Chapter

“A sort of animal or mechanic immortality”

in Reproduction by Design

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226560694
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226560717 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226560717.003.0005
“A sort of animal or mechanic immortality”

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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This chapter shifts the attention from robots to real men, revealing how hormones were first envisaged as being able to improve male sexual performance and then extended to the notion of generally promoting social efficiency. This would include their employment to enforce or restore sexual “normality.” The efficacy and morality of exploiting ductless glands for sexual and social purposes are explored. The most significant impact of the early research on the internal secretions was in reformulating discussions of sex and gender. Researchers claimed that hormones would make women better wives and mothers. The moral of both The Cheetah Girl and the Lili Elbe story seemed to be that women could be created. The discovery of hormones had recast eugenics. Rejuvenation, eugenics, and endocrinology were each in their own ways symptoms of the twentieth-century desire to enhance the body.

Keywords: hormones; male sexual performance; social efficiency; glands; sex; gender; eugenics; endocrinology; rejuvenation

Chapter.  12705 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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