There ain’t no men in menopause…and other musings for a Friday

Posted by on Feb 20, 2009 in general | 4 comments


Have I got your attention now? Hope so. ‘I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  More times than those two and a half men can sing “men.”

It’s. Not. All. About. You.

Here’s some information from an earlier post:

There’s a misnomer going around (can a misnomer go around?). It’s called “male menopause.” Now mind you, I’ve got no beef with da guyz but to call a gradual decline in testosterone “menopause,” seems a bit extreme. So, what’s the buzz about?

According to the Mayo Clinic, menopause and “andropause” are two distinct animals. During menopause, women undergo a cessation of menstruation and a rapid plummet in hormone production. On the other hand, men experience gradual declines in testosterone production after age 40. However, some men continue to produce high levels of testosterone well into their older years. What’s more, the problem does not appear to be universal; symptoms of testosterone decline, which may include reduced sexual desire and spontaneous erection, swollen breasts, a loss of hair from the body and around the genitals, loss of muscle mass, depression, and rarely, hot flashes and sweats vary from man to man and some men never experience any symptoms whatsoever.

In fact, back in October, I cited data suggesting that there is insufficient evidence supporting a decline in androgen in a majority of men and that “the extent to which an age-dependent decline in androgen levels leads to health problems that might affect or alter the quality of life remains under debate.”

Further, the medical community is not only in disagreement over “male menopause” but also its treatment.
There’s lots of controversy over testosterone replacement therapy and whether or not it actually helps the symptoms of androgen deficiency. What’s more, research suggests that a large majority of men experiencing symptoms of androgen deficiency do not seek care. (No surprise there, right?!)

Okay, so now that we’ve got that straight, may I reiterate that it’s not all about you?

I  ran across a disturbing piece in this past Tuesday’s Washington Post about how and why the country’s economic crisis is taking a greater toll on men.  Entitled “Economic Crisis Hits Men Harder, the article relies on the psychotherapist and author Jed Diamond who is at the forefront of the male menopause movement. In addition to expounding on the distinction between male menopause and irritable male syndrome (for which Diamond continues to claim that he has supportive data)  Diamond says:

“The loss of jobs, economic situations, crashing — it affects men in a profound way. The chaos is affecting men in very, very powerful and negative ways…Men have a less resilient emotional system; women’s brains are more networked from left to right. They are balanced socially. Men tend to be more isolated” (and therefore, don’t have as much social support).

I agree with Diamond’s point that women tend to turn to social support in times of stress and therefore, may be able to deal with it more effectively than their male counterparts. However, to  minimize the impact on a majority of the population, many of whom work multiple jobs while simultaneously caring for families, well, that’s just wrong. In fact, economic development expert Sara Gould writes that “the current instability roiling Wall Street’s markets will lead to an increasingly dire economic situation for women. This is especially true for low-income women, women of color, single mothers and others who have long experienced the disproportionate impact of flawed economic policies.”

So, if women are bearing the brunt of the crisis and are facing increasingly dire situations, is it accurate to say that the economic crisis hits men harder? And likewise, is it reasonable to take a life transition that is as natural to women as breasts and recreate it in the male image?

What do you think? I smell a rat and his name is Jed.

[You can find this post and other goodies on BitchBuzz]


  1. 2-20-2009

    a rat named jed, is that a grateful dead song.

    let’s face it liz, the commentary about how men are handling the economic crisis is so elementary it is almost not worth discussing. in a simplified world, men are tied to their careers more than women. the lack of ability to provide effects them more in a traditional sense. women tend to assess and act instead of wallow.

    but seriously, this is so riddled with gender stereotypes and generalizations that it seems not worth validating.

    wait, did you say male menopause could cause spontaneous erections? that could make for an interesting day.

  2. 2-20-2009

    wait, i need to clarify that comment above.

    although there is some truth in his commentary it leaned towards diminishing the evolution of men and ignored the complicated lives that women lead today.

    my point, liz, is that i agree with your distaste for the simplification. i also feel that discussing this gives attention to his POV, that is what i meant by not wanting to validate him.

    this is where blog commenting loses out over conversation. we lose the tone and true discussion

  3. 2-20-2009

    Thanks Amy. You make a wonderful point – Diamond operate on stereotype in order to further his agenda. I wonder if he gets hits on his site from disenfranchised women who he appears to disregard?

  4. 2-23-2009

    I hope the weekend was fantastic!


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