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“Sticking my finger up at evolution”: unconventionality, selfishness, resistance and choice in the talk of men who have had ‘preemptive’ vasectomies

Terry, Gareth and Braun, Virginia (2012). “Sticking my finger up at evolution”: unconventionality, selfishness, resistance and choice in the talk of men who have had ‘preemptive’ vasectomies. Men & Masculinities, 15(3) pp. 207–229.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1097184X11430126
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Abstract

Men’s interest in the contraceptive and reproductive spheres is often considered to be minimal, with management of these domains traditionally constructed as “feminine.” Despite this, some men, who have no interest in having children, choose to take a higher degree of control over their reproductive bodies, voluntarily seeking a “preemptive” vasectomy. This article reports on interview data with twelve men who had preemptive vasectomies, describing the shared meaning making (and subject positions) many of these men took up in relation to the operation. The subject positions can be identified by (1) descriptions of themselves and/or their lifestyles as “selfish,” and (2) descriptions of themselves and/or their lifestyles as “unconventional.” While these self-descriptors might be construed negatively, an indication of marginalization, the authors would argue that the men were able to put a positive spin on these features using neoliberal discourses of choice and personal responsibility. Access to such discourses might be seen as an indication of the men’s privileged rather than marginalized status, allowing them to make such a decision “easier” than it might be for many women. The authors would also suggest that having a preemptive vasectomy might be seen as a rejection of contemporary modes of involved fatherhood.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2012 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1552-6828
Keywords: vasectomy; childfree; masculinities; neoliberalism; pronatalism; "economy of gratitude"; heroism; masculinity; responsibility
Academic Unit/Department: Health and Social Care
Related URLs:
Item ID: 34286
Depositing User: Gareth Terry
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2012 09:12
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2013 17:47
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/34286
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