Friday, June 17, 2016
Learning! We still know very little about women's bodies
Up until recently (and still today), researchers studying exercise and athletic performance have avoided including women in their studies, because they didn't know how to account for the variable of our menstrual cycles. Nobody knew how much it affected our physical performance, if at all, and so instead of figuring it out, they opted to just exclude women from these studies and hope that our bodies work the same as men's.
A recent article in British Journal of Sports Medicine has come out highlighting the fact that, not only are women underrepresented (and our periods ignored) in studies of exercise and fitness, but medical research itself still has mainly male subjects: “Evidence suggests that women are almost twice more likely to have an adverse reaction to a drug than their male counterparts, and 80% of drugs withdrawn from the market are due to unacceptable side effects in women."
Add to that the fact that women have been discouraged from participating in sports (and medical research) because they will damage our delicate bodies, or (usually more importantly) an unborn fetus we may or may not have now or one day in the future, and we just don't know that much about how women's and men's bodies differ.
Listen, I love to subscribe to the "we are all human" philosophy more than anyone, and if anyone wants to avoid stereotyping genders based on things like hormones, it's me. But for pete's sake! This is medicine we're talking about, and I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure that the differences in hormones between us ladies and our male counterparts (and within our bodies throughout the month) are going to impact things like how drugs work and our physical capabilities.
Maybe we need to start framing this all in terms of sex and fashion, since the sex and fashion-related industries have reams of data on women's bodies: their various shapes and sizes and the different ways you can dress those shapes and sizes to accentuate or hide them, for example.
Oh goodness. I just realized that the best solution I've been able to think of is making medical research on women's bodies sexy. Ohhhh no. What have I done?
Source: PS Mag