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