Saturday, April 26, 2008

Of different subconscious attitudes towards representations of our sexual organs

A friend and I were discussing about the similar attitudes (across cultures) towards humankind representation of our sexual organs.

In particular, I find this paragraph illuminating:

...We project our archetypal terrors onto the widow. It is black; it avoids the light; it is a voracious carnivore. Its red markings suggest blood. Its name, its sleek, rounded form invite a strangely sexual discomfort: the widow becomes an emblem for a man's fear of extending himself into the blood and darkness of a woman, something like the vampire of Inuit legend that takes the form of a fanged vagina.

-Taken from The Red Hourglass. Lives of the Predators by Gordon Price (pp 41 - 42).

In Chinese, the vagina is known as 阴道, or 'dark alley'.

There are other obvious ones - caves; where as children we read many stories of them being the home of malevolent creatures who would have no qualms about eating us alive should we ever be so foolish in trespassing their territory.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

And then we built phallic symbols to honor our heroes and gods. Even for my university - the most prominent landmark on campus is a penis-like structure that juts into the sky and a favorite of many official school photographs. A running (sexist) joke was that a female student could get an orgasm simply by impaling herself on it, if she could climb to the top.

Towards the end of our discussion, the friend simply summarized it as "Penis Envy". In coarser terms - the difference between 'getting fucked' and 'fucking others'. The former implies submission, subordination and weakness, while the latter simply means power and control of others. Do you want to be the ruled? Or the ruler?

No comments: