Hegemony and homogeneity: Donor Choices of Israeli Recipients of Donor Insemination

Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, Ruth Weissenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the relevance of hegemony theory to choices of sperm donors made by Jewish Israeli recipients of donor insemination (DI). The context is the objectification of ‘the Natural’ through hegemonic images of mass consumption. The study, which was conducted in a major Israeli hospital, examined physiological features (height, eye colour, skin colour) of the most popular donors. In the highly familistic society of Israel, recipients’ choices conformed to images of their own ‘natural family’. Within the limits of the family’s looks, choices revealed a convergence of specific type of physiognomy - that of the hegemonic Ashkenazi man. While recipients tended to reproduce their own appearance they often ‘compromised’ it towards the kind of looks constructed as desirable in the mass media. The choice of donors by DI recipients presents an extreme case in which people construct their own family by incorporating hegemonic ideals of mass consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • Israel
  • assisted reproduction
  • choice
  • donor insemination
  • hegemony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology


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