Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centur

Jordanova, Ludmilla

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Treatise

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Jan-29-1997


Jordanova posits that medicine and science "contain implications about matters beyond their explicit content." Namely, they have historically made assumptions about women and their relation to science/medicine. Jordanova explores this relation through seven chapters.

Particularly interesting is Chapter Three, "Body Image and Sex Roles." Here Jordanova discusses the wax models used by medical students in the nineteenth century to learn about anatomy. These models were almost always female and sometimes even had flowing hair, pearl necklaces, and other realistic details. Jordanova argues that this gendering was no accident. The route to knowledge is historically associated with looking deep into the bodies of women.

Chapter Five pursues this theme, commenting on how nature is often configured as a female whose secrets will be revealed by masculine science. The final two chapters address twentieth century representations, including the gendered nature of drug advertisements in in-house medical magazines.


Harvester Wheatsheaf

Place Published

New York