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PhallaciesHistorical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity$
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Kathleen M. Brian and James W. Trent, Jr.

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458997.001.0001

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Half a Man

Half a Man

The Symbolism and Science of Paraplegic Impotence in World War II America

Chapter:
(p.126) 6 Half a Man
Source:
Phallacies
Author(s):

Beth Linker

Whitney E. Laemmli

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190458997.003.0007

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.

Keywords:   World War II, veterans, sexuality, disability, masculinity, sexual reproduction, postwar

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