Zu ähnlich – Neue Klitorisbilder aus Kunst und Wissenschaft


  • Claudia Reiche




Too Similar: New Images of the Clitoris in Art and Science

What influence do visual and especially digital media have on what is conceived of as a body, especially a female body, from a medical point of view? With examples of new 3D visualizations in film, television, and the fine arts based on a short paper in the US Journal of Urology in 1998 by Helen O’Connell, a “new” discourse on the clitoris is analyzed. Two narratives are found to interweave in this process: one, the belief in 3D visualization derived with the “truth machine” computer; and the other, a claim to the first “objective” anatomical description of the female body by a woman researcher. Instead of referencing feminist and historical anatomical findings, a notion of ahistorical “objectivity” is maintained that interlocks perfectly with the popular myths of the visually unveiled “truth” of the body by digital media. A blow to psychoanalysis, especially Sigmund Freud, is added to these evidence myths with an acclaimed “end of penis envy” through the revelation of the true size of the clitoris. Ironically it was Freud who based his writings on the “real little penis of the woman” – anatomically well informed by the excellent nineteenth-century German anatomical literature on the clitoris.