Gender Neutral Object: the Pelvis


Pictured here is a model of a human pelvis. When thinking of a gender neutral object, I immediately thought of something that we all have: a skeleton. This particular model is used by one of my friends who is a medical illustration student here at RIT.

While we all know that everyone has a pelvis, there is the question of whether this object is truly neutral or if it has more masculine or feminine features. The truth is that this is a model of a female pelvis. While this may not be clear to most people, there’s two ways to tell. Firstly, and most obviously, the model is in fact labeled as a female pelvis. Secondly, this pelvis is wider than a male pelvis. If you were ever looking for an example of a male pelvis for comparison, most classroom skeletons use male pelvis’s, though some do use an “in between” version.

To address the question of how I feel when someone does not appear to be distinctly male or female, this does not bother me at all. I am a firm believer that both gender and sexuality are on a spectrum and in no way binary. To me, to hold the belief that people must be confined to traditionally masculine and feminine roles is unfair and limiting to those who do not feel that they strictly fit into those categories.


5 thoughts on “Gender Neutral Object: the Pelvis

  1. I think this was an interesting object to choose to photograph. While the pelvis itself isn’t particularly gender-neutral (it’s one of the most easily identified bones to determine sex), the skeleton is, since every gender has one. It’s an interesting perspective to show how no matter how hard we try to maintain neutrality in our lives, we can always push further and read a stereotype (or in this case, a gender) into something, even as ubiquitous as a bone.

  2. To follow up on the last comment, this was a great object to pick for the fact that it proves we cannot escape the physical traits and hormones we have been assigned by genetics. In the context of this assignment I agree that unless you have a female and male pelvis side by side I cannot tell that this is a female pelvis. However, it is taught in all schools the anatomy and bone structure differences between females and males, and how the female body is designed for the miracle of child birth. Therefore, I would need to do a lot more research on the physical attributes of the brains to determine if in fact it is possible to distinguish any difference. Because if the brains all come the same, (software of a human), and the skeletal structures are different by design (the hardware), it begs the question how the feelings that we humans have come about. Because I do not have any issues with people wanting to do whatever makes them happy. As long as they do not try to press their beliefs onto anyone else. Everyone needs to just live and let live, there is no “right gender” or “right identification”. There is really not “gender suggesting” or “gender specific products” it is all based on the culture and beliefs the person has that is looking at the products. If you handed someone, who had no previous knowledge of condoms, a condom and told them it was a water balloon and explained to them how to use it as a water balloon, then they would not think of this product as a “man’s product”, but instead a toy that they would share with anyone who wanted to play.

  3. We all have one ting in common, our skeleton. We all have a heart, a brain, ribs and so on. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the dame. Granted, there might different sizes that certain structure’s in our body take on but they are the same structures that we share.

    I saw a picture posted on Facebook of two graves one of a rich person and one of a poor person. The grave was the same because at the end of the day we all are going to die whether you are rich or poor. Its kind of like this picture, we are all human regardless of our skin color! I wish more people these days would notice that.

  4. Anatomy on this level is seemingly unbiased. And while certainly their are exceptions and nuances to consider, there is certainly no definitive way to know by looking at this picture without a developed understanding of male versus female bone structures.

    When I looked at this picture for the first time my brain attempted to ascribe the label of male or female, and being unable to do so with certainty makes this a truly neutral image that is rare amongst provocative visuals.

  5. I think when talking about gender and the gender binary, we should note that gender and sex are two different things that we often use interchangeably even though they aren’t. Correct me if I’m off, but i believe that sex refers to the biology of a living thing, specifically what genitals and hormones the living thing has. Gender on the other hand is a social construct. It is the ideals and roles that we place on people and things to categorize them into very specific binary/boolean categories.

    For example, if a person has a penis (is of the male sex) or a male pelvis, it does not necessarily mean that they identify their gender as a he/him. They could identify as female or even as gender neutral. They could prefer pronouns such as they/them or she/her, because like objects, people can be gender neutral as well. When we realize this disconnect we can see how silly it is that we place so much gender on ordinary objects.

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