MYTH: Girls become shorter as adults because young girls get less food because of the patriarchal structures in society which inadvertently makes mothers give their daughters less food than their sons.
FACT: The length of humans are mostly determined by genes and biology. However severe malnutrition during childhood can cause lower lengths, but it is not the reason for gender differences in length.
Girls shorter due to less food according to Feminist myth
The prominent feminist myth about gender differences in length is both amusing and terrifying at the same time. Again and again, this discussion comes up in feminist forums.
The general idea is that the boys are fed more food due to some “invisible hand” (the patriarchal power structures in society with feminist terminology) forcing mothers to unconsciously give more food to their sons rather than their daughters.
The feminists are not completely out in the blue with this one. If you snatch a line from an abstract of a serious scientific paper you can end up with this conclusion:
…”under gender hierarchical regimes found in all cultures, men are allocated the best food“.
Ok, men don’t get more food but they get better food. That is one theory which feminists could have taken their myth and twisted it from. The actual abstract (pre-publication review version) from the renowned science paper Nature reads like this and does not entirely prove feminist wrong:
- “There are large variations of size among humans but in all populations, men are larger on average than women. For most biologists this fact can be easily explained by the same processes that explain the size dimorphism in large mammals in general and in apes in particular. Due to fights between males for the possession of females, sexual selection has favoured bigger males. Indeed, this factor certainly explains why males are selected for being large but lets aside the question of selection on the female side. Actually, it has been shown that larger females are also favoured by natural selection. This is particularly relevant for women because their probability of dying when giving birth is then reduced. In this paper, the common view that size dimorphism in humans results from the fact that the advantage of being big is stronger for men than for women is challenged by another hypothesis, namely that the difference results from a difference of cost rather than from a difference of benefits. The cost of being big would be higher in women simply because, under gender hierarchical regimes found in all cultures, men are allocated the best food. The interaction between evolutionary forces and cultural practices could then lead to this disadaptive situation.”
Biology and genes
If you ignore biology and genes you need to explain the differences between women and men with something else. A religion, spirits, trolls, gods or as always for the feminist movement -the patriarchal power structures.
For someone that has seen a couple of nature programs on TV or walked in the wild, it is quite apparent that there are a general biological size and gender difference between males and females in many species, especially apes. Exceptions do exist where the “woman” is bigger, stronger or longer than the male counterpart.
But the general rule is the males are bigger than females. This also applies to humans no matter how hard the feminists like to believe there is another explanation victimising the females in human society. Let me quote a brilliant piece of text from Psychology Today:
“The dramatic physical and behavioral differences between men and women, including strength and size, pubertal timing, consistent patterns around the world of hunting versus gathering and childrearing, as well as pervasive differences in risk-taking, mortality, and reproductive requirements, attest to the likelihood that evolution sculpted adaptations into men and women that make us somewhat different creatures. Psychologically, this sculpting by evolution has left men and women with particular approaches to life and love built upon a common core of human nature.
Ironically, just as the evidence is mounting that psychological sex differences are real, denial of differences has become rampant. Attempts at respectful and productive conversations about biological sex differences often end with name-calling (genetic determinist!) or outright cancellation of events—not to mention the very public firing of a Google software engineer for writing a memo on the topic.”
Males are bigger than females and men are taller than women primarily because of the genetic code telling men to grow taller. It is not due to a difference in the quality or amount of food young girls get, definitely not in our modern western society. Even if some countries have made distinctions when it comes to VAT treatment depending on the quality of the food like Germany did until 2013, there is little to no evidence that the quality of the food would impact which gender would receive the higher quality food. Men are simply hardcoded to get taller than females and that is just the way it is.
BUT.. the explanation as to Why women are shorter than men is more complicated and different theories exist as to why nature and evolution have written the genetic code for humans in this way that males grow bigger and taller.