Seeing the vagina dentata (and Hillary?) in a shark jawbone.[zombizi / Flickr]
While researching The Hillary Rorschach Test, we came across a number of voices in the blogosphere calling Senator Clinton a “vagina dentata” — a vagina with teeth — to describe her as a high-powered female. As a toothy vagina, Hillary becomes the embodiment of an ancient (and still popular) myth of monstrous female sexuality.
In the political ecosystem of the country, Hillary is not a person. She is a Symbol. And not a nice symbol either. She is the Devil. The Satan himself. The Vagina Dentata personified. . . . As soon as her face shows up on the screen, the Regular American will recoil in fear. All rational brain activity instantly ceases. “The Democrats are running the scary toothy vaginal Devil! Take cover! Quick!”
Bora Zivkovic, Lefty Blogosphere and the Love/Hate of Hillary, A Blog Around the Clock, January 19, 2007.
It’s no secret that Maureen Dowd has no love for Hillary Clinton. So her [February 8, 2006 column] decrying Ken “Closet Case” Mehlman’s designation of the right’s favorite object of vagina dentata fear as an “angry woman” is as surprising as it is spot-on . . . Mehlman’s “angry woman” designation is especially infuriating because it comes on the heels of decades of men telling women to keep their anger to themselves; that it’s somehow unseemly for women to be anything but smiling, placid, thorazine-loaded ciphers — sort of like Laura Bush, actually.
Jill, When Maureen Dowd is defending Hillary Clinton, you know that reality as we know it has been inverted, Brilliant at Breakfast, February 8, 2006.
“Yes, yes, I know that there are other things afoot, principally how skeert the Repugs must be of a Hillary campaign, but the language! Calling all deconstructionists and semioticians! “Stop Her Now,” whoo. I could go on that for weeks. Her. How sinister! (Or not.) Beware the succubus! (Or not.) The witch will eat your children! (Or not.) It’s hard to believe that in these advanced (sic) years of human evolution something as transparent, insipid, and anti-woman as this could pass the giggle test, let alone the Dark Political Overlord Come to Instill Fear of Senator Vagina Dentata Market Research test.
ae, Stop Her Now! (Bwaaahahaha), arse poetica, Wednesday, April 13, 2005.
Stephen J. Ducat may have produced the definitive word on the subject in his book The Wimp Factor, which contains a chapter called “Vaginas with Teeth and Castrating First Ladies: Fantasies of Feminine Danger from Eve to Hillary Clinton”:
“According to the author, over the millennia of anxious masculinity, various mythical women have figured prominently in the pantheon of anti-female demonology: Eve, Lilith, Pandora, Diana, Kali. These characters appear to be derivatives of a pervasive and primordial image of feminine monstrosity—the vagina dentata, or vagina with teeth.”
Marilyn Metzl, Review of The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity, Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association, Book Reviews, Winter 2007.