February 11, 2022 | OPINION | By Finn Mott
A recent article in Psychology Today implies that testosterone may be related to early death rates in extremely creative people. The article states that testosterone is linked to high-risk behaviors such as alcohol and drug use that can lead to unfortunate and violent death for creative people.
This could explain why countless influential musicians die young, specifically rockstars and rap stars. It seems that peak testosterone levels is present in the 20s age-range for males. This age is also known to be the climax of creative accomplishments for musicians and other creative people. Testosterone levels could be the reason that significantly fewer creative female individuals die young.
Additionally, peer pressure is a factor that impacts all genders, particularly artists. With the presence of social media, success is broadcasted incessantly and immediately. Not only does this implement a subconscious pressure for creative people to be successful at younger and younger ages, but it implies that if you are not successful at a young age, then you are a failure. This leads to destructive mental headspaces and higher suicide rates.
Some sources indicate that creative individuals are more in tune with their emotions, which can lead to a greater awareness about their place in the world. Creative minds are scripted to have a purpose in their art. In college, students occasionally don’t see an artistic major as a valid or suitable study. It is these chains on the creative mind, in addition to societal rejection, that can lead to greater struggles in mental illness.
In a similar study done by Art Hub, existential depression is related to creative minds striving to find meaning in their lives through their work. There is a sad but proven price to pay for being sensitive in today’s world. According to Art Hub, Artists are 18 times more likely to commit suicide than a typical person.
Clearly, this is a very prevalent and undercooked issue. Creativity is at the pulse of systemic, political, and social change. But how do we protect our artists? The most evident thing we can do is accept their work as something that is valid and powerful.
Heaviness should be viewed as a thing to be valued rather than ignored and ridiculed. An artist’s awareness about meaning, purpose, and place should be an asset to individuals instead of a hinderance to success and popularity. Love must be diffused for those who are struggling and for those who have passed.
As Mac Miller states, “We fear rejection / want attention / crave affection / and dream of perfection”. Life is about putting yourself out there for people to see, listen, embody, and share. This is what our creative minds do and what our artists create in their work. It is not fair for some to pay a tax for being vulnerable. We must spread love for those who dream to create.
This is for all the artists, rappers, rock stars, and people who have struggled with their art and their minds.