“Scientists reveal a new difference between males and females.”
Take it for face value, and it sounds like the making of a terrible joke.
And then it gets worse:
“According to a new study, this difference may play a key role in how females size up males as potential mates.”
Before you start to get wild ideas, I assure you that this study is not what you think it is.
The difference, in actuality, concerns energy expenditure.
Compared to females, males have much greater variability in the energy they burn at rest or on the move.
The Truth about “Females” and “Males”
In this review, the terms “females” and “males” will be used because they’re familiar to people — and make it easier for some to follow the study findings.
But for accuracy, it’s important to note: This research is talking about people assigned female at birth (AFAB) versus people assigned male at birth (AMAB).
Also, you may notice we’re not using “women” and “men” interchangeably with “females” and “males.”
That’s because, in science, sex and gender aren’t the same thing.
“Females” and “males” refer to a person’s sex — the “biological differences between females and males.”
“Women” and “men” refer to a person’s gender, which includes “the continuum of complex psychosocial self-perceptions, attitudes, and expectations people have about members of both sexes.”
Even this is a simplified explanation.
The reason: Just because a person is assigned female at birth doesn’t mean they’re born with the “XX” genotype.
Likewise, just because they’re assigned male at birth doesn’t mean they’re born with the “XY” genotype.
There are several more possibilities.
What This Means and Why it Matters
Charles Darwin observed in 1871 (based on his book, The Descent of Man) that the males of a species typically have…