What does it take to live like a man?

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?

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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).

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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?

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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.

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5 comments

  1. I agree with your post; it’s like saying that one chooses to live for a week as a person of color, or as a homeless person. But such experiences in themselves are so different that how can one really know what it feels like to be something that they’re not? I say they can’t. So I found this article that you shared not an accurate depiction of what it means to live as a “man.”

    On the other hand, imagine a man trying to live as a woman for a week: can he handle all the wolf-whistles and menstruation? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stuff like this bugs me in part because it ignores that testosterone levels vary a lot among cis women and among cis men. Many women have higher than average testosterone levels and many men have lower than average testosterone levels. There is no one testosterone level that is a male experience rather than female experience.
    I also thought I remembered reading awhile back that testosterone changes from medication tend to lead to anger that is not typical of testosterone levels that are stable at that level.

    I was hoping when I saw “live like a man” that it meant actually dressing and being perceived as a man, which would be far more interesting. (I’m not sure I would ever really “pass” as a man, but I just bought some men’s jeans because sometimes I want to dress in a more masculine way. I am interested though, as a woman who is typically pretty femme, how that might change how people interact with me.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?? I thought this was just a ploy to get hits and views. And it worked.
      I felt like there was so much more to be said and that the author skimped on details and maybe reached too much for a trendy article.
      I enjoy masculine clothes to lounge in/ work out in, but I agree you’re very femme lol I love your hair updates on Instagram! You are probably the only girl I know who changes their hair that often. Never change. I love it!!!

      Like

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