Friday, September 14, 2007

and now for some mild raving

"And then of course you shouldn't forget that your hormones are all messed up at the moment" "But isn't this perfectly normal, what with your hormones being out of balance and all that?"

my friends, i know your intentions were pure when uttering these words, but... i still wish to say something about these 'hormones'. for one thing, have you noticed the term is only ever used when talking about women? as if men didn't have them hormones. now a term used almost exclusively to describe women and originating in a medical body which is notoriously, historically, traditionally and by definition woman-unfriendly, that already makes me very suspicious.

then there is the added fact that 'hormones' usually appear when talking about the most important, fundamental, creative, life-enhancing, spiritually transformative phases/cycles/moments in women's lives: puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause. what an ugly flat humiliating little word to speak of such wonders. what a reduction to absurdity of that which makes the world go round.

now i'm not trying to say that there is no such thing as 'hormones'. nor am i suggesting that the studies (which our tax payments finance) seeking to prove the relation between life-changing events and changes in the fluctuating levels of hormones are a pack of lies. i'm just saying 'who cares?'. you don't tell a man who has just lost his wife (assuming the man was fond of his wife and actually mourns his loss) 'but then of course, there is the change in your hearbeat rate and blood pressure, it's no wonder you feel like shit'. not that it ain't true, but it is only one, not particularly relevant physiological detail of the major life-changing crisis that this man's system in its entirety is going through.

now you might say: oh well, we knew them big guys weren't particularly interested in women, but really, it's terminology, innocent terminology, a bit degrading perhaps, but still just terminology. well, in this case, terminology is anything but inconsequential, because hiding behind the label 'hormones', there is always a pill. some kind of pill, any kind of pill. if it's hormones there is a pill out there for it, which will give you more of this, less of that. let us fix this for you m'am, you'll be back to normal in no time. that well-known non-existent, white male of 35 normality that we are clearly all aspiring to (did i mention this was going to be a raving post?).

so, no, this thing i have, it's not hormones. it's not pill-fixable and i don't want it fixed. it's Big. it's Change. it's Growth. it's Life.


Pauline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pauline said...

Dankjewel! Even ter illustratie: een kennis zat laatst, vijf dagen na het ontdekken van een 'knobbel' en een week waarin steeds het worst case scenario de realiteit bleek, met haar echtgenoot te bespreken dat als test X EN test Y slecht uit zouden vallen, ze gezien de minieme overlevingskans geen behandeling aan zou gaan. Nu, vier maanden verder, ziet het er allemaal onverhoopt toch gunstig uit. Grappig, dat haar depressie nu wordt geweten aan 'de hormonen van de overgang' die door de medicijnen wordt veroorzaakt. Het lijkt me dat de overgang, afscheid van een van de meest definierende aspecten van je vrouwelijkheid, uberhaupt al heel heftig is als hij 'op tijd' komt, maar who needs hormonen om in dit geval een depressie te verklaren?
In mijn beleving is het te pas en te onpas gebruiken van 'hormonen' als verklaring een manier om ten koste van alles het onderscheid tussen lichaam en geest te maken. Met de geest in de rol van zielige prinses die zo nodig gered moet worden van die draak van een lichaam.

Anonymous said...

Despite Pauline's serious comment ...

there is also the 'walking hormone' which refers to... young men.


Anonymous said...

hi, beth here, michael's friend from oxford.

first, congrats on the birth of yr son, born same day as mine. hope they'll get to meet one day.
second, really enjoy your blog, and in particular, i love this post, and agree totally.

b x

ps i'm eschewing capitalisation not in order to escape my internal editor, but because right hand is occupied in holding joseph who is frantically sucking my middle finger. but escaping the editor is a bonus.