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Thoughts on "The He Hormone"

lgleysteen's picture

I also found “The He Hormone” a frustrating yet intriguing article.  I was surprised by how much the author attributed gender differences to biology instead of culture.  I thought one of the most shocking parts of the article was when Sullivan suggested what would happen to society if parents injected their sons with female hormones while in the womb, eradicating all differences in testosterone.  Sullivan takes a quote from Matt Ridley that states, ''War, rape, boxing, car racing, pornography and hamburgers and beer would soon be distant memories. A feminist paradise would have arrived.''  I think it is absurd to claim that all of these things happen because of testosterone and if men were injected with female hormones then they would not exist.  I am sure testosterone has an influence on all of these things but it is in no way the only reason they exist.  Also all of the things that Ridley mentioned have nothing to do with each other.  How can one say that war, rape, car racing, pornography, hamburgers, and beer all fall into the same category?  And also, why would a feminist paradise have to include a world with no beer and car racing?  I think in this statement, Ridley is confuses culture and biology.  The reason that men participate in war and men drink beer is not because they are naturally inclined to do so, it is because that is what culture tells them to do.  There are certainly some distinct physiological differences between man and woman but they are not the cause of what would socially be considered masculine and feminine.


aybala50's picture

More thoughts

I definitely agree with your points about the article, but I feel so frustrated by the article. I think that the author made too many generalizations and gave way too much emphasis on "The He Hormone". I understand that testosterone has certain effects, however I do not think that everything he seems to conclude as directly correlated to this hormone is as strongly connected as Sullivan suggests. "War, rape, boxing, car racing, pornography and hamburgers and beer would soon be distance memories." no person with lower level testosterone has ever been involved in war, in any capacity? Or eaten a burger? Or had beer? Or watched porn? I agree with lgleysteen that Sullivan is possibly putting too much emphasis on the effects of certain biological characteristics, rather than including societal and cultural pressures.