Performing Gender

Gay Becker

in The Elusive Embryo

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520224308
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925243 | DOI:
Performing Gender

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As new reproductive technologies reflect cultural meanings and become a conduit for changing cultural practices, they signify both a challenge to and a reinforcement of the moral order. In light of enhanced politicization of gender experiences vis-à-vis technology, the moral economy of new reproductive technologies, built on a cultural ideology of productivity, maintains the status quo. Women and men struggling with infertility confront cultural ideologies surrounding gender norms. They seek a fit between their life situations and the cultural ideologies to which they subscribe. Given the implausibility of this task, they have been forced to work intensively with cultural dialogues in order to reconcile their experiences with cultural expectations. In doing so, they have been performing gender. This chapter takes stock of the challenges that this task entails. It consists redefining the predominant cultural ideals of manhood and womanhood. It requires altering pre-defined notions with customized ones.

Keywords: reproductive technologies; cultural practices; moral economy; cultural dialogues; reconcile; status quo

Chapter.  5943 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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