistically speaking, women are more likely to go to the doctor than men, even when there’s a very serious medical problem involved. This is largely due to the fact that society conditions men to feel that they should never be vulnerable, and that it is important for them to always avoid asking for help. Being sick is the ultimate vulnerability. Doctors are very powerful relative to their patients. Lots of men are going to have problems with this situation.
Men are often conditioned to feel omnipotent in this culture. They’re told that as long as they’re masculine enough, nothing bad is going to happen to them. This can give lots of men a false sense of self-confidence, even when it comes to medical problems that are truly beyond everyone’s control.
Women, on the other hand, tend to be conditioned to constantly feel as if there is something wrong with them, medically or otherwise. The idea of going to the doctor in order to address real or imagined problems is right in line with the cultural expectations of women everywhere. Women might go in to get unrelated problems checked out, at which point they will end up getting genuine problems addressed instead.
Expectations and Aging
There is a widespread cultural myth that men age better than women. If by ‘aging’ people mean ‘the accumulation of physical and cellular damage over time,’ this is certainly not the case. The fact that women live longer than men on average is more than enough to completely dispel this myth. However, this myth persists nonetheless, to the point where people seem to ignore all of the evidence to the contrary.
This myth has had an interestingly ironic effect. Since women are more preoccupied with aging than men, even from a very early age, they also take more steps to prolong their youth or to reduce the effects of aging. Women will disproportionately avoid the sun to keep their skin looking young. Men who do the same thing are often mocked for being less than masculine.
Similarly, women will eat diets that supposedly prolong youth and they will adopt other lifestyle choices that will improve their chances of staying young and healthy for longer. Men are often looking after themselves in the gym and getting discounts for their whey protein at Protein Promo. Binge drinking is regarded as masculine, and some women will avoid it specifically because of its negative health consequences, including its effects on the aging process. Essentially, anti-aging lifestyle choices have become seen as feminine today. It isn’t surprising that some of them work, and that the group of people that embraces them faster is going to get the results.
Stress has a huge effect on the aging process. People who have less stressful lives are going to live longer than the people who have more stressful lives. The question of whether men or women will experience less stress on average is a very real and complicated one. However, women do have a lot of advantages when it comes to stress management and longevity.
For one thing, many of the predominantly female professions are less stressful. The pressure cooker jobs that require people to spend most of their lives working are disproportionately taken by men. While this is certainly a scandal and feminists have been working to change this for a long time, the fact that the most stressful professions are male-dominated still will affect the longevity statistics.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is very stressful. However, women are disproportionately working outside of the home these days, and they’re usually working in jobs that will give them a feeling of stability and security. Lots of women today are child-free, and they’re going to be working less stressful jobs than child-free men in many cases. This will improve their longevity in more ways than one.
However, ultimately, people should look at the gender roles for men and women when it comes to stress management. All jobs are stressful to a certain extent. Nursing, which has been a female-dominated profession for a while, is one of the most stressful jobs imaginable. The things that people do off of work matter a lot.
Relaxing pastimes tend to be associated with women. Knitting, sewing, and other therapeutic hobbies are seen as feminine. Going to the spa is seen as a woman’s activity. Taking a hot bath, having a cup of tea, or going outside for a nice walk is seen as feminine in many cultures. Even reading a book or going to therapy is widely seen as disproportionately feminine. The men who do these things will get ridiculed by other men, and only some men are going to be able to resist all of that. These men are not going to constitute the majority.
There are very few socially acceptable release valves for men in this culture. Men need to show that they’re full of rage at all times to some people in order to perform their masculinity. This is going to make them feel more stressed out all the time. It is often not socially acceptable for men to vent their feelings, to cry, or to do anything else that is genuinely going to relieve stress. The stress of having to perform their masculinity all the time is a source of stress in its own right.
The gender role for men today seems to be literally killing them. Fortunately, society is starting to turn around and embrace the idea that it’s good for men to be sensitive and expressive and take on characteristics that seem to be female-dominated. As this starts to happen, the statistics should level themselves out, allowing men to live longer lives.