The vagina has been seen as a symbol of strength and fertility—and sometimes punishment
By Carrie Weisman / AlterNet
Despite the prevalence of sexually suggestive imagery in our culture, we’re still a bit squeamish when it comes to vaginas. But that wasn’t always the case.
“Before Western religion introduced the pesky concept of shame, female genitalia were venerated in ancient mythology,” writes Catherine Blackledge, author of The Story of V: A Natural History of Female Sexuality. Blackledge details how skirt lifting, or “ana suromai,” was once thought to help ward off evil and increase crop yields. She points out that 17th-century drinking mugs used to sport depictions of Satan cowering at the sight of an exposed vagina. Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks paraded around cakes shaped like vulvas during the three-day, women-only Syracusan Thesmophoria festival. [Read more…]