GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men's Reproductive Health (Paperback)
What is healthy sperm or the male biological clock? This book details why we don't talk about men's reproductive health and how this lack shapes reproductive politics today.
For more than a century, the medical profession has made enormous efforts to understand and treat women’s reproductive bodies. But only recently have researchers begun to ask basic questions about how men’s health matters for reproductive outcomes, from miscarriage to childhood illness. What explains this gap in knowledge, and what are its consequences?
Rene Almeling examines the production, circulation, and reception of biomedical knowledge about men’s reproductive health. From a failed nineteenth-century effort to launch a medical specialty called andrology to the contemporary science of paternal effects, there has been a lack of attention to the importance of men’s age, health, and exposures. Analyzing historical documents, media messages, and qualitative interviews, GUYnecology demonstrates how this non-knowledge shapes reproductive politics today.
About the Author
Rene Almeling is Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University and the author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.
"Almeling’s study is rich in its attention to non-knowledge. Just as social movement scholars have begun to note the absence of movements as well as those that occur,. . . sociologists should also attend to the absence of knowledge surrounding gender issues. Guynecology is methodologically rich, including analysis of historical documents, investigating how scientific knowledge is (or is not) disseminated and engaged by the media, and presenting Almeling's qualitative interviews about subjects' impressions of men’s reproductive health."
"In a work combining the history of medicine, gender theory and sociology, Almeling tries to more broadly explain why andrology, the male counterpart of gynecology, is only at its early stages. . . . According to Almeling, the fate of andrology has had a lasting influence on American culture and politics, shaping, through its absence, beliefs about reproduction that we still witness and inherit today."
"For Almeling, the important thing is, apart from making a greater investment in further research, being educated and
further disseminating the knowledge that already exists. There is little, but we are not completely in the dark."
— El País
"GUYnecology asks why medicine has failed to fully probe 'the male gonad,' as one scientist put it, and its role in human reproduction. Almeling explains why no medical specialty exists that is devoted to male reproductive health—the guy equivalent of gynecology. When it comes to penis science, it seems, men have gotten shafted."
— Scientific American
"In its core argument that knowledge and non-knowledge about reproductive health stem from binary and 'opposite' conceptualizations of gender, GUYnecology is a critical contribution to our understanding of men, masculinities, and reproduction."
— Men and Masculinities
"GUYnecology is both accessible and imaginative from the opening tableau. . . . Almeling makes use of helpful analogies and metaphors to explain what can sometimes be complex or highly theoretical concepts, such as those of relationships between gender and sex. Aside from the specific research contained in the book, these introductory explanations will no doubt be of use to those new to the subject (or process) of gender from an academic perspective, and for those teaching these subjects."
— Social History of Medicine
"GUYnecology is a generative book and acts as a foundation from which future scholars can build the field of reproductive health. The book convincingly argues the interconnectedness of political, social, and medical constructs in the production, circulation and reception of men’s reproduction. Studies of reproduction must destabilize the notion that reproduction relates specifically to cis-gendered women, and Almeling leaves us to ponder the implications of considering all people as reproductive. It is, perhaps, this tantalizing conclusive thought that will prove most generative for future research."
— New Genetics and Society
"An engaging and informative read. . . . Almeling’s conclusion about what should be done with regard to male reproductive health and paternal effects is, happily, parallel to what many feminists have recommended with regard to women’s reproductive care: she believes that what is needed is a combination of broad research and attention to social and environmental structures of health and illness."
— Nursing Clio