This morning on my news-peruse, I came across a story in the Washington Post entitled, “I lived like a man for a couple of weeks. It helped me understand my husband” by author Ann Mallen.
In the article, Mallen describes how her doctor’s prescription of a cream intended to boost her testosterone levels greatly impacted her mood and her libido; an experience which she says allowed her to empathize with men.
Mallen writes, “Living for a few weeks with extra testosterone gave me a new understanding of men. Now, when I notice my husband glancing at an attractive woman, I don’t take offense. Testosterone turns your head and makes you look. Sometimes, I whisper, “Yep, she’s beautiful.” He jokes that I’m now one of the guys.”
Hmm. Is this all it takes to live like a man?
My first thought when I saw the title of Mallen’s piece was, “Omg I bet she peed standing up and was taken seriously by car salesmen!” I hoped for an exposé on what it was like to esthetically appear as a man in public; to scratch your junk nonchalantly because as one of my guy friends so elegantly put it, “It gets hot down there and things stick.”
Chemically/biologically/physiologically/whatever other science speak there is, I know men and women are different. However, I don’t believe it’s fair to make the correlation between temperament and sex. It’s at least an incomplete surface understanding of what it means to be of the opposite sex, and a stereotype of men as well. Hormonally, yes. Mallen was living with increased levels of testosterone, but does that necessarily mean she was living like a man? This brings up the issue of sex versus gender which is important when talking about identity.
Mallen begins her piece by describing her lust after any and every man that walks by her. Um, maybe I’m just incredibly perverse or sexual, but doesn’t EVERYONE register whether or not they would sleep with someone upon first glance, or at least decide if they’re sexually attracted to someone at first sight? (not love, purely lust).
Mallen then describes how increased testosterone lead to irrational anger. Maybe I should go get my hormones checked, because I basically live on the edge of snapping because the vending machine is out of Diet Pepsi, or turning into the Hulk and punching my way through the bathroom stall whenever it’s out of toilet paper. Is this behavior typically male?
I would voluntarily adhere to a hormone cream like Mallen purely in the name of research, but I’m hairy as it is (I’m Italian, afterall) and I’m not about to spend more money on waxing, shaving, bleaching just to turn into a raging bitch, sorry – a raging dick.
I had thought by 2015 we would have embraced a broad understanding of what it means to be male or female. My little rant today is part incredulity that we still attribute certain behaviours with sex and part shame that I was suckered into an article based on a misleading headline.
Shame on me for wanting to see what it’s like to pee standing up. Shame on me, indeed.