In the article I examined it talked about many gender binaries. Things like the typical thought of a family. This being that a wife is programmed to care and love the child while the father is out providing food and a home for the mother and child. This study however found that what makes a father a father can be connected to the levels of testosterone a father has. It was found that a males who are fathers have lower testosterone levels then those who are not fathers. When a father becomes what his role implies his testosterone becomes lower making him more sensitive to different cues from his child and wife. It was also found that fathers who spent more time with their child had the lowest testosterone.
The way in which gender roles are defined in society are based on knowledge or the lack of true understanding. This study brought up such question of men's roles in society. Comparing what people think to the actual evidence. Most people when thinking of men would say that high testosterone makes a manly man what he is. It's thought that lower testosterone would be a negative thing to have. People associate what it is to be a man with a chemical naturally produced by males. Therefore a study finding lower testosterone immediately brings up concerns with the meaning behind such a shocking discovery.
In the reading Masculinity as Homophobia by Michael S. Kimmel much of it talks about power and males given authority. Part of what one would think when seeing a man in power is a strong gender identity. What makes him such a masculine figure would be his behavior and in part this behavior is linked to his testosterone levels. While the every day conversation doesn't utilize saying such things as "My boss has such high testosterone levels" things like that are still a part of what is in the thought process. Things such as a man being homosexual might be dismissed as "oh he can't help it, he's always been that way" viewing more effeminate behavior as something un-controllable. While this doesn't use the terminology directly the person is viewing the behavior as something biological and beyond an individuals control.
In the article Doing Time, Doing Masculinity: Sports and Prison by Don Sabo it talks exclusivity about the idea of what it means to be masculine. Things like the appearance and hardness of a man were examined in a prison situation. These observations were showing the more extremes of what it is thought of to be masculine. Even so, they help to show some of the main aspects of how society expects men to behave and appear. It helps to show a relationship between the sex of an individual and how they are pushed to focus on aspects of a gender.
What does this all mean though? Many aspects of society view and judge gender based on things like testosterone for men. This study is showing that simply being a father would change how a male should be judged if we were to continue to judged based on the principles of testosterone as what makes a manly man a man. Such little things used to define a gender can be easily broken down and explained further then what is seen on the surface. Gender being defined as it has it's inherent issues. While it is generally thought that having higher testosterone is better, as a man gets older lower overall testosterone make for a healthier life and lower chance of prostate cancer. Such information is invaluable for a man hoping to live a long healthy life.
What does it mean to be a man?