What lies beneath : medical imaging and the erotic in public culture

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What lies beneath : medical imaging and the erotic in public culture

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Title: What lies beneath : medical imaging and the erotic in public culture
Author: Wise, Rebecca Louise
Abstract: The  anatomic  human  body  is  increasingly  visible  in  public  culture.  Representations  of  the  body  sourced  from  or  imitative  of  the  images  produced  by  medical  imaging   technology  are  bloodless  depictions  that  highlight  the  body’s  internal  structures  and  elide its viscerality. Despite the deliberate exclusion of the flesh, many of these images are saturated  in  erotic  potential,  both  implicitly  and  explicitly.  These  images  emerge  in  a  culture   preoccupied  with  the  visualization  and  control  of  women’s  bodies  and  sexualities. Feminist  scholars  have  long  been  critical  of  the  ways  in  which  popular  media   constructs  the  body  as  an  object  for  erotic  consumption;;  the  anatomic  images  I  consider   here  go  one  step  further.  The  mainstream  gaze  has  previously  been  limited  to  the  exterior   surfaces  of  the  body,  with  the  penetrating  gaze  into  the  body’s  interior  restricted  to  the   medical  and  legal  establishments.  The  penetrating  gaze  is  increasingly  democratized  as   x-ray  and  other  interior  views  of  the  body  become  more  prevalent.The  texts  under  discussion  in  this  thesis  traverse  the  opaque  barrier  of  the  skin  and  serve  to  construct  the  totality   of  the  human  body  as  an  object  to  be  examined  and  consumed. While  X-­rated  x-­rays  can,  sometimes,  offer  a  potential  site  of  resistance  to  gen-­ dered  surveillance  of  the  anatomic  body,  their  increasing  ubiquity  demonstrates  the   escalation  of  a  dominating  surveillant  regime  intent  on  penetrating  and  controlling  the   anatomic  body.  The  images’  uncritical  public  consumption  provides  an  insidious  route  by which that regime may be normalized, furthered and even glorified.
Department: Women's and Gender Studies
Subject: Medical imaging Popular culture Pornography Gender Sexuality
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2012-08-6041
Date: 2012-08

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