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April 26, 1995

Sex and Gender Bias in Illustrations in Anatomy and Physical Diagnosis Texts

Author Affiliations

North Liberty, Iowa

JAMA. 1995;273(16):1256. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400025028

To the Editor.  —I read with interest the concerns of Ms Mendelsohn and colleagues1 about sex and gender bias in anatomy and physical diagnosis text illustration. The article awakened my sense of injustice to the lingering influences of the waning patriarchy. I passed the article to several colleagues who then realized that their body types had not been represented among the standard anatomy configurations. One, in particular, weighs 370 pounds, and another from Taiwan noted that he could never recall having seen an epicanthal fold depicted in illustrations in Western anatomy textbooks.Having my awareness raised that anatomy illustrations have the power to "create the perception that the male body is 'normal' and the female body 'abnormal,'" I became concerned as a senior citizen that only bodies of the young were depicted. In the absence of illustrations of potbellies and sagging buttocks, would physicians now in training regard my

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