Posts tagged: Fatherhood

Study: Fatherhood Causes Drop In Testosterone

By , September 13, 2011 11:02 pm

As a new father, this story from the New York Times grabbed my attention. It reports on a study that showed testosterone levels decrease in men when they become fathers. The more fatherly activity a man participates in, the more his testosterone drops.

FatherhoodWhy the drop? The study suggests it helps men be more committed in their relationships and support their partners in child rearing. In other words, the study suggests that on a biological level, men are supposed to be engaged in raising children.

“The real take-home message,” said Peter Ellison, a professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard who was not involved in the study, is that “male parental care is important. It’s important enough that it’s actually shaped the physiology of men.”

To many, testosterone equals manliness, but several researchers in the article make a point of saying men shouldn’t worry that children and the drop in testosterone that goes with them, will kill their manhood.

The lowering of their testosterone did not prevent the men in the study from having more children. “You don’t need a lot of testosterone to have libido,” [said the study's co-author Dr. Christopher Kuzawa].

“If guys are worried about basically, ‘Am I going to remain a guy?’” [Emory University anthropologist Carol] Worthman [who was not involved in the study] said, “we’re not talking about changes that are going to take testosterone outside the range of having hairy chests, deep voices and big muscles and sperm counts. These are more subtle effects.”

Dr. Ellison explains why he thinks some men may be afraid of this study.

“Unfortunately,” Dr. Ellison added, “I think American males have been brainwashed” to believe lower testosterone means that “maybe you’re a wimp, that it’s because you’re not really a man.

“My hope would be that this kind of research has an impact on the American male. It would make them realize that we’re meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring.”

Perhaps this will reassure some men that it’s manly – in the biological sense – to be a full partner in raising children.

Read the full article here.

H/t: Art of Manliness.

Photo credit: bobhouser/Flickr

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The Princess Boy’s Father

By , January 7, 2011 2:08 am

Would you allow your 5-year-old son to wear dresses?

On Monday morning’s “Today Show” (full disclosure: I worked there several years ago), co-host Meredith Viera interviewed Cheryl Kilodavis and her son Dyson. Five-year-old Dyson likes to wear dresses. Cheryl wrote a book called “My Princess Boy” which is as much about the public’s acceptance of boys who dress like girls as it is about her own acceptance of it.

Kilodavis seems very supportive and loving towards her son, but I wanted to hear more from Dyson’s father. Dean Kilodavis had a brief soundbite in a taped segment before live interview. He said, “It’s not contagious, he’s just like any other kid. He plays checkers, he plays in the trees. He just likes to do it in a dress. Big deal.”

It’s great that the whole family supports Dyson, but was it easy for him to arrive at that conclusion? Viera read part of a letter Cheryl Kilodavis wrote to family and friends about Dyson wearing dresses. “I had independent values, deep cultural and religious perceptions of how my sons as males should look and behave. This became a journey in self-awareness and re-evaluation of stereotypes and perceptions of what I thought I believed.”

Because spouses often share “cultural and religious perceptions,” what was Dean’s initial reaction? Did he have to re-evaluate some of his stereotypes and perceptions?

Did this father ever feel uncomfortable seeing his son wearing dresses?

Yes, the story is about this mother and son. And maybe this princess boy’s father never had a problem with it. Maybe time ran out and the question couldn’t be asked, but it’s one I would have liked to see answered.

See the full interview here.

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News & Opinion 9-3-10

By , September 3, 2010 5:27 pm
Man asleep in bed holding teddy bear

Single childless women under 30, who live in cities, out-earn their male counterparts. [Time]

Alright men, fees up. Do one in four of you really sleep with teddy bears when you travel? [Guardian]

An American man takes 18 months of parental leave in Sweden and talks about “child-oriented masculinity” there. [Slate]  Five months after becoming a father, this writer looks back at his fear of impending fatherhood. [All Men Are Liars]

Should kids wear “I Love Boobies” t-shirts to school to raise awareness for breast cancer? Should anyone wear them? [Mankini Revolution]

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