Recently i visited my local science museum (also my place of employment) to take a look at the newest exhibit: Body Worlds and the Brain. Super cool, slightly unsettling, fascinating displays of preserved cadavers called plastinates.
If you haven’t been to a Body Worlds exhibit or are not familiar with them, they are pretty darn cool, especially if you happen to be a science nerd. Created by a man called Gunther Von Haggen who created a unique and revolutionary technique for preserving cadavers. Using a resin like substance to replace all the fluids in the body which then hardens. Once hardened the bodies are then dissected and displayed in very eye catching and sometimes disturbing ways.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had plenty of “oh wow!” moments and a handful of speechless unsettled moments
One thing did come to my mind as i was walking through the exhibit and was also noticed by a friend of mine. In looking at all the plastinates i noticed a difference between the males and females. Every male figure was placed in either an aggressive action pose associated with a typically male dominated sport.
Every female figure was placed in either a action pose associated with more passive or less aggressive sports (i.e. yoga, swimming) or in sexually suggestive poses.
Adding onto those differences there was a larger number, by far, of male plastinates at the exhibit. One last difference was pointed out to me by my friend. Every male plastinate had its nipples removed and every single female had its nipples prominently displayed.
Even in scientific displays and exhibits that are mostly devoid of political or social commentary we see the socially accepted gender roles being reinforced and any alternative gender role subtly downplayed