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Virile Infertile Men, and Other Representations of In/Fertile Hegemonic Masculinity in Fiction Television Series.

Authors
  • de Boer, Marjolein Lotte1
  • 1 Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg School of Humanities & Digital Sciences, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153 5000, LE, Tilburg, The Netherlands. [email protected] , (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Medical Humanities
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2021
Volume
42
Issue
1
Pages
147–164
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10912-020-09647-1
PMID: 32974771
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Fiction television series are one of the few cultural expressions in which men's infertility experiences are represented. Through a content analysis of twenty fiction series, this article describes and analyzes such representations. By drawing on Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity and Ricoeur's understanding of paradoxical power structuring, four character types of infertile men are identified: (1) the virile in/fertile man, (2) the secretly non-/vasectomized man, (3) the intellectual eunuch, (4) the enslaving post-apocalyptic man. While these various dramatis persona outline different ways of how infertile men relate to normative hegemonic masculinity, they all represent infertile men as diverging from shared masculine norms. This non-normativity initially excludes many represented men from hegemonic positions. Eventually, however, these men generally aspire to and succeed in reaffirming their hegemonic masculinity through coercive force towards women and other men, through instigating the precondition for any power structure - the shared will to live together as a community -, and/or by seeking and finding explicit recognition for their normativity and dominance. At the end of this paper, I will reflect on the potential harmful effect of these outlined representations of infertile men and make a plea for diversifying representations of infertile men in our culture.

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