Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A gnashing of teeth

My challenge today is to discuss a somewhat explicit subject without this post becoming offensive. Here goes. I was reading a book about strange patents that my Mom had picked up from the remainders table for me, thinking it might contain something blogworthy. Halfway through, I came across patent #7131444 issued in 2006: Internal implement allotropy sexual aid utensil universal-DISK.* Applicant Jacob Turner III describes:
"The invention is made to prevent unwanted penal penetration and to give a non-lethal pain if forced vagina penetration is attempted and to collect bodily fluids from the head of the would-be rapist penis in a specimen cavity within the circular elongated tubular one-piece embodiment. It is an intra-vaginal anti-rape invention...[hyphens added]."
If the the mere threat of the action of this small but vicious device fails to prevent sexual assault, it is designed not only to exact immediate revenge, but to capture evidence that will convict the attacker. This invention reminded me of the cross-cultural myth of the vagina dentata, a female sex organ with teeth, symbolic of an unconscious male fear of having his sexual organ removed or injured during intercourse. "Probably no male human being is spared the terrifying shock of threatened castration at the sight of female genitals," wrote Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). As a recently published book indicates, Turner's patented device is one of many conceived to equip a woman's orifice with teeth. But American doctor Dean Edell recounts reading some years ago about a gynecologist who actually saw some natural teeth growing in a vagina. "Can you imagine?" he asks. "Day in and day out, nothing but pap smears, and then one day you put in the speculum and there are some choppers staring back at you!" The misplaced teeth, which parallel the myth, were a consequence of a dermoid cyst that had grown in her pelvis and ruptured through the upper end of the vaginal canal.

I decided to illustrate the post with a close-up of the 16th-17th c. chastity belt displayed in the Doge's Palace in Venice. Though their history is sketchy, these devices were locked in place around the waist and between the legs to prevent the wearer from having sex, whether the act is initiated by the woman (adultery, masturbation) or by an attacker (rape). This seemed more appropriate than the humorous images I considered, including these panties (provenance unknown), this cartoon, or one of these cakes (scroll down). A couple of these sources mention the 2007 film "Teeth," which is apparently a step above the typical horror film that could devolve from a theme like the vagina dentata. Lastly, the title of the post is taken from a bible verse and indicates the action of the wicked (including rapists?) when they are cast into hell.

*Thank you, Google Patent Search!

1 comment:

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