As I wandered through the American Dream exhibition of American prints at the British Museum, https://richardswsmith.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/two-prints-i-long-to-see/ I came across this print by Ida Applebroog of the American Medical Association (AMA). Immediately I thought of my friend Tessa, who is much concerned to improve the way that doctors relate to patients and thinks that it is too often poor.
I doubt that the AMA, the conservative “trade union” of American doctors, will have bought this print. The AMA is not flattered. In fact, it’s condemned. The AMA, we immediately recognise, is represented by the three men in suits. They have their backs to us; they’re not interested in us. They are examining–without compassion, we feel–the naked woman. They sit, she stands, arms akimbo. She has a band across her face, representing both that they are not interested in her as a person but as a body and the way that medical journals publish pictures of patients without their consent, failing to recognise that a band across the eyes does not make somebody unidentifiable (try it on the Queen or Donald Trump).
But it gets worse. That picture would be bad enough, but the pale picture to the right of a man–a doctor, we presume–sucking his picture suggests both sexual and pecuniary abuse.