The Pyramid Must Fall

On the Demonization and the Misuse of Testosterone
October 7, 2009, 8:34 am
Filed under: masculinity | Tags: , , ,


Encountering an individual with high levels of testosterone may make you slump down in your chair or slink away slowly or recoil a bit mentally or emotionally. It’s a “fight or flight” response by our bodies and minds to what we may perceive as an increasingly dangerous situation. The supposition is that testosterone is the cause of violence. While this is warranted, it’s also slightly unfair. That is, if those two conditions aren’t contradictory. Testosterone is a hormone. It’s the hormone that creates maleness. We’re all, in fact, female before it’s introduction. Often its overabundance results in irrationality and savagery, but it doesn’t have to. Nor is the existence of testosterone a bad thing. It pains me greatly that I even have to say that.

What would art be if we didn’t come at it with a fire and ferocity and an inebriated zeal? What else allows us to achieve that creative richness and intensity? Oftentimes, a wealth of testosterone manifests itself in the form of meticulousness or dedication. And this isn’t only in the arts, but in the sciences, too. Testosterone is in many ways responsible for the beauty and richness of our culture today.

OK, maybe testosterone and estrogen aren’t each one half of some universal cosmic duality. Maybe they’re just two specific Earthly hormones developed to aid in our survival, but they’re both useful and beautiful. Testosterone is all too often used incorrectly. It manifests itself destructively instead of constructively. We fail to see that one is linked to the other. After all, what is creation but destruction of non-creation? Horror vacui, right? Nature abhors a vacuum. What’s wrong with aggression toward a dearth of beauty?

Just like people have different things they consider their anti-drug (which are really just non-harmful substitute drugs/addictions), people need things they consider their anti-violence. As a male with increased levels of testosterone, art is my anti-violence. It’s really just a non-harmful substitute violence. It’s a place for me to direct my aggression. I direct my aggression toward non-creation, in consideration for the creation that exists to date.

This realization acts as an emancipation of testosterone.

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1 Comment so far
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As a guy who doesn’t start fights and started shaving in primary school, I’m with you on this one. 😀

Comment by Bruce

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