A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Does the fact of testosterone need a cultural ritual?
We think of sports as a healthy way of de-sublimating testosterone but we don’t have a spiritual or philosophical approach to it. Our customary rites of passage are worn out. Going to war and getting your balls blown off is an absurd way to validate said balls. Men suffer from testosterone because it makes us nuts. We used to make sexist jokes about women and their hormones but I don’t see women committing acts of violence because of their hormones. I don’t see women involved in bar fights, road rage incidents, or acts of domestic violence nearly to the degree men are.
There’s a huge amount of pain out there among men that is not being acknowledged. There are men’s groups, certainly, but they are in the minority. And the present polarization between left and right in this country — right wing scoffing at the destruction caused by rape, the attack on women’s reproductive rights as an act of revenge — have exacerbated the problem and prevented it from achieving the public forum it needs.
One of the terrible things that happened to Vietnam vets, particularly those with little education or knowledge of psychological resources, is that they experienced the reaction to the war as a loss of identity. Mostly working class men who grew up as children of the World War II “greatest generation,” they picked up the torch and ran with it: right into a wall.
— Doug Anderson writing for Vox Populi