Does Testosterone affect our success?

Houri - 36x48 Oils on Canvas

Houri – 36×48 Oils on Canvas

In other studies, testosterone seemed to provide “winning streaks” that often occurred about ten in the morning. Funnily, I’ve always noted this is a hot hour for my painting, but I never thought to connect it with hormones.

Of further interest, male brokers took more risks and traded more often than their female associates. It was also the men who got into the most trouble–witness infamous stock traders like Bernie Madoff and the London Whale. As well as further courage being generated after periods of successful trading, men became the most daring after having had a string of losses. Heeding this last observation, some big firms are temporarily suspending brokers’ licenses after they sustain 3% in losses.

Another interesting finding in these studies was that women brokers did just as well for their clients as male brokers. They also traded less often and were apparently more cautious and thoughtful. Women brokers didn’t appear to have those knee-jerk reactions that some researchers think are spurred by testosterone. Women were also more inclined to take advice from advisors and experts. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there are any female felons in the investment world. I may be naïve and gravely limited in my research, but I also know of no female felons in the art world.

via The winner effect. Robert Genn

I think there is a lot in this that is representative of the art world at large. female artists often seem to take the slow and steady wins the race approach, and male artists are often more gung-ho. (autocorrect changed that to hung-ho and I was torn for a moment about changing it, it seems incredibly apt.) often both genders do just as well as each other, but that testosterone fuelled approach may be what endears male artists to more galleries and museums. just as it does in the corporate world.

Then Cummings asked for a list of words associated with being a male leader. Strong, arrogant, intelligent, ego-driven, bravado, powerful, dominant, assertive, single tasking, focused, competitive, stubborn, physical, self-righteous and direct made the list. One woman marveled at the way men are capable of having an argument at work, then go out for a beer together as if nothing had ever happened. “Women hold a grudge,” she said. “Men are passive-aggressive,” countered another. “They sit in the bushes and wait.” “Men have a sense of entitlement,” said yet another executive. “It’s a given that they will be successful.”

Via The ‘Masculine’ and ‘Feminine’ Sides of Leadership and Culture: Perception vs. Reality

I find it interesting that oftentimes those descriptive words are often used in a negative context when describing women. I think it’s that sense of entitlement that is the key. Men are empowered with it as boys and are encouraged to go out and get what they want. girls are taught to be more supportive, to look after others needs first before their own (Interesting geek note – In gaming women are more likely to be healers than tanks). I think both are great traits and both should be encouraged equally. we should all learn to support and be supported, to dream and set goals and go after them. but this is where the disparity happens again, women frequently dream and set goals but talk themselves out of going after them. Then sometimes we break free of our earliest training, of our own fears and doubts and pursue our goals… only to be turned back by others’ archaic views.

we need to change this. we need more women artists to stand up and go after their dreams. it may be that the museums are not getting the choices, that galleries would like to represent more women but we are holding ourselves back!

Are we our own worst enemies?

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