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Books, Journals, New Media
June 15, 2005

Male Pill

Author Affiliations
 

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(23):2940-2945. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2940-b

Near the center of Nelly Oudshoorn’s The Male Pill is a reproduced poster used by researchers in Edinburgh in the 1990s to recruit young men for a clinical trial of a male contraceptive pill. It shows an astronaut planting a flag emblazoned with a large X on the moon, which resembles a gigantic human ovum, with the caption “First Man on the Pill” (p 187). The poster suggests the catchphrase, “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we . . . ,” in this case, “develop a male contraceptive pill?” Oudshoorn, professor of gender and technology in the Netherlands, argues that cultural barriers, not technological barriers, have prevented the development of a male contraceptive pill. She presents a fascinating “biography of the male Pill” (p 225) from the 1970s through the 1990s.

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