I’ll begin this next section with a quote from Dr. George Sheehan “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” It is clear that Dr. Sheehan did not differentiate between the sexes. However, when it comes to hormones, testosterone is considered the male sex hormone. It is produced in the testicles and secreted by the testes. It is been estimated that women have testosterone levels 1/10 to 1/12 those of men. This hormone is most pronounced during puberty and then gradually diminishes during a man’s lifespan.
A few distinguishing characteristics of this hormone are as follows: 1. Promotes libido, aggressiveness and sexual desire [A female Viagra product designed to stimulate sexual desire, is now available]. 2. Promotes protein anabolism-use of proteins to build muscle, skin and bone. Testosterone production is affected by a number of external elements such as obesity, exercise and lifestyle [smoking and excessive alcohol intake]. In other words, a healthy college male is likely to be aggressive, has ability to build muscle with strong sexual desire.
Recently, two females graduated and have joined the elite Army Rangers. Wonder what their testosterone levels are? When it comes to sports, world class women are great competitors. What male would get in the ring with martial artist Ronda Rousey; play tennis against Serena Williams; kick a soccer ball at Hope Solo; play one-on-one basketball with Diana Taurasi; race Missy Franklin in the 200 m backstroke ; get in the batter’s box against Leah Crockett of the University Michigan; or race Meghan Arbogast in a 100 K trail run.
These women far exceed the majority of male competitors in their specialty. As Sheehan said “Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.” These women are physically and mentally tough. This past June, Meghan, age 54, ran the Western states 100 mile trail run. Read about her ordeal in detail, and you will conclude like me regarding her unparalleled mental and physical toughness.
Last Sunday, the 16th, Tony and I ran a 20 mile trail run in the Sierra Nevada’s [Run on the Sly]. As I ran up and down the trail, I had an opportunity to observe the many women that overtook me. Many of these young women were extremely fit and had great looking leg and calf development. They were terrific. After the run, Tony and I went for our favorite awards, even though we both placed in our age group, -which is ice cream. We talked about our run and also about women who also go for ice cream after a tough event. Our event was tough as the temperature reached triple digits. I’m going to ask world class runner Meagan if she also goes for ice cream after her events for one of her rewards.
Many years ago there were limited possibilities and less opportunities for women in women’s sports. Back then Babe Zaharias was a freak on the golf course. Now, I don’t know why a women’s T is closer to the hole than the men. With changing values, coaching, training, nutrition, women are achieving at unbelievable heights. I’m certain I could learn more about basketball from coach Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and more about football [Even though I played at the college level] from coach Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals.
In 1969 there was a classic football battle between Michigan and Ohio State. On the playing field were plenty of testosterone filled young men with excessive libido, aggressiveness and of course sexual desire. However, when it comes to winning and losing much can be said about conditioning, coaching, and coaching player- staff preparation. Legend, Woody Hayes’s was the head coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes. His protégé was none other than Bo Schembechler. Schebechler previously coached for the Buckeye head coach. Bo Schembechler also had Gary Moeller as a member of his coaching staff. Gary Moeller was a team Captain for Woody Hayes when OSU were ranked number one in the early 60s.
Yes, Bo and Gary learned from Woody. Would their coaching skill be enough to win against the undefeated number one ranked team in the country, at the time? No one measured testosterone levels that cold Saturday, in Ann Arbor, nor assessed the mental toughness of either team’s players. Yet, the young Michigan players [Many of whom played in the NFL, were all pro, and even inducted into the Hall of Fame] described that victory like none other. Their motivation was out of this world and raised to unheralded heights by the clever coaching of Bo Schembechler and his talented staff. Among these players, they mentioned that the experience on that Saturday was never again duplicated in their lives. I don’t know if that band of brother’s experience was similar for the women in team sports. Perhaps, testosterone had a lot to do with it-the physicality, camaraderie, the overcoming, and the winning.
When it comes to sports, yes, the top males clearly dominate at the world-class levels. The muscular development, aggressiveness, and gross motor ability enter into this male equation. Women are now achieving at impressive levels due in part to their opportunities. Still, we continue to differentiate with male versus female leagues at this time.
However, when it comes to psychology and mental illness, we don’t have one exclusive diagnoses for females and another for males. The same and I mean the same criteria is used for diagnosis. That doesn’t mean that the numbers of males and females are equal in all the diagnostic categories. Yes, more women are depressed, depending upon the age than men. And, more men have an antisocial behavior disorders than women. And yes, more women have a hysterical style personality; and even Neo-Freudian Karen Horney had a book published called Feminine Psychology. Yes, there are psychological differences between the sexes. But in studying psychology, the definition covers behavior, cognition and emotions regardless of orientation. The major personality theories [Behaviorism is one of them] do not differentiate between the sexes. Humanist psychologist Albert Maslow’s idea of self-actualization includes both males and females. Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Kurt Lewin, Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers and others do not discriminate. It’s called personality theory as opposed to Male Personality Theory. A human being is not an atom and can’t be split.
The study of man in the Stony Brook program sounds interesting. When the good professor asked the students to describe a good man, their responses were feminine based. They described characteristics of a woman. When he asked them to describe a real man, their responses were more testosterone and stereotypically based. As a psychologist, I appreciate the hormonal, genetic, brain, environmental and social variables or influences when talking about men and when talking about women. That’s more interesting for me. In conclusion, Erich Fromm stated “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is” states very accurately that we are the same animal with the same task. And each of us have the responsibility figure out what that is. He didn’t discriminate between the sexes, nor will I.