In our society, all things good, industrious and awe-inspiring are phallic: skyscrapers, the Washington Monument, and popsicles, to name a few. However, when it comes to terrifying, nightmarish and downright frightful images that permeate our cultural heritage, it has recently occurred to me that there is an astonishing variety of monsters that look like – ahem – female genitalia.
#1 The Sarlacc (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi):
This Vagina Dentata has been assiduously waxed to allow easy entry for Han Solo & company. And I thought it was Carrie Bradshaw who popularized the Brazilian…
#2 The Eye of Sauron (Lord of the Rings):
The would-be tyrant of Middle Earth gives potent new expression to the phrase “raging yeast infection.” If only Frodo’s Ring of Power was made of diflucan. (Or was it?)
#3 The Real World (The Matrix)
In the real world, human beings exist in mechanized wombs, sucking at the umbilical teats of the Machines. AKA, THE REAL WORLD IS A GIANT UTERUS. Even Freud, psycho-genital connoisseur that he was, did not imagine the entire human race crawling back in utero, en masse.
#4 Medusa (Greek myth)
Here we have a win for pubic hair. The venomous snakes curling out of Medusa’s head evoke the course, tangled, unkempt and unshaven vagina. Her gaping gaze turns men to stone. The scholars debate: is she a horrifying symbol of the castrating woman, or an epic figure of female empowerment? My question: what if the Ancient Greeks had known the art of Vajazzling?
#5 Megatron (Transformers)
Don’t think you’re above this, Michael Bay. Megatron has it all: the teeth, the smooth and silky veneer, the stony gaze, the clit-like V of a nose. You could call him Vagina Maxima.
Of course, the question: WHY do so many imaginary monsters look like women’s vaginas? And given this cultural context, can you really blame that guy who avoids going down on you? Maybe it’s just too terrifying. (That’s a joke. Make him kiss Megatron.)
Created as these films and epics were by men, then perhaps this striking resemblance does betray some kind of masculine fear of womanhood, or fear of sexual performance failure when confronted by said womanhood, or a subliminal admiration cum inferiority complex when faced with women’s incredible power, embodied full glory in her lady parts. Can I get an “All of the above”…?
I also can’t help but wonder: As women rise in the Entertainment Industry (we’ve got a ways to go), and when WE are the ones creating culture-defining characters in our blockbusters and epics, what will OUR monsters look like?
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
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