Why is it that women are called the weaker sex? At the risk of belaboring a point which “political correctness” has rendered moot, I want to explore the unique strength of the women I know and who inspired this reflection.

Weak is defined by dictionary.com in ten parts that are relevant to this discussion:

  1. Lacking physical strength, energy, or vigor; feeble.
  2. Likely to fail under pressure, stress, or strain; lacking resistance: a weak link in a chain.
  3. Lacking firmness of character or strength of will.
  4. Lacking the proper strength or amount of ingredients: weak coffee.
  5. Lacking the ability to function normally or fully: a weak heart.
  6. Lacking aptitude or skill: a weak student; weak in math.
  7. Lacking or resulting from a lack of intelligence.
  8. Lacking persuasiveness; unconvincing: a weak argument.
  9. Lacking authority or the power to govern.
  10. Lacking potency or intensity: weak sunlight.

As I read through this exhaustive list that explains just what lacks in something weak, I cannot think of a single woman I know who fits the bill. Sure, I might not be as strong as my husband (1), but I don’t think I lack aptitude or skill (6). And I can go on and on, not just from a first-person point of view, but also in analyzing the women in my life who are my inspiration and models.

That said, I have a suspicion that the root of this phrase lies in a misunderstanding between the sexes. The fault here does not lie entirely with the males either; while they may not understand the strength of the women around them, perhaps the fault with women is that we have not helped them to see it.