Alternative world: Women are 30% physically stronger than men but everything else remains unchanged

Suppose for a moment that instead of men being 30% physically stronger than women on average, it were reversed - women were 30% stronger and also 2-3 inches taller on average than men.

But everything else remains unchanged. Women menstruate, pregnancy/childbirth, clothing and attire and makeup, etc. is largely the same. Everything else remains the same. The brains and hormones are unchanged (but let’s say estrogen just causes bigger muscles but not necessarily more aggression).

The main difference is now that women would have a lot less to fear from men in terms of stalking/harassment/assault. Women would probably also do most of the manual-labor blue-collar jobs. Women’s sports would probably also be a lot more popular than male sports. Would men still be seen as the more military-suitable gender due to male thinking, especially if a lot of war is fought via technology rather than hand-to-hand? What do men do in such a society, and what else changes?

Is this an overnight change or should we assume the whole of human history has been like this?

Assuming the second, refer to spotted hyenas.

Not exactly your premise, but…

Thomas Berger’s Regiment of Women

“Twenty‐nine‐year‐old Georgie Cornell, the hero of Thomas Berger’s new novel, , was born in 2096 and lives in New York City. The doorwoman of Georgie’s apartment house, “in the jungle of the East 70’s,” womans the front‐door anti‐pollution airlock with a shotgun. Georgie’s psychiatrist, Dr. Prine, wears a selfadhesive nylon beard and has been treating Georgie for frigidity with a dildo, while she tells him his complaint that it hurts is merely a “defense”—as Dr. Daisy Rudin explained so well in her new book on the superiority of the anal orgasm, recently published by the giant firm where Georgie works as a secretary, unsuccessfully avoiding the attempts of his bald‐headed boss, Ida Hind, to steal glances into Georgie’s blouse at his newly siliconed breasts."

Good read from 1973.

I would like to live in that world.

I think it doesn’t make much difference outside of women getting more heavy labor tasks. Physical strength doesn’t control who is in power or who gets to exploit whom; organization and the willingness to prey on others does. It’s not like RL human society runs on “strongest person is in charge” in the first place after all; usually the big strong guys are the enforcers for the ones who are in charge. So you’d replace male thugs with female ones in the hierarchy but not much else.

Like in bonobos; female bonobos aren’t abused like their common chimpanzee counterparts are, because they form large alliances and a male that tries it gets ganged up on and stomped. Not because bonobo females are bigger. If women are bigger but men are still more organized then the men will still be the ones who run things.

“Homo homini lupus est” is gender-neutral

Maybe cultures when women are responsible for most work and most income while men sponge off them would be even more common than they are now.

So basically, eagles.

Doubtful. It’s not at all clear that male sports’ greater viewership is due mainly to objective factors like size and speed differentials. It may be to a large extent just ingrained societal sexism, reinforcing the message that things women do are innately less worthwhile and attention-worthy, because they’re women, and the “size/strength/speed” arguments are mostly after-the-fact rationalization.

Consider, for example, that men’s college sports are immensely popular entertainment, although college athletes are on average distinctly inferior to pro athletes in terms of their physical abilities and play quality. And many women’s sports have massively increased in popularity in recent years, although there have been no correspondingly large changes in objective factors like women’s average size or strength.

Clearly, people are not basing their sports viewership decisions solely on a desire to watch the biggest, fastest, strongest athletes performing at a physical level that smaller, slower, weaker athletes can’t achieve.

So I’m not convinced that women being bigger and stronger than men on average would necessarily lead viewers to value women’s sports more than men’s sports. I think the popularity of women’s sports might end up having a lot more to do with the social status of women than with their physical abilities.

I might argue the point, but you’d kick my ass.

No, I’d say that men’s sports are a sublimation, a substitute for tribal warfare.

Only in self defense.

It’s hard to say because realistically, if women were naturally stronger than men it’s likely that humans would admire strength and “big muscle” games & tasks more in women than they do in real life. That’s how it tends to work, biologically; if possessing greater strength was a gender-related feature of women, then physically strong women would be considered more attractive and showing it off in sports would have more audience appeal to both genders. Even in a patriarchal society.

Most likely the more patriarchal a society was, the more physical strength would be looked down upon and considered shameful and “womanly”.

The question is impossible to answer. If we were sexually dimorphic in that manner, we would be a completly different species. Who knows what our behavior would be like?

For instance, you ask if woman’s sports would be more popular than men’s. How do you know if there would be sports at all?

Would being less strong imply less testosterone, and wouldn’t that mean less general aggression? If men were just weaker, but still as aggressive, I think the ones who use their physical strength now to oppress women would just find ways of bridging the strength gap. Never underestimate the ingenuity of complete a-holes.

I read that back in High School. Dear God, what a worried defensive person, this Thomas Berger.

Does the novel explain just how womens’ superiority is maintained in that fictional world?

This is a really interesting and salient point IMO. I used to love watching bike racing and unless men and women were in the same race I wouldn’t notice an obvious speed differential. So, in separate gender-specific races, both groups will appear to be going fast and - this is the crux of a bike race IMHO - the same tactics would be executed throughout both races.

I am not a sports watcher but, in isolation, would not a women’s hockey or football game be just as interesting as a men’s (assuming similar skill levels)?

Right. For our species, at least, the hunter / gatherer roles were directly linked to strength and who was the primary caregiver for children. Would women become the hunters and men the caregivers after the kids are born? Who hunts while she’s pregnant? We know that natural aggression can be an evolutionary advantage, but size and strength perhaps more so.

This difference places us on such a different evolutionary path, it’s difficult to even speculate, other than to conclude that almost everything would be different.

Within each stratum (high school, college, professional, etc.), men’s athletics are (almost) universally more popular. Just IMO, this is based on the belief that the faster, stronger athletes are necessarily worthier of attention (I happen to disagree). I think that’s the right way to look at it in evaluating the impact of physical strength on a sport’s popularity.

IOW, not everyone gravitates to the sport level that objectively has the superior athletes, but within each level most people sure do. With some exceptions, if a given state is crazy for a certain university’s team, it is very likely to be the men’s team.