The Toxicity of Testosterone


This post brings up an interesting point regarding mass shootings that I hadn’t really thought of before, but that makes a lot of sense. Basically, although there are occasional female spree killers, the vast majority are men, and many seem to be operating on some level of feeling their masculinity has been threatened. The Charleston shooter acted like he was somehow defending helpless white women, and Elliot Rodger flat-out said he was killing people because women wouldn’t have sex with him. It’s a feeling of powerlessness directed against the wrong people, in this case anyone who happened to be around when the killer decided to open fire. And while it isn’t just men who use guns, our culture very closely associates guns with male power.

I’ve never put much stock in the idea of penis insecurity, but guns are sometimes explicitly marketed as compensation tools.

This notion probably goes back to when men were literally in competition for the right to mate with women, something that still happens in some animal species.

The thing is, I was hoping humanity had managed to get past that point, and realize that a man who fights another man to get a girl isn’t the most fit specimen for mating, but rather a bully who uses violence to get what he wants. Then there’s the fact that, while men still have most of the power, it’s less than they’ve traditionally had. There’s a clear sense of entitlement at work, and sometimes a skewed sense of responsibility accompanying it. It might be nice if the men who feel they’re not living up to traditional gender roles would discard them instead of turning to others. Fundamentalist religion plays a part in reinforcing stereotypical masculinity. American leaders promote fear of radical Islam, but aren’t a lot of the worst things going on in Islamic societies based on notions of how men and women are supposed to act?

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4 Responses to The Toxicity of Testosterone

  1. Melody Grandy says:

    Testosterone is an empathy-suppresser; the more testosterone in a person’s system, the more that male hormone suppresses empathy. I say “person” because it can suppress female empathy, too. So in its own way, testosterone is as bad as female PMS. It takes a person without empathy to voluntarily go to war, or go to a public place and start shooting innocent people.
    Ideally, a guy should only make enough testosterone to develop as a male in utero, but not make enough to kill his capacity for empathy. But, of course, this isn’t an ideal world.

    • Nathan says:

      Even Bill Maher, who isn’t always the greatest champion for women, said that it was ridiculous to claim a woman shouldn’t be president because of hormones when it’s testosterone that really makes people crazy.

  2. marbpl2 says:

    Should science work on developing a testosterone represent drug?

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