Big sperm. The making of the (new) male repro-consumer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Have you tested your sperm count lately? Not only is reproduction increasingly becoming technologized, but men’s reproductive systems entangle with technological developments in complex ways. This paper takes its empirical point of departure from the marketing of three male fertility surveillance and optimization technologies to examine how men become discursively and visually implicated as repro-consumers. Whereas the Danish company ExSeed Health provides men with a take-home sperm test and lifestyle app, U.S.-located Snowballs Underwear and Polish CoolMen design cooling technologies to ‘naturally’ improve men’s fertility and testosterone levels. Theoretically, the paper draws upon social scientific theorizing of biomedicalization and fertility consumption as a way to ensure ideals of reproductive virility as well as critical studies of men and masculinity that view the latter as a social, relational, and historical construction. Situating the Fertility Tech industry as an important under-theorized example of emergent repro-technologies, this paper analytically discusses how ‘proactive’ and ‘prevention-conscious’ reproductive masculinities appear in the material. The allure of surveillance and optimization technologies lies, the article concludes, in the reiteration of a white, Western biomedical mandate to reproduce as well as in the continued optimization of reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal for Masculinity Studies
Volume15
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)172-188
ISSN1890-2138
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17. Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Fertility tech
  • fertility consumption
  • men
  • reproductive masculinity
  • surveillance and optimization technologies

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