Male Delivery: Reproduction, Effeminacy, and Pregnant Men in Early Modern Spain

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Vanderbilt University Press, 2006 - History - 209 pages
Using the one-act comedy El parto de Juan Rana (John Frog Gives Birth) as a point of departure, Velasco argues that the figure of the pregnant man in early modern Spanish culture was not merely comic entertainment, but also served an important role as a physical representation of the anxieties about the changing roles of men and women at the time.

Men were increasingly taking over medical duties--especially surrounding childbirth--usually left to women and, as their medical knowledge increased, they became aware of bodies and behaviors--both male and female--that transgressed gender norms. The anxieties about men who acted in ways seen as increasingly womanly (from acting effeminately to participating in homosexual activity) played out in the character of pregnant Juan Rana.

Then, Velasco turns to Hollywood and asks if we might not use the lessons of Juan Rana to help explain why contemporary America is also fascinated by the idea of male pregnancy--think Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior--and our increasing anxiety over the changing face of masculinity in our own culture.

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About the author (2006)

Sherry Velasco is Professor of Spanish at the University of Kentucky and the author of The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire, and Catalina de Erauso and Demons, Nausea and Resistance in the Autobiography of Isabel de Jesus (1611-1682).

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