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Of Monkeys, Men and Menstruation: Gendered Dualisms and the Absent Referent in Mid‐Twentieth Century British Menstrual Science

Duxbury, Catherine (2019) 'Of Monkeys, Men and Menstruation: Gendered Dualisms and the Absent Referent in Mid‐Twentieth Century British Menstrual Science.' Journal of Historical Sociology, 32 (1). 94 - 107. ISSN 0952-1909

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Abstract

In this paper, I analyse the historical constructions of menstruation in mid‐twentieth century Britain. I examine the complex intertwining relations between the female human body and the female nonhuman body. My argument is twofold: firstly, I argue that endocrinological experiments on nonhuman animals' reproductive cycles were mobilised towards affirming a binary division of female/male, animal/human. This facilitated the perpetuation of patriarchal ideologies in British biomedical research. Secondly, I argue that as a result of these dualistic conceptualisations, the female nonhuman body intersected with the female human body in scientific discourses. These bodily transmutations in scientific research contributed towards a form of social control over women, strategically rendering them as ‘Other’ with nonhuman animals. I illustrate this using Carol J Adams' (2015) concept of the absent referent.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 18:51
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2020 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25643

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