Event Title

The Monstrous Mouths of Women in the #MeToo Era

Mentor 1

Jacqueline Stuhmiller

Location

Union 280

Start Date

5-4-2019 1:00 PM

Description

The vagina dentata, literally meaning “toothed vagina,” is an age-old, pervasive motif in art and literature that spans from ancient Greek epics to modern American media. Across time periods and cultures, depictions of the vagina dentata allow women to symbolically “bite back” against sexualized violence and castrate the men who attack them. Notably, these depictions often conflate women’s facial mouths with their toothy nether mouths. Thus, the facial mouth also operates as a locus of power and rebellion for women, another monstrous mouth. With the development of the #Me Too movement, women have begun utilizing their monstrous mouths to bite back in a new way: voicing their experiences of men’s sexual predation. In doing so, they have inspired a social revolution that empowers women and holds men accountable for their behavior. The rise of women’s voices has created a new form of castration: social and professional castigation of men who abuse their power. It has also challenged the notion that toxic masculinity, which is based in violence and dominating women, is the only masculinity, prompting many to question, “If this way of being a man is no longer acceptable…then what is? What is modern masculinity?” By examining manifestations of the vagina detanta in pivotal media moments over the past year, this paper provides an understanding of the present American moment and its shifting gender landscape, ultimately revealing a troubling, escalating pattern in which men and women become monstrous, unintelligible others to one another.

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Apr 5th, 1:00 PM

The Monstrous Mouths of Women in the #MeToo Era

Union 280

The vagina dentata, literally meaning “toothed vagina,” is an age-old, pervasive motif in art and literature that spans from ancient Greek epics to modern American media. Across time periods and cultures, depictions of the vagina dentata allow women to symbolically “bite back” against sexualized violence and castrate the men who attack them. Notably, these depictions often conflate women’s facial mouths with their toothy nether mouths. Thus, the facial mouth also operates as a locus of power and rebellion for women, another monstrous mouth. With the development of the #Me Too movement, women have begun utilizing their monstrous mouths to bite back in a new way: voicing their experiences of men’s sexual predation. In doing so, they have inspired a social revolution that empowers women and holds men accountable for their behavior. The rise of women’s voices has created a new form of castration: social and professional castigation of men who abuse their power. It has also challenged the notion that toxic masculinity, which is based in violence and dominating women, is the only masculinity, prompting many to question, “If this way of being a man is no longer acceptable…then what is? What is modern masculinity?” By examining manifestations of the vagina detanta in pivotal media moments over the past year, this paper provides an understanding of the present American moment and its shifting gender landscape, ultimately revealing a troubling, escalating pattern in which men and women become monstrous, unintelligible others to one another.