The Male Pill is the first book to reveal the history of hormonal contraceptives for men. Nelly Oudshoorn explains why it is that, although the technical feasibility of male contraceptives was demonstrated as early as the 1970s, there is, to date, no male pill. Ever since the idea of hormonal contraceptives for men was introduced, scientists, feminists, journalists, and pharmaceutical entrepreneurs have questioned whether men and women would accept a new male contraceptive if one were available. Providing a richly detailed examination of the cultural, scientific, and policy work around the male pill from the 1960s through the 1990s, Oudshoorn advances work at the intersection of gender studies and the sociology of technology. Oudshoorn emphasizes that the introduction of contraceptives for men depends to a great extent on changing ideas about reproductive responsibility. Initial interest in the male pill, she shows, came from outside the scientific community: from the governments of China and India, which were interested in population control, and from Western feminists, who wanted the responsibilities and health risks associated with contraception shared more equally between the sexes. She documents how in the 1970s, the World Health Organization took the lead in investigating male contraceptives by coordinating an unprecedented, worldwide research network. She chronicles how the search for a male pill required significant reorganization of drug-testing standards and protocols and of the family-planning infrastructure-including founding special clinics for men, creating separate spaces for men within existing clinics, enrolling new professionals, and defining new categories of patients. The Male Pill is ultimately a story as much about the design of masculinities in the last decades of the twentieth century as it is about the development of safe and effective technologies.
Nelly Oudshoorn is Professor of Gender and Technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She is the author of Beyond the Natural Body: An Archaeology of Sex Hormones and coeditor of Bodies of Technology: Women's Involvement with Reproductive Medicine and How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology.
Acknowledgments ix Part I. Overcoming Resistance: Constructing Alternative Sociotechnical Networks 1. Designing Technology and Masculinity 3 2. How Man Came to Be Included in the Contraceptive Research Agenda 19 3. Creating a Worldwide Laboratory for Synthesizing Hormonal Contraceptive Compounds 52 4. The Inaccessible Man: The Quest for Male Trial Participants and Test Locations 69 5. The Co-construction of Technologies and Risks 86 Part II. Configuring the User: Articulating and Performing Masculinities 6. The Politics of Language: Changing Family Planning Discourse to Include Men 113 7. Making Room for Men: Configuring Men as Clients of Family Planning Clinics 140 8. "The First Man on the Pill": Disciplining Men as Reliable Test Subjects 171 9. On Masculinities, Technologies, and Pain: The Testing of Male Contraceptives in the Clinic and Media 191 10. Articulating Acceptability 209 11. Technologies of Trust 225 Notes 243 Bibliography 269 Index 293