About Me

Find out more about me here.

26 June 2012

WALL•E Will Judge Us

Women don't stand like men--at least according to Carl Sagan's then-wife.

Michael Altman, at the Religion in American History blog, makes this passing observation:
The plaque was affixed [in 1972 and 1973] to the [Pioneer 10 and 11] spacecrafts in order to communicate some basic information to any extraterrestrial life they might encounter.... The plaque was meant to represent us (humans) to them (aliens). But more than that, the plaque also represents us to us. It shows...who we thought we were (that shapely white heterosexual couple with the man standing tall and waving while the woman extends her leg Angelina Jolie Oscar's style). It represented us to ourselves. [emphasis added; links and parentheticals original]
Let's set aside the heteronormativity, the Eurocentrism, and the curious lack of all body hair. If I were an alien who encountered this plaque somewhere in space, I would assume that human women had left legs that were somehow morphologically different from the left legs of human men. What the hell is that about? For a hint, take a look at these posts about contorted women in fashion at Sociological Images.

This is a good example of how even "science" is influenced by culture. In the classroom, this image could be used to spark discussion about the differences between biological realities and social depictions.

No comments:

Post a Comment