Construction of masculinity

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Men and women all over the world have clearly defined roles to play in the society. The roles that men have inherited for generations have always reduced their lifespans by a few years than their female counterparts. Men naturally assume the role of provider and protector of the family which is more associated with health risks and dangers.

Women are more inclined to child rearing respnsibilities and are therefore not exposed to many dangers. The argument set forth by Will H. Courtnenay is that men will ignore health-related behaviors and beliefs that they perceive as feminine and instead adopt life threatening lifestyles that put their lives at risks since these lifestyles are more associated with masculinity. I believe this notion is untrue because the author used a biased feminist view which does not bring out the true picture.

It is true that men enjoy lifestyles that end up reducing their lifespans not because they are associated with masculinity, but simply because it is ingrained into their genes. The genetic makeup of men leads to higher testosterone levels in their bodies than in the females. Testosterone is the chemical compound that gives men the urge to partake in risky behaviors. It is worth noting that men are more likely to die than women across all age groups.

However, at the onset of puberty up to around 25 years, the chances of boys dying is three times more than girls. This is due to testosterone. Prior to puberty, boys and girls are almost entirely identical and therefore testosterone brings out the masculine features in men while estrogen defines girls. The main the reason why girls are more cautious is because of very low testosterone levels in their bodies. There are instances where girls have high testosterone levels in their bodies. These girls behave like boys and have physical advantage over other girls. These girls are more likely to live reckless lives due to the male chemicals and not because they do not want to be associated with feminity.

Testosterone is linked to aggressive behavior and competiveness. This explains why men are more likely to have motor accidents and physical fights than women. Furthermore, this chemical has been scientifically linked to increase in LDL, a toxic cholesterole while reducing HDL, which is an essential protein in the body. This increases chances of heart failure. Estrogen on the other hand is an antioxidant that neutralizes toxic chemicals called oxygen radicals. This reduces chances of heart related diseases. Testosterone is also responsible for high sexual behavior and drug abuse which are also associated by various diseases like STDs and HIV/AIDS.

It may also be a case of survival for the fittest theory advanced by Darwin. Men may not be genetically superior to women as we have been made to believe. It is a fact that all female species outlive their male counterparts. For instance, female macaques live eight years longer than the male macaques while male sperm whales are outlived by the females by 30 years on average. Women have always outlived men in most nations on earth for generations. However, men live longer in countries where there is female discrimination like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan where wife battery, bride-burning and female infanticide are practised.

I believe the genetic make up and hormonal differences between men and women have a lot to do with their lifespans. There are men who have adopted lifestyles that Courtenay considers feminine but still die young while there are men who live reckless lives, but outlive females. It all boils down to the genetic make up. Women have better genes that are more resistant to harsh conditions than men.

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