Thursday, February 14, 2008

More on Anatomical Waxes...From an Unlikely Source

Bonnie Ruberg, authoress of The Village Voice's web column "Heroine Sheik: Sex, Gender, Tech, Culture, and Video Games," sent me this link to her musings on Florentine anatomical waxes. Following is my favorite quote, but check out the whole piece here.
The thing that really fascinates me about these figures, of course, isn’t their creepiness; it’s how they capture a set of historical ideas about sex, gender, and the female body in the form of “science.” It makes you wonder about scientific technology we have today. How is it biased? How does it reveal our own assumptions about sex and gender in between the lines of “fact”? And will it look quite so grotesque to museum-goers in another two or three hundred years?

Photo: 18th century Florentine obstetrical wax held in the Josephinum in Vienna.

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