alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Do you feel the pain?

Women, never again believe a man -- be he President, lover, or friend -- who says "he feels your pain." Because a new study finds that he really doesn't. According to the University of Bath, women feel more pain than men do, and it lasts longer. Not just cramps, either.

But what's perhaps most interesting about this is how it has been interpreted to mean that men are better at coping with pain. Apparently, besides just feeling more pain, women are more concerned about it, have a lower threshold for pain, and a lower tolerance.

Dr. Ed Keogh, a psychologist from the university's pain management unit, said men took a "problem-solving" approach while women focused on how pain made them feel.

This was enough to get a few headlines cheering about how women are the real "wimps."

You could argue that sticking your hand in ice cold water (as the study's participants did) isn't quite the same as a 25-hour-labor, but the bigger point is why are we so concerned with who feels less pain? It's pretty clear that we value the guy who slams his head into brick walls and walks away more than we do the guy who cries when he stubs his toe. But why? Seems there's a role for empaths in our society. As a country, we are numb enough as it is. Being able to sit with pain, and feeling your own and others, is something we could use a little more of, particularly during this time of protracted and bloody war.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close