Wednesday, December 06, 2006

External Genitalia and 60,000 miles

We just got back from viewing Bodies The Exhibition at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. It was an amazing exhibit overall, totally fascinating though a bit unsettling for those who get queasy at the site of blood and internal organs. The exhibit peels back the skin (literally) on donated or unclaimed "John and Jane Does" to reveal muscles, digestives systems, organ functions, veins, arteries, etc.

You name it, if it is part of the human body, they have preserved it, and it is on display.

The fact that I found most astounding was that each of our bodies are home to 60,000 miles of blood vessels. How incredible is that?

On another note, I did have one beef with the exhibit and that was the fact that the female bodies on display (of which there were very few) were labeled with the words "external genitalia" to describe the entire vaginal region. Rather than using what I understand to be the correct anatomical descriptors "labia minora, labia majora, and clitoris," everything was lumped together and described as "external genitalia." This might not be such a bother if the penis were also labeled "external genitalia," but alas, it was labeled with the big P word. And to top it off, the function of this "external genitalia" on the female body was also left unexplained, whereas "with stimulation" the penis was said to "fill with blood, increase in size and become erect."

Hhmmff, the last time I checked, the clitoris did that too.

Indeed, I am forever the feminist in search of misogyny in everyday life, but I can't help it, it is these kinds of exclusions that contribute to the lack of knowledge and understanding about the female body. The fact that these kinds of editorial decisions were made in an educational exhibit of this nature is like adding insult to injury.

So, suffice it to say that the exhibit was truly fabulous, but that it also reminded me that there is still much work to be done. Thank goodness for people like Eve Ensler.


pixelville said...

yeah. and thank goodness that people like us know the difference between the labia minora and the clitoris.

i mean, seriously.

piston said...

money says the exhibit was put on by men?! what is more disturbing than our potential uncomfortability with seeing what we are made of, is the issue of where did these bodies come from? Rumor has it they are prisoners who had no say in being exhibits. A bit eff'd up if true.

long live the clitoris!