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.
Emma L.E. Rees