Teeth Marks I

Got an email from the California Lawyer yesterday, in which he recounted stumbling across Teeth in Ye Olde Video Shoppe. He didn’t rent it, but he also couldn’t believe I hadn’t written about it.

Actually, I had – but for another blog, and the other blog ended up never running the posts. So now they’ve ended up on the ash-heap of Godsbody. The language gets a little blue. Reader discretion is advised.

Teeth (now in theaters!) tells the story of a Dawn, a high-school beauty who “works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group’s most active participant.” But when she becomes the victim of a sexual assault, she “discovers that she has a toothed vagina.” That’s right, she’s “a living example of the vagina dentata myth.” Fun!

But kids today, they don’t know from nothin’. So the film’s website features a helpful tutorial. Let’s fisk, shall we?

“Vagina dentata, the unconscious belief that a woman may eat or castrate her partner during intercourse — literally, the ‘toothed vagina’ — is a classic mythological symbol of men’s fear of sex.

[Well, which is it? Unconscious belief or mythological symbol? Do men unconsciously believe that women will castrate them during sex? Or does the toothed vagina stand for something else? Say, the power of sex? Or woman’s power over man in the sexual arena? (See also, p****whipped.) But let’s not quibble!]

It appears in the mythology of countless cultures and societies down through the years.

• One Native American myth states ‘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.’

[Um, is this about the fear of sex, or about the fear of matriarchal domination? Never mind – next!]

• The Yanomamo said one of the first beings on earth was a woman whose vagina became a toothed mouth and bit off her consort’s penis.

[Which makes you wonder how we ever got the next beings on earth…]

• The more patriarchal the society, the more deeply rooted the fear seems to be. Men of Malekula, having overthrown their matriarchate, were haunted by a Yonic spirit called ‘that which draws us to It so that It may devour us.’

[There has got to be a Nine Inch Nails song in here somewhere…]

• Chinese patriarchs said women’s genitals were not only gateways to immortality but also “executioners of men.”

[Yeah, there’s pretty much no way to comment on this without crossing whatever lines there are left to cross…]

• Muslim aphorisms said: “Three things are insatiable: the desert, the grave, and a woman’s vulva.”

[You mean to say that all this time, porn has been telling the truth about women? That they really do live in a state of perpetual sexual desire? Muslims and porn: finding common ground at last.]

• Polynesians said the savior-god Maui tried to find eternal life by crawling into the mouth (or vagina) of his mother Hina, in effect trying to return to the womb of the Creatress; but she bit him in two and killed him.

[Again, is this fear of sex, or another way of saying that you can’t go home again? That Mommy’s vagina is not where you belong?]

Looking into, touching or entering the female orifice seems fraught with hidden fears, signified by the confusion of sex with death in overwhelming numbers of male minds and myths.

[Oh. I thought the confusion of sex and death came from ecstasy – ex-stasis, standing outside yourself, the ‘little death’ of orgasm. Turns out it was just our fear of caves.]

Since vulvas have labiae, “lips,” many men have believed that behind the lips lie teeth. Christian authorities of the middle ages taught that certain witches, with the help of the moon and magic spells, could grow fangs in their vaginas. They likened women’s genitals to the “yawning” mouth of hell. How’s that for romantic?”

[Almost as romantic as taking time out to unroll a condom over your engorged member! Seriously, though. I’m not about to mount a defense of medieval attitudes toward sex. (Heh, heh, he said, “mount.”) But I do think it worth noting that those “Christian authorities” viewed the fanged vagina as an aberration of nature – the purview of witches, who altered nature via magic. That’s a little different from simply regarding everyday, ordinary vaginas as “executioners of men.”]

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