I got a catalog from the Bio Corporation today, from which I could order things like fetal pigs and preserved turtles, if I taught high school biology… or was just a creepy person, I guess. (The preserved skinned pregnant cats are the ones that weird me out the most. They cost $47 if they are triple-injected to show the arteries, veins, and hepatic portal system. I have no idea if that’s a good bargin. But I digress.)
Before I recycled it, I flipped through it idly. It opened to a page of Anatomical Charts, which included everything from “Whiplash Injuries of the Head and Neck” to “Pharynx & Larynx.” The first one was the simple poster, “The Muscular System.” Next, “The Female Muscular System.”
Somehow it wouldn’t bug me if they only had a muscular system chart with a male figure. It’d be cool, too, if they had “The Male Muscular System” and “The Female Muscular System,” even though the muscles are almost all the same. Even better, sell both with the title “The Muscular System” and just differentiate them in the product description rather than on the charts themselves. But the way they’ve done it puts “male” as default and “female” as “other”. This kind of thing raises my hackles more than most people would find reasonable, perhaps because I teach at a girls’ school. I know, we’ve come a long, long way in the past century, but this lingering unintentional sexism still rankles.
P.S. Bonus homogeneity points on the rest of your posters, too, Bio Corporation. Of the 40 posters that have visible skin, 37 are clearly Caucasian. The smiling woman on “Understanding Type 1 Diabetes” might be Asian and the figure on “Pregnancy and Birth” is possibly a light-skinned Hispanic woman. Only “Risks of Obesity” clearly shows a person of color - a black woman in a single-piece bathing suit who is, incidentally, not in the least bit obese. Also, all six charts about the eye and eye disorders show a blue iris. C’mon.