Vagina dentata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A spiked Venetian chastity belt.

Vagina dentata (Latin for toothed vagina) describes a folk tale in which a woman's vagina is said to contain teeth, with the associated implication that sexual intercourse might result in injury or castration for the man involved.

In folklore[edit]

Such folk stories are frequently told as cautionary tales warning of the dangers of unknown women and to discourage rape.[1]

Erich Neumann relays one such myth in which "a fish inhabits the vagina of the Terrible Mother; the hero is the man who overcomes the Terrible Mother, breaks the teeth out of her vagina, and so makes her into a woman".[2]

The legend also appears in the mythology of the Chaco and Guiana tribes of South America. In some versions, the hero leaves one tooth.[3] An Ainu language tale containing this element was published as "The Island of Women" by Basil Hall Chamberlain, where it was described by E. B. Tylor as a well known Japanese tale.[4]

Hinduism[edit]

In Hinduism, the asura Andhaka, son of Shiva and Parvati (but not aware of it), is killed by Shiva when he tries to force the disguised Shiva into surrendering Parvati. Andhaka's son Adi, also an asura, takes the form of Parvati to seduce and kill Shiva with a toothed vagina in order to avenge Andhaka, but is also slain.[5]

Metaphorical usage[edit]

In her controversial best-seller Sexual Personae (1991), Camille Paglia wrote:

The toothed vagina is no sexist hallucination: every penis is made less by every vagina, just as mankind, male and female, is devoured by mother nature.[6]

In his book The Wimp Factor, Stephen J. Ducat expresses a similar view, that these myths express the threat sexual intercourse poses for men who, although entering triumphantly, always leave diminished.[7]

Medical[edit]

In rare instances, teeth may be found in a vagina. Dermoid cysts are formed from the outer layers of embryonic skin cells. These cells are able to mature into teeth bones or hair, and these cysts are able to form anywhere the skin is or where the skin folds inwards to become another organ, such as in the ear or the vagina.

Dermoid cysts occur most commonly in the ovary. If it ruptures there, the teeth may migrate through the vagina.[1][better source needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Rankin, Lissa (2010). What's Up Down There?: Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend. St. Martin's Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-312-64436-9. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  2. ^ Neumann, Erich; translated by Ralph Manheim (1955). The Great Mother. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 168. 
  3. ^ Leach, Maria (1972). "vagina dentata". Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. entry by Erminie W. Voegelin. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. p. 1152. ISBN 0-308-40090-9. 
  4. ^ Chamberlain, B. H. "The Island of Women" Aino Folk-Tales, 1888. pp. vii, 37.
  5. ^ O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger (1981). Śiva: The Erotic Ascetic. London & New York: Oxford University Press. p. 188. ISBN 0-19-520250-3. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Paglia, Camille (1991). Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, NY:Vintage; p. 47
  7. ^ Ducat, Stephen J. (2004). The Wimp Factor. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 115–149. 
  8. ^ "Dentata: An anti-rape device", Technovelgy.com

External links[edit]