From South Park to Kathy Acker, from Lars Von Trier to Sex and the City, women's sexual organs are demonized. In The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History, Emma L.E. Rees investigates the evolution of this demonization: she considers how writers, artists and filmmakers contend with the dilemma of he vagina's puzzling 'covert visibility' and how the 'c-word' is an obscenity that both legitimates and perpetuates the fractured identities of women globally. In our postmodern, porn-obsessed culture, vaginas appear to be everywhere, literally or symbolically but, crucially, they are as silenced as they are objectified. Even common slang terms for the vagina can be seen as an attempt to divert attention away from the reality of women's lived sexual experiences: slang offers a convenient distraction from something taboo. The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History is an important contribution to the ongoing debate in understanding the feminine identity.
"The broadest survey yet ...lively, thought-provoking, and richly researched." Naomi Wolf, author of Vagina: A New Biography
Emma L.E. Rees is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Chester, UK.
1. Revealing the Vagina: Introduction 2. Revealing the Vagina: Antecedents 3.Revealing the Vagina in Literature 4. Revealing the Vagina in Visual Art (1): Judy Chicago 5. Revealing the Vagina in Visual Art (2): Birth's Wide Berth 6. Revealing the Vagina on Film and TV 7. Revealing the Vagina in Performance Art 8. Revealing the Vagina: Conclusion Revealing the Vagina: Bibliography Index