In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

“A History of Sluts”

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A chronicle of powerful women who made their mark and were slut shamed, “A History of Sluts,” by artists Chelsea Dom and Alice Lancaster, endeavors to expose these women and their treatment.

“Slut-shaming has become so engrained in our culture that it’s now a normal and accepted practice. Women are taught to see their bodies as something shameful. I wanted to show through my project that some of the most powerful and influential women in history have been slut shamed. It’s okay to be confident and empowered. We have to take away the fear associated with the female body, and not ostracize those who openly express their sexuality.”

Fear about the female body brought back memories of some of the early myths about women that embodied such fear like the vagina dentata (toothed vagina) myth of the Greeks.

Fun research this inquiry provoked and here are some of the unearthed jewels:

Vaginas with Teeth–and Other Sexual Myths, which is a riotously good read and short, if you are in the mood to be bewildered and bemused.

And for the completely whacky, there is this movie clip called Teeth, apparently a 2007 movie about a young woman who found she had teeth in her vagina? I missed it when it hit the theaters, so I’m guessing.

In other words, the fear of women and the aggression it provokes is age old. Enculturating women to be ashamed of their bodies, rape, mutilation by self or others, slut shaming and other practices, despite laws, public outcry and international outrage, persist.

Relentless exposure of these practices, specifically brought to women’s consciousness and men’s consciences is critical to change behaviors, and educate as well as empower all people.

I cannot get behind all political art, but I like this project. Art messages the way words do not. The drawn subjects are well-chosen and representative of impactful women. I look forward to owning a copy.

2 thoughts on ““A History of Sluts”

  1. Great post. I totally agree that slut shaming is an age old practice and has targeted women of power again and again in an attempt to take away their confidence. I actually recently finished a piece on a similar issue, dealing with the similarities between slut-shaming to the Witch Craze’s attack on women centuries ago. It also has a great deal to do with rape cases and witch hunts. You might find it interesting.

    https://scratchpaperessays.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/the-modern-witch-craze/

    The “A History of Sluts” art book sounds very interesting and I’ll have to take a look at it. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    • Hey, thank you for the comment and the link, which I will surely check out and let you know what I think. Yes, the Salem witch trials have just morphed into some other catch-22 for women to keep them down.

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