City Hall

Anti-"Bodies" Legislation Moves Forward

By Erica C. Barnett July 14, 2010

The Seattle P-I reports on the progress of a city council proposal we wrote about in Morning Fizz a few weeks ago: A Nick Licata-sponsored bill banning displays of human remains, such as the controversial "Bodies" exhibit, has passed out of a city council committee. (As Morning Fizz noted when the legislation was introduced, it could provide fodder to columnists like Joni Balter, who like to mock the council for being "PC.")

Human-rights advocates oppose the “Bodies” exhibit because it includes Chinese cadavers that were obtained from medical schools in China; critics have expressed concern that the bodies may have come from murder victims, prisoners, or mental-health patients.

Additionally—putting on my Crank hat for a minute—the exhibit is sexist. Male cadavers are shown in active, often heroic, roles—running, fencing, riding horses, playing football and basketball—while female cadavers are shown in mostly passive poses suggesting motherhood and beauty: a ballerina in slippers, a reclining pregnant cadaver whose womb is exposed to show her fetus, and a cadaver with its feet contorted as if wearing stiletto heels.

The proposal will now head to a vote of the full council. San Francisco banned "Bodies" and similar exhibits in 2005.
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