Invisible Lady Doctors and Bald Femininity: Professional Conference in Czech Reproductive Medicine
This article analyses visual representations of femininity and women at the annual conferences of the Czech Obstetric-Gynaecological Society. The analysis reveals representations objectifying women (and their bodies) in such a professional setting, based on the event documentation (conference programs and books of abstracts between 2006 and 2014, and field notes and photo documentation made during the conferences in 2012 and 2014). While the medical specialization of gynaecology and obstetrics deals with women’s bodies as objects of expertise, nevertheless the purpose of specialised professional conferences is to cultivate and spread recent knowledge in the field among practitioners, who are (gender neutral) professional experts. Omnipresent product advertisements targeted at women as consumers, and representation of women as objects, tend to reproduce stereotypical imagery of gender “appropriate” dual spheres and complicate the professional relationship between men and women in the specialization. The visual perspective applied to an event otherwise framed as expert and professional revealed significant gender bias, which helps us understand a particular aspect of gender relations in the medical profession that contributes to the reproduction of the notion of most medical specialisations as men´s professional world. The conference renders professional women invisible and their objectified and commodified body remains the very visible aspect of a bald femininity.
medical profession; gender; stereotypes; gender advertisements; late modern medicine