Half a Man
Half a Man
The Symbolism and Science of Paraplegic Impotence in World War II America
At the conclusion of World War II, more than 600,000 men returned to the United States with long-term disabilities, profoundly destabilizing male sexuality in America. This chapter excavates the contours of that change and its attendant anxieties in order to broaden scholarly interpretations of sexuality in the postwar period. Ultimately, the chapter shows that, although sexual reproduction is often coded female and sexual performance male, such a popularly held binary does not hold true when it comes to the history of paraplegic World War II veterans. To these veterans, and to the medical men who treated them, sexual reproduction became the ultimate signifier of remasculinization.
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