A tale of two technologies: HPV vaccination, male circumcision, and sexual health

Laura M. Carpenter, Monica J. Casper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article brings insights from feminist science and technology studies to bear on recent public debates over the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which prevents many cervical cancers, and male circumcision as potential HIV preventive. In the United States, attempts to mandate HPV vaccination have activated intense concerns about female "promiscuity," whereas talk of promoting circumcision against HIV has triggered scant anxiety about American boys' sexuality. The authors show how intersections among gender, sexuality, race, and age have shaped responses to these two containment technologies-and how the technologies' deployment both relies on and reproduces meanings of gender and sexuality that constitute the omnipresent "double standard." The analysis develops an original feminist sociology of containment, explicating how social relations shape the innovation, reinvention, and use of technologies to contain particular sorts of bodies, fluids, and sexual practices-by whom, under what conditions, and for what purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-816
Number of pages27
JournalGender and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Cervical cancer
  • Children
  • HPV
  • Health
  • Medical
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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