In our modern society, testosterone has come to be synonymous with manliness—high levels of the hormone in female athletes has even been used to try to ban some women from competing in Olympic events with other women who have "normal" levels. But, as the authors of this new study argue, gender socialization may have an impact on testosterone levels as well, particularly in women.
Researchers found that testosterone levels in women rise when engaging in a dominant behavior regardless of whether they act in more masculine or feminine ways while doing it.
In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes the study they carried out with male and female volunteers and what their results might mean for the role women play in modern society.
The researchers found that levels rose in all the women regardless of whether they were doing the monologue in a masculine or feminine way, while levels for the males remained relatively steady.
These findings show, the group claims, that a rise in testosterone levels in women was due to exercising power rather than ways in which they behaved, which they suggest may mean that societal pressures may have more to do with testosterone levels in males versus females than has been thought.
The researchers did not know why testosterone levels for the males did not change much, but suggest it might have had something to do with males being more used to being put into traditional masculine roles.