You Don't Just Throw Like a Girl, You Throw Like a Girl With a Baby on her Hip

Illustration for article titled You Don't Just Throw Like a Girl, You Throw Like a Girl With a Baby on her Hip

Ok, so, yes, women can create life inside their bodies, but what the fuck is up with how bad they are at throwing? Science investigates.


First off, you feminist ball-choppers still basking in the afterglow of the bulging muscles of female Olympians, let's get down to some sports real-talk: you are not as good at throwing as a boy. When you throw, the ball doesn't go far enough, and it doesn't go fast enough, and, to be brutally honest, even the bad-at-throwing boys are probably better than the very strongest girls. From the Washington Post investigates this "throwing gap,"

According to Jerry Thomas, dean of the College of Education at the University of North Texas in Denton, who did the throwing research Hyde cites in her paper, "The overhand throwing gap, beginning at 4 years of age, is three times the difference of any other motor task, and it just gets bigger across age. By 18, there's hardly any overlap in the distribution: Nearly every boy by age 15 throws better than the best girl."

Around the world, at all ages, boys throw better - a lot better - than girls. Studies of overhand ball throwing across different cultures have found that pre-pubescent girls throw 51 to 69 percent of the distance that boys do, at 51 to 78 percent of the velocity. As they get older, the differences increase; one U.S. study found that girls age 14 to 18 threw only 39 percent as far as boys (an average of about 75 feet vs. about 192 feet).

In fact, not only can you not throw as fast or as far as a boy, throwing "like a girl" is a real thing that you probably do. According to the Post, girls often throw in a way that is comical to look at, stepping with the same foot as their throwing hand with their limbs all close to their body so they look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex lumbering right field around clutching a baseball in its tiny short arms. (Other people who throw like girls: boys who get punched, and the protagonist from The Sandlot before Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez turns him into a he-man child baseball god.)

Why is this? Why are girls just so comically, pathetically awful at throwing? According to researchers, the reason could be physical — girls are smaller than boys, and at a certain age (the pubes age), boys start developing broader shoulders. Broader shoulders mean the ball can leave the thrower's hand with more momentum. But it's not just size that's hindering women who dream of one day hurling an object across an outfield — it's their seeming inability to use proper form. As usual, cavemen may hold the answers.

"Men threw rocks, and, if you could throw well, you got the women," Thomas points out. "Women did the gathering, and often brought a baby with them. People have speculated that [one-piece] rotation came from women having to throw while holding a baby."

See? You inherited your bad throwing form from your Great (X1000) Grandmother, who was so busy toting babies around on berry hunts that she didn't have time to spend her afternoon practicing for the rock-throwing mating ritual with the boys. That's why nowadays men who really want to moisten some panties will get a lady in the mood by throwing something as far as they can. Women are helpless to resist it! It's biology! I wonder how my female ancestors' butter churning form affected my ability to play golf, or whether my Catholic female ancestors' incessant crossing of themselves eventually led to me being able to apply black liquid eyeliner with the precision of a surgeon. Evolutionary psychology is fun.

But, actually, it turns out that girls' lack of ability to throw isn't as tied to cavemen, but to a lack of socialization and practice. When researchers analyzed the difference in throwing ability between boys and girls in Australian aboriginal populations where both genders hunt from a young age, the gap narrowed significantly.

Since boys generally learn to throw young and do more throwing than girls do, it would make sense that they're better at it, and Thomas acknowledges the nurture component. "The gap is much larger than it should be, and it would be smaller if girls got more practice," he says.


So, all this running around and making fun of how they throw isn't making girls want to run to the park with a newly broken in glove and a gal pal? I wonder what cavemen did to make that happen.

[Washington Post]


Lucky Frog

About the baby on the hip thing, can we get a study on how it's physically possible for a woman who otherwise looks like she might blow away to lug a massive two year old around without any sign of strain? The same woman hands the kid off to me, and my arms go numb in like 30 seconds.