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The Elusive EmbryoHow Women and Men Approach New Reproductive Technologies$
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Gay Becker

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520224308

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520224308.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

The Embattled Body

The Embattled Body

(p.39) Chapter 3 The Embattled Body
The Elusive Embryo

Gay Becker

University of California Press

This chapter examines women's and men's bodily experiences of infertility in the context of cultural dialogues about reproduction and gender. It describes gendered ideals of the body that profoundly affect women's and men's responses to bodily disorder. Bodily order and cultural order are equated with fertility. People living with infertility who subscribe to heterosexual views of gender experience are sensitive to dominant ideologies of gender. They feel different from others because of their infertility. Thus, while gender is destabilized, issues of normalcy persist. Those affected react both by attempting to fit into rigid cultural molds and by resisting those molds. Attempts to achieve a state of “gender normalcy” are characterized by inconsistency. The stories that follow illustrate the interaction of gender, sexuality, and feelings about the ability to reproduce in shaping people's ideas about themselves.

Keywords:   infertility, bodily order, cultural order, heterosexual views, gender normalcy

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