In Conceiving Masculinity, Liberty Walther Barnes puts the world of male infertility under the microscope to examine how culturally pervasive notions of gender shape our understanding of disease, and how disease impacts our personal ideas about gender.
Taking readers inside male infertility clinics, and interviewing doctors and couples dealing with male infertility, Barnes provides a rich account of the social aspects of the confusing and frustrating diagnosis of infertility. She explains why men resist a stigmatizing label like "infertile," and how men with poor fertility redefine for themselves what it means to be manly and masculine in a society that prizes male virility. Conceiving Masculinity also details how and why men embrace medical technologies and treatment for infertility.
Broaching a socially taboo topic, Barnes emphasizes that infertility is not just a women's issue. She shows how gender and disease are socially constructed within social institutions and by individuals.
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Mobilizing Gay Rights under Authoritarianism
2 Legal Restrictions, Political Norms, and Being Gay in Singapore
3 Timorous Beginnings
4 Cyber Organizing
6 Coming Out
7 Mobilizing in the Open
8 Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements
Appendix A: Research Design and Methods
Appendix B: Study Respondents: Singapore’s Gay Activists
Appendix C: Singapore’s Gay Movement Organizations and Major Events
"With much of the literature on infertility focusing on women, Liberty Walther Barnes’s new book, Conceiving Masculinity is an important addition because it provides an in-depth analysis of the personal and institutional understandings and experiences of male infertility.... Conceiving Masculinity fills a gap in the infertility literature and is relevant for scholars in the fields of gender, sexuality, bioethics, and health. Though thorough and grounded in theory, Barnes’s book is accessible and could also be an interesting and useful read for students, health care providers, and people facing infertility."--International Journal of Feminist Approached to Bioethics, Fall 2015
"Barnes explore[s] the experiences of American men diagnosed as infertile…. [She] is attentive to cultural, institutional, and individual perspectives. She describes a powerful association between masculinity and male fertility at each level of analysis…. [T]his book…has much to offer. Barnes had the fortitude to study a population that has been difficult to locate, let alone research extensively. She is skilled at asking questions that yield rich data, and her writing style is very accessible. Moreover, Barnes balances the right amount of empathy and analysis. I would highly recommend this book for those interested in examining connections between gender and medicine."--American Journal of Sociology
"Liberty Walther Barnes is part of a vanguard of reproduction scholars whose work is increasingly calling attention to men’s bodies and experiences in order to shed greater light on the cultural dimensions of reproduction, reproductive science, and reproductive medicine.... Barnes makes an important contribution in this arena.... The fact that Barnes amassed so much rich data is a feat in and of itself. It is indeed hard to find infertile men to study. Barnes’s book elucidates the historical, cultural, and gendered details as to why exactly men remain obscured in the landscape of infertility medicine.... Barnes’s book is an important step in acknowledging and analyzing the connection between men’s bodies, identity, and reproductive concerns.... [A]n engaging read."--Contemporary Sociology, July 2016