September 17, 2011

"A study like this implies you are scientifically less manly just when you’d like to think you’ve hit a new plateau of manhood."

"You’ve spread your seed, so to speak, and joined the ranks of your own father... not only are you a dork when you lapse into goo-goo talk, but now you’re less of a man scientifically."

Oh, man, the guys will have their revenge for all the cat litter box cleaning they had to do when we women were pregnant and had to be protected from toxoplasmosis.

During pregnancy, the man is the pussy man, dealing with the cat poo. But now that the baby is born, if she doesn't want a pussy man, depleted in testosterone, it is her turn to handle the poo.

Now, these arguments about division of household labor have a new dimension: My dear, are you anti-science or are you trying to emasculate me?

ADDED: Is it manly to make that argument? It suggests you need to conserve the testosterone you have. It would be more macho to act like you have plenty to spare. Also, I think diaper changing is one of the more manly baby-related chores? It's a dirty job and someone's got to do it. We don't have a study about which specific baby-relted activities are testosterone depleting. I'm going to speculate that it would tend to be the ones like bottle/breast-feeding where you look for a long time into the baby's eyes... not the one where you're looking at the nether regions.

67 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

I cleaned the litter cans up when I was pregnant.

And, now that I'm old ... my youngest cat ... came running in from the outdoors ... as she just discovered she can, in fact, go outside to play.

And, she ran in to "go to the bathroom!" I couldn't believe it!

There's a garden outside. She prefers her litter pan.

I hate the cleanup job. But litter's gotten so much better of time! (When I was young, there wasn't even such a thing as cat litter! My mom shredded up newspaper.)

Cats are great pets.

And, you know what? I've seen men stocking up on cat food ... when I shop. So, I think humans just know how to take care of the pets they adore.

While most cats think they own their homes. We're just guests.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Dad has to help out with the icky poo, but once the baby has quit being a baby and has become a real person, around age two and a half, a man has to start being a man again. Sorry, lesbos, kids need examples of female and male behavior in order to integrate properly.

Saint Croix said...

testosterone — the defining hormone of maleness — drops after a man becomes a father.

um, don't women have testosterone as well?

I would say absence of estrogen is the defining hormone of maleness.

And I'm pretty sure testosterone levels are very situational. Threaten a man's baby and see what happens to his testosterone.

S said...

IANABiologist, but I think we all get both testosterone and estrogen, but women get significantly more estrogen and men get significantly more testosterone - that even high testosterone women have less testosterone than low-testosterone men.

Shouting Thomas said...

You think it goes unnoticed that when you discuss your own self-interest, that is what you call feminism, that you write in the tone of high falutin' social activism, but that you shift to the mocking, comic tone when you discuss the self-interest of men?

Your self-interest is very serious. You want us to constantly be aware of that.

The self-interest of men amuses you.

You think we don't notice?

It's a clever strategy, Althouse. You're very good at it.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Why isn't Althouse covering the fact that two daughters of two famous liberal Democrat Senators - both 51 years old - died on the same day.

Weird.

Ambrose said...

Nothing better than being a father, adrenaline replaces the testosterone. (Spelling, I know and I don't care). I used to like changing diapers. It's a guy thing in that it's an activity you can get better at each time. Like driving somewhere you've been before and beating your best time.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I guess I'm in real trouble.

We've got a 7-month-old daughter and I handle a majority of her care and feeding, changing, laundry and so on. Different style than my wife, probably more playful and more matter-of-fact.

A cranky horse-kicking cow -- horse-kicking is straight back, whereas nearly all cows kick to the side -- turned me into a one-nutter about 25 years ago ... so I'm dealing from a short deck to begin with.

Now I'm taking care of a baby. The delight of doing that -- third child -- is well worth the putative hormonal cost.

I guess I should tell my choir director he should get ready to move me from the deep-bass section to the tenors.


WV: siste ... my sons finally have one

Crimso said...

"It suggests you need to conserve the testosterone you have."

Don't worry, we have mechanisms for making more. That's not me talking, that's Science (caps intentional).

Saint Croix said...

IANABiologist, but I think we all get both testosterone and estrogen, but women get significantly more estrogen and men get significantly more testosterone - that even high testosterone women have less testosterone than low-testosterone men.

Wow! I learned something new. Thanks.

You want to freak out? Google "estrogen" and "shampoo"

Pastafarian said...

" I think diaper changing is one of the more manly baby-related chores..."

Well, how convenient -- that the shit job is the masculine job.

I don't want to actually read the article, because I suspect that reading, like child-rearing, woman's work, and vaccinations, might sap the purity and essence of my precious bodily fluids. Can one of you babes read it for me, and confirm that they're not confusing cause and effect?

It seems more likely that high-testosterone males would be less likely to change diapers, than the other way around. And I have about as much confidence in the rigorous scientific method of psychologists and social scientists as I do in that of climatologists.

edutcher said...

Sounds like the Gray Lady wants all the metrosexuals out there to feel good about themselves.

rcocean said...

Why isn't Althouse covering the fact that two daughters of two famous liberal Democrat Senators - both 51 years old - died on the same day.

Weird.


More importantly, why isn't Althouse making note of the fact that today is Constitution Day and that, exactly 75 years after the Constitution was signed, on the bloodiest day on our soil, 3000 Americans fell at Antietam in a war where Constitutional issues were paramount?

PS For that matter, why no post about Constitution Day?

And you, a conlawprof.

rcocean said...

I'd rather write about Kennedy and Mondale then Cat poo but maybe Althouse thinks Cat poo is a ratings draw.

I can't deny that people Love pets and Gender differences.

Schorsch said...

Testosterone is a pernicious hormone. It makes you shiftless and unreliable, unreasonably aggressive, and eventually takes your hair. Also kills you faster, makes you gain weight, and grows hair in unsightly places, like the ear. I'd say it's good to drain a little off by taking care of little ones.

GulfofMexico said...

More gibberish from the NYT. Yeah, sure your testosterone drops but post toddler stage it comes back, unless you're a pussy.

Saint Croix said...

When I was in college I saw an interesting study. The scientists were measuring men and their reactions to a crying baby. They wanted to see if there was any correleation to political beliefs and baby care.

What they found out surprised them.

Men who were traditional in regard to sex roles were far more likely to touch the baby, talk to the baby, and try to make the baby stop crying.

Men who were feminist in regard to sex roles were far more likely to leave the baby alone.

Saint Croix said...

my theory: feminism seeks equality by attacking patriarchy. But instead of equality, what they get is diminished patriarchy (i.e. diminished fatherhood).

cubanbob said...

I wonder if a testosterone level test done on Mormon plural marriage husbands would have different results? If you have to service a number of wives a guy would need a pretty high level of testosterone to keep up with his marital duties.

I told my wife kids are fine and I'll make the money and if need be die for them but I don't do poop diapers. I'm old school that way.

Jose_K said...

Juggling with the baby to make her lose fear is the manliest activity beside playing the Lion King, raising her in the air for all to see.

dbp said...

I never minded changing diapers, though my wife and I split the task about evenly. It was a challenge to hold my breath for the length of time it took to get through the messy part.

Jose_K said...

I would say absence of estrogen is the defining hormone of maleness?
A man without estrogen is called a Neanderthal

Tim said...

Testosterone is overrated.

rcocean said...

And Testosterone. People love to talk about it.

somefeller said...

From the article:Today’s Generations X and Y dads are closer in spirit to Will Arnett in the new NBC situation comedy “Up All Night”— potty-mouthed guys in pocket T-shirts and stubble. They exchange bro-hugs with their children and dream of someday outshredding them on the snowboard slopes. Overgrown boys themselves, they may not feel ready for the responsibilities of co-parenting, but they feel obligated to fake it mightily.

Only if they are complete dorks. Men who take fatherhood, or manhood in general, seriously don't act like Judd Apatow characters.

That, in fact, was a point that the study’s authors emphasized: a dip in testosterone does not mean a man is less virile. Rather, it seems to be nature’s way of slightly adjusting impulses, to make him less likely to stray once he has a family to look after, and more likely to focus on the tasks at hand.

This might actually make some sense, if this is nature's way of encouraging monogamy for early childhood by controlling testosterone levels. All for the benefit of the species. Evolutionary psychology for the win.

Rainforest Giant said...

Yeah, speculate, because nothing says science like making snarky statements about something you have negative data for.

Something that directly affects men and health? Sure, yuk it up and mock it.

Something that might marginally affect women? Jump on it like Nancy Grace on a suspected wife abuser.

Browndog said...

I must be missing something-

A blonde female liberal law professor from Madison lecturing the masses on conservative testosterone.

think deeply

MarkG said...

I have an ex in-law who always thought there was too much testosterone around. She advocated that all males should have one nut removed. Except the Marines, who need both of them for obvious reasons.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Why isn't Althouse covering the fact that two daughters of two famous liberal Democrat Senators - both 51 years old - died on the same day.

Because no one really cares.

Random Arrow said...

So the logical scientific conclusion for mothers who want their big man back blasting double barrel testosterone bombs-away is to tell the father that the child isn’t his.

Real American said...

it's nothing a few push ups wouldn't solve.

Bender said...

All this shows is the chickification of the culture, not that kids cause a drop of testosterone in men.

The guys in my mom's family -- guys who have fathered 8 and 9 and, in one case, 13 kids -- didn't all of a sudden turn into Obamaized metrosexuals.

ricpic said...

Saint Croix said...

my theory: feminism seeks equality by attacking patriarchy. But instead of equality, what they get is diminished patriarchy (i.e. diminished fatherhood).

Which is to say that the final triumph of feminism would mean the end of civilization. No patriarchy, no civilization. Burns feminists up, those that have the brains to see the connection, but diminished fatherhood means the next generation of men will be feral and eventually a descent into chaos is inescapable. Not that that stops them in their enraged pursuit of equality.

The Crack Emcee said...

It would be more macho to act like you have plenty to spare.

Boy, that word is sure coming up a lot, all of a sudden. Almost like someone had a premonition or something about what was needed - or was going to happen or be needed - to get us out of this mess, huh?

Naw. When that idea got started, back in 2005, "macho" was a bad word. Later, even Ann I'm-A-Feminist Althouse used to mock it. But now she's writing posts about men trying to get it, or keep it, or exude it, like it's a good thing. Now the question isn't if we need machismo but "Is Rick Perry Too Macho?"

Who'dathunkit?

Certainly not a black guy from South Central,...

Random Arrow said...

“Most women set out to try to change a man, and when they have changed him they do not like him.” - Marlene Dietrich

Bender said...

Who are you calling unmanly, pilgrim?

It better not be John Wayne, one of the 3 Godfathers.

Browndog said...

@Crack

I hate to say it, but a certain song back in the '70's gave "macho" a bad name.....not that there's anything wrong with that-

urpower said...

Isn't a new father just interacting with women more?

The Crack Emcee said...

Browndog,

I hate to say it, but a certain song back in the '70's gave "macho" a bad name.....not that there's anything wrong with that

Don't look at me - look at Ann - that shit's her little hobby horse.

I knew what a man was before, after, and since she and her friends tried to fuck it up. Except in some quarters (mine) they pretty much succeeded, too. Look around:

How many men today do you seriously respect as "men"?

Their voices are too high, their bodies too soft, and their ideas too weak. You can even see it online - most don't adhere to the truth as their code for life - gay and straight are chasing pussy or trying to get it's approval. That's why I come off as so hardcore - I adhere to the truth and, as everyone SHOULD know, it's not negotiable. Not because I don't want it to be, but because it isn't, no matter what I or anybody else wants.

So, like I said, blame Ann:

She's the "feminist" around here,...

BTW - She's also one of the ones who couldn't see through this. All the more reason to abandon whatever forces produce such gullibility and ignorance, that's for sure,...

GulfofMexico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GulfofMexico said...

It's easier for some "women" to achieve their goal of becoming a man by lowering the bar.

traditionalguy said...

When a man's first child is born, a part of him leaves and goes into the child. We can feel that.

So we become nurturing and less competitive.

By our creator's design or by Darwin's trick the testosterone levels cooperate.

Believe me it is not caused by domestic chores.

And the next 20 years both parents are enabled to do everything for the little monsters, which is a mental illness of a sort as measured by how we feel about small children after 40 or so.

We went to the first T-Ball game for a grandson today. At age 5 and 6 they are bewildered but loyally "Try hard!"

I am the designated photographer.

Scott said...

Ann Althouse carefully neglects to note that the observation that a man is "scientifically less manly" because of less testosterone was made by one "Robert Fahey, an online auto salesman in Burlington, Mass."

I just betcha, given his occupation, that Mr. Fahey isn't a scientist.

And I double down that no scientist would ever equate testosterone level with so subjective a quality as "manliness."

So here we have an exceptionally lame New York Times thumbsucker being used by Althouse as a springboard for a pile of foamy blather about "manliness," speciously binding an unquantifiable quality of male character to the quantity of a hormone.

No post cries out for the "Lameness" tag more than this Althouse honker.

(I'm writing this at a laundromat in Lodi, New Jersey. Also here are four young Mexican guys who are doing their laundry together. To have the cojones to leave everything behind, cross into the country illegally to an uncertain future, and to cheerfully work like a dog to stay here -- that's a kind of manliness you can't quantify by measuring testosterone levels.)

Titus said...

Two huge guys at my gym were talking about the testosterone prescriptions they get from their doctor so they can be huge.

These are straight guys and it isn't because they have HIV.

I go to a straight gym because I hate being around other gays. And going to a gym where there is another gay makes me a little sick.

They were talking about the right spot on the stomach or shoulder to put it.

Weird.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

To have the cojones to leave everything behind, cross into the country illegally to an uncertain future, and to cheerfully work like a dog to stay here -- that's a kind of manliness you can't quantify by measuring testosterone levels.)

Scott -- without knowing it you swerved into a core truth regarding immigration from central Mexico: it is a rite of passage. Young men se mojan ('wetback' themselves) precisely in order to demonstrate their manliness, and it makes them substantially more marriageable when they return home, which most of them do.

It's been that way for at least 20 or 25 years in central Mexico, but I can't speak for the northwestern Mexicans heading to California and Arizona. The northwest has been bandito country for well over 300 years and their culture is very different than that of the central regions.

David said...

I always tested out as low in testosterone. It didn't seem to make much difference.

bagoh20 said...

Ha, Titus is homophobic, but really for real. Not like the kind of homophobic that people call you for disagreeing about politics, but a genuine visceral homophobia. It's like going home to your wife after a night of poker at the He Man Woman Hater's Club.

Just go straight, dude.

Tits

bagoh20 said...

Oh that plateau of manliness - yea, that's just a landing on the down staircase. The next one is where you need permission to stop for a beer with your friends, then the bottom floor where you start calling her "Mommie". Enjoy

Paddy O said...

Have they ever tested the correlation between testosterone levels and reading blogs?

I always feel a little less manly after spending time reading comments and posts, and responding with comments makes me feel even less manly.

What we need is some hard scientific data so I don't have to depend on my self-narrative.

There, now even just writing that last sentence makes me feel entirely not quite as manly as I was just a 1/2 hour ago.

Meanwhile, writing in general for other tasks fills me with vim and vigor.

Synova said...

"It seems more likely that high-testosterone males would be less likely to change diapers, than the other way around"

Ah. ;-)

He tried to excuse himself from the "messy" ones when I was still in hormone hell. I let him live, but it was a near thing.

No one wants to do the messy ones and nothing about being female makes them less gross. So whoever gets out of it has definitely asserted him or herself.

(I did end up having to do the puke, though.)

Fred4Pres said...

We dealt with cat poo during pregnancies by not having a litter box. The damn cat went out to shit. Problem solved.

Fred4Pres said...

My grandfather was a real man. My father is a real man. I hope I can be even close to as good as both of them were.

Carol_Herman said...

Too much testosterone, at first, causes acne.

And, then, later, early baldness.

Then, take menopause. I saw it as the "pause" that refreshes. And, the best part was no longer being a slave to my eggs.

Oligonicella said...

Did you take any science courses?

Titus said...

I don't like being around other gay men. What can I say. They make my skin crawl. And, for the most part, they are fucking bitches

Pastafarian said...

"They make my skin crawl..."

That's an odd statement. I wonder if it's honest, or if you're just trying to get a reaction.

It doesn't make my skin crawl to be around either men or women of either orientation, in any setting that I can think of, unless they're particularly creepy. Your comment seems to reveal a sociopathy. And it doesn't seem to fit the rest of the persona that you've created here.

I'm calling bullshit, Titus.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Schmoe said...

I haven't read the article, but does it say anything about sleep deprivation? The one thing I've disliked the most about having kids is the sleep deprivation. I bet lower testosterone is a by-product of sleep deprivation.

Stick - Zar dei colli rossi said...

It's not baby chores that depletes testosterone, it's buying a minivan.

"They strip you down, hose you off & throw you out of coolville"

-Some comedian I heard

DADvocate said...

I never made goo-goo talk when my kids were babies. Now, my daughter talks like a truck driver, but I'm a MAN!

We even have our own theme song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Y0I91rubg

DaveW said...

I always enjoyed changing diapers. And I guess I must have changed, I dunno, hundreds...thousands?

When you're out of the house all day working you have to get time with your children when you have the opportunity. In the evenings that means feeding and bathing and diapering, tucking them into bed. And by that time mom needs a break too.

I never thought it was particularly manly or not as I recall, but I don't remember that being a big fat issue either.

Johnny Dollar said...

Tell us something we didn't already know: men have always tweaked each other over becoming "domesticated" after marriage and fatherhood. What has changed is the definition of manhood, because, despite the teasing, nobody back then really considered the fathers among us as any less manly when they skipped a night with the boys for a daughter's piano recital. There was in our culture an added and essential element of masculinity beyond mere virility that is self-sacrifice. Real men were more then testosterone. Real men suffered and got battered for the things and people they loved. If you didn't "man up" and take the hit for those you loved, you would always be callow and undependable, a coward and a boy, no matter your conquest count.

That's why movies like "It's A Wonderful Life" and "On the Waterfront" were such potent and iconic explorations of manhood: Marlon Brando was more a Man when he was being beaten to a pulp dockside than he could ever be with a stick of butter in his hands, and his audience at the time knew it. We've lost that now and so this study means more to people today whose only measure of masculinity is sexual performance than it ever would have meant in the past. Before we would have shrugged off a study like this while today our perpetually immature man-children fret and ponder in an endless stream of blog-posts.

Scott said...

Bart Hall, thank you for your fascinating comment!

Calypso Facto said...

Wait...why would you have a cat to begin with?

Oligonicella said...

DADvocate --

"I never made goo-goo talk when my kids were babies."

Rabbiting off of that:

When my brother's son was maybe two, my brother used to think it was cute as hell to Elmer Fud the kid.

Grated my nerves.

After one particularly bad one, I calmly looked at him and said "How long were you in remedial speech?"

Six friggin' years and he *hated* it.

Not one goo-goo allowed in his house afterward. His son still Elmer Fud's his r's though.

Fritz said...

Similarly, having a child make women significantly less feminine.

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