Mighty testosterone

LONDON ““ Fatherhood significantly reduces men’s testosterone levels, a study has shown.

Researchers in the United States compared levels of the male sex hormone among single men and married men, both with and without children, among students.

Those who were fathers had the lowest levels of all, the Proceedings of the Royal Society study found.

An expert from the United Kingdom said the fall in testosterone was nature’s way of ensuring men behaved in a “civilized” and non-aggressive way around newborn offspring.

The Expert from the United Kingdom, is Dr. Nick “OutofMyArse” Neave, a member of the psychology and sports science department at Northumbria University, who recently wrote a jawdropping piece of sexist evo-psych tripe for the Daily Mail, about how women really truly need men and that’s why we’re so insecure and more interested in their financial status than their looks and yes really this does all make sense, he’s got a Ph.D so it must. As Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon wrote:

Ladies, you would do well to notice that Neave has a “Dr.” in front of his name, so you can go ahead and start lining up to need him. Don’t be shy. You can start lining up right now. That coyness will get you nowhere, you know, since he already knows you need him to save you from the lions, possibly by shaking his diploma at them.

Neave’s column seems to display quite the infatuation with the role of testosterone in determining human behaviour so that men are served by women and that’s just the way it is. Which might explain the glaring lack of dealing with another explanation for the results of the US study on testosterone levels and fatherhood.

Neave has assumed that the men who are fathers have experienced a drop in testosterone since becoming fathers, but from how the study is reported it is not a longitudinal study which actually shows that any change has occurred. Neave has assumed that the fathers group once had higher testosterone levels with no actual evidence other than that the single fatherless men have higher testosterone levels.

Not for one moment is there any sign that he (or the original researchers) has so much as entertained the idea that women might actually prefer less aggressive men as partners and coparents, so that higher testosterone is not actually a measure of reproductive fitness and proof of superior genes that he wishes. Note his shiny testosterone-fuelled follicular status in his photo (Obligatory cheap shot: have you ever seen a smugger bullshit artist in your life?).

Caveat: science journalism sucketh like a mighty sucking thing, so the reporter has probably oversimplified, but even so – not a single mention of a major alternate interpretation of the data?

Categories: gender & feminism, Science


3 replies

  1. FFS, this is indeed bad science and bad science reporting. The experiment seems more designed to reinforce cultural beliefs than discover a novel bit of data.

    A good example of how society does influence science.

  2. Oh, and the assumptions about male behaviour in the report in regards to parenting are pretty offensive I must say.

  3. Late last night the Bloke listened to an answering machine message telling us that his siblings and in-laws have bought us the services of Nappy Wash for a while. He responded with a genuine ‘that’s exciting’, which frankly I thought was taking it a bit far. Very generous of them, very helpful, but exciting? No, they’re still nappies.
    So I’m wondering, is it fatherhood, or impending fatherhood that causes this ‘drop’ in testosterone? And also, do women have it too? Because I think I’m still waiting for my drop to kick in.

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