|ply by refusing to die when their ovaries did. Other theories I pitch for their contrariety, their power to buck the party line of woman's "nature," while still others I throw out like rice at a bride for luck, cheer, hope, and anarchy.|
|Admittedly, a Dionysian state of body is not easily won, for the female body has been abominably regarded over the centuries. It has been made too much of or utterly ignored. It has been conceived of as the second sex, the first draft, the faulty sex, the default sex, the consolation prize, the succubus, the male interruptus. We are lewd, prim, bestial, ethereal. We have borne more illegitimate metaphors than we have unwanted embryos.|
|But, women, we know how much of this is trash: very pretty, very elaborate, almost flattering in its ferocity, but still, in the end, trash. We may love men and we may live with men, but some of them have said stupendously inaccurate things about us, our bodies, and our psyches. Take the example of the myth of the inner sanctum. Men look at our bodies and they can't readily see our external genitals; our handy chamois triangle, that natural leaf of|
, obscures the contours of the vulva. At the same time men hunger to breach the portal of fur and the outer pleats, to reach the even more concealed internal genitalia, the sacred nave of the vagina. No wonder, then, that woman becomes conflated with interiority. Men want what they cannot see, and so they assume we relish, perhaps smugly, the moatness of ourselves. Woman the bowl, the urn, the cave, the musky jungle. We are the dark mysterium! We are hidden folds and primal wisdom and always, always the womb, bearing life, releasing life, and then sucking it back in again, into those moist, chthonic plaits. "Male sexuality, then, returning to this primal source, drinks at the spring of being and enters the murky region, where up is down and death is life, of mythology," John Updike has written.
|But, sisters, are we cups and bottles, vessels and boxes? Are we orb-weaving spiders crouched in the web of our wombs, or blind spiders living in the underground of our furtivity? Are we so interior and occult? Hecate, no! No more or less than men. True, men have penises that appear to externalize them, to give them thrust and parry in the world beyond their bodies, but the sensations their penises bring them, like|