I find it amusing that science seeks to answer such esoteric questions as why women live longer than men, or why we are here. It is certainly not due to any lack of interest in these questions themselves, but they always search for a physical resolution to a question that has its darkest levels within the human psyche.
I’ll not deny that there may be physical reasons as to why women tend to live longer than men do, but the question interests me on another level as well, one that it seems the scientific community has failed to explore. They leave it to the philosophers and the amateurs that discuss it in their basements with their friends late at night.
Behaviorally speaking, it is that antiquated sense of machismo that prevents a man from going to the doctor as often as he should, and men will often do things for the sake of proving their manliness that a woman might never conceive of doing. These behaviors are stereotypical in nature, but they do exist. How many women can you think of, that you personally know, that would have chosen to have a gun rack in the back of their pick up, if their husband or boyfriend hadn’t placed it there?
This is merely an example of the varying behaviors between men and women. I feel that we should be considering this question on a far deeper level. What is it, that women provide to society that requires that they live longer lives?
The first step to answering this question is looking at the role that women play in society. Women are the mothers of our children, they are the maternal care givers and provide a strong basis for emotional support throughout the life of the child. This is not to say that men do not also provide these support structures for their children, merely that women are traditionally assigned this role.
As children, we learn to become dependent upon this support system. We expect our parents to care for us, feed us and clothe us and to kiss our wounds and make them go away. This is a role that we never truly ask our parents to step aside from, and for the whole of their lives, they are raising us and guiding us through this world. The attachment to our parents becomes a bond so strong and so deep, that we feel crippled and agonized when they pass on.
During our rebellious, teenage years, we expect more and yet, less of our parents. We depend on them for transportation to various activites, to teach us how to drive and to teach us how to become adults.
All through our adulthood, we continue to learn and grow with the width and breadth of their knowledge simply a phone call away. We depend upon that knowledge and experience when we have our own children.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment. A commitment that, once chosen, is not something a person can walk away from. Maternal bonds to children are strong. Paternal bonds are as strong, but I believe that a mother has a deeper bond with her child. I believe that while a father can love his children, the mother develops a sort of rapport with her offspring. She feels very, very personally toward her children after having spent many months carrying them in her womb to bring them into the world.
That rapport only grows and expands with time. For as long as we live, we need the guidance of our mothers and that rapport we have with her, feeds us and makes us stronger and helps us learn to live and to grow.
We need their wisdom and their strength and their knowledge and experiences to learn from. We need our mothers to lead us down the road through life, and their teachings are something we cannot easily part with.
This is why I believe that women live longer than men, because they are needed for a longer period of time, their nurturing capabilities make them a necessity to the lives of their children.
For those of you who found the concept of this essay intriguing, or perhaps mildly agreed with my possibly outrageous supposition, I have a link. Please visit Mommy Liberty