Wednesday, March 16, 2005

On Analogy and the Male Gaze

Much scholarship has been done regarding the Male and Scientific Gazes. I have read none of it, apart from an odd reference here and there. But, from what I gather, critiques of the Gaze(s) rest on a claim that women are isolated, objectified, and dominated by men who look at their bodies in pornography, film and advertisement, or the examination room. I wonder what scholars might say about this odd little analogy I stumbled aross while visiting Instapundit:
In an article published after the flight 587 crash, Professor James Williams of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world's leading authorities in this field[composite material], said that to rely on visual inspection was "a lamentably naive policy. It is analogous to assessing whether a woman has breast cancer by simply looking at her family portrait."
In this analogy, Williams seems to have yoked the Male and the Scientific Gazes together in a way that might make people groan and/or object. How analogous can airplane inspections and breast exams be? It might be even worse that the expert has made a scientificesque point by imagining a breast exam and a doctor looking at the woman's portrait.


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