How Myths About Testosterone And Masculinity Shaped American Culture
Testosterone is both blamed and praised for varying human behaviors. How do the biological hormone's actual functions compare to its non-scientific, word-of-mouth history and what's been the impact of these common misunderstandings?
Loosely referred to as T, the molecule has influenced culture and widely held beliefs for over a century, but society's shared misconceptions continue to perpetuate the false narrative.
Testosterone has a reputation for being a catalyst for dominance, aggression and violence. It is thought to be directly connected to athletic prowess and increased sexual appetite. All of these can be challenged, as can concepts of testosterone as the “male sex hormone” or the chemical essence of masculinity.
In what ways is the lore of T limiting our social understanding of men and women? What other myths about testosterone need busting?
What are its actual functions? What processes does this hormone regulate? How does testosterone really impact life in the domains of reproduction, aggression, risk-taking, power, sports, and parenting?
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, January 2.