From the womb to the tomb: Female sexuality as a weapon

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The vagina dentata, or toothed vagina, is a myth that exists in some cultures. The belief is this: behind a pussy’s lips lie rows of razor-sharp teeth, ready to chomp down on whatever comes their way. Vagina dentata can be seen as a metaphor for men’s (and society’s) fear of female sexuality. Women are sexual predators, temptresses, and seductresses. Men should steer clear of their wickedness and women should be branded with a warning label: Danger! Sex may result in your death or castration. Whether the myth is part of an ancient Chinese folk story or an Aboriginal tribal legend, the concept of the vagina dentata is also present in our society (albeit in many altered forms).

The anti-rape condom, or Rapex, is a new product which has a design guaranteed to perpetuate the vagina dentata myth. After hearing a rape victim state, “If only I had teeth down there,” Sonette Ehler, the inventor of the product, was inspired to create the condom-shaped device lined with sharp hooks. Any man who tries to rape a woman and inserts his peeper into a Rapex will be unpleasantly surprised and momentarily incapacitated. While it currently awaiting patent approval before it can hit the shelves, there is already objection to the device on the basis that women could seduce their ex-boyfriends or other assholes while wearing Rapex in order to get back at them. Pricks beware.

Femdefence (or the “stabby tampon” as I fondly call it) is similar to Rapex, except instead of a condom with hooks, it’s a tampon with a sharp pin attached to the end. However, this product is imaginary, and was only designed to help spread awareness about sexual violence against women.

Beyond product design, the vagina dentata can also be found in representations of female sexuality in pop culture. Possible spoilers for uh, GoldenEye, Dracula, and Hard Candy.

Consistently ranked amongst the top 5 best Bond Girls, Famke Janssen’s over-the-top performance as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye demonstrates that female sexuality is dark, dangerous, and deadly. Onatopp is hands-down the most original Bond babe with her legs up. Like a true black widow, Onatopp kills her victims during sex by squeezing them to death with her thighs. Not only a psychotic killer, she is supposedly the first girl in the whole Bond franchise to orgasm.


above: see Onatopp in action, courtesy of youtube

Lucy Westenra, the virgin-turned-vampire in Stoker’s Dracula, demonstrates the phenomenon of vagina dentata. While this time around our femme fatale’s fangs are in another place, Lucy’s sexuality is still deadly. As a vampire, Lucy is evil and impure. She’s also quite the seductress and described as being more beautiful than she was when alive. Lucy proves to be a danger for society and her actions beg for Van Helsing and his friends to plunge their stakes into her and nail her…in her coffin.

Not quite a femme fatale, Haley Stark in the 2005 film Hard Candy is nevertheless an example of how female sexuality can result in male castration or death. Haley is a teenager who, after meeting an older man over the internet, decides to go home with him. As the plot unfolds, it becomes evident that Haley suspects the man to be a pedophile and had planned their meeting in order to wreak havoc upon his life (and his manhood). The poster of Hard Candy is proof of the vagina dentata phenomenon as it shows Haley standing in a bear trap as bait. The pedophile is attracted to young girls (who he sees as helpless) and only later finds out that Haley is using sex to reel him in.



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