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April 26, 1995

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

Author Affiliations

Tucson, Ariz

JAMA. 1995;273(16):1257. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400025032

To the Editor.  —I read with interest and amazement the article by Ms Mendelsohn and colleagues1 regarding sex and gender bias in medical textbooks. The authors did not pursue their premises to their logical conclusions, however.According to the authors, the "underrepresentation of women in anatomy texts" (ie, more identifiably male pictures, illustrations, drawings, diagrams, and the like than identifiably female pictures, illustrations, drawings, diagrams, and the like) may "create the perception that the male body is 'normal' and the female body 'abnormal.'" Following that conclusion, it follows that all the neutral (not identifiable as male or female) pictures, illustrations, drawings, and diagrams should be banned from medical texts, since that would doubtless create the perception that a substantial number of humans are neither male nor female. This could create anxiety and confusion in the student, since they would never have encountered one of these beings. This could in

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