Teeth: Female Empowerment at its Greatest

In case you have not heard of this fantastic film, it is a movie about a young girl who finds out her vagina has teeth. The main character, Dawn O’Keefe, is a High School student who has pledged to wait until marriage to have sex. But once a boy she likes rapes her, she discovers that her vagina is something of mythical proportions; during her rape, her vagina proceeds to bite off his you know what. After his screams of terror, and her own screams of terror, she is left wondering what the hell is happening in between her legs. VAGINA DENTATA (dentata is Latin for teeth) is what Dawn has, and she is afraid of the monster inside of her.


At first she blames herself for the rape, and is upset over her lost chastity. A scene where she drops her promise ring into the water is symbolic of her shame. But in reality it is obviously not her fault that she was raped and therefore had sex before marriage, but her lack of knowledge about sexuality leads to this conclusion.

The movie pertains to our discussion on sex education. Dawn is an abstinence girl, which includes hilarious shirts about waiting until marriage. The awkward situation between Dawn and her boy crush is hilarious. Tension is in the air when they even think about kissing and vagina shapes appear in the trees of the forest around them. Classic. But the scene in the movie where the picture in a textbook is blocked because it is a vagina pertains to our class discussion. The school board had forced the teacher to cover up the picture, while penises are okay. Dawn then proceeds to mention how women are naturally chaste and modest in her best I am saving it to marriage voice. Yuck. Kids in the room laugh. End of scene.

Teeth has to be one of my favorite films because there is a sense of empowerment in Dawn’s character. At first Dawn is ashamed of her sexuality and upset about her rape, but figures out that she should have pride with her own sexuality. When men fuck her over, she uses her power to castrate them. While many men might be cringing at the thought, the reason why Dawn ends up castrating some men is because they are taking advantage of her. And it is not like she does it on purpose. The teeth in her vagina is a defense mechanism. If she is enjoying the sex, they will not hurt the men. But if she is feeling used or coerced into sex, then bad things happen. So moral of the story: treat women with respect and do not use women as mere sexual objects. Should be common sense but apparently it isn’t.

If you have not seen this film, I highly recommend it. It is more funny than scary and the storyline is fantastic. I mean, her vagina has teeth, how much better could it get?

Melissa is doing her Final Project on reproductive health and is trying to collect some data for her research.  I am asking you to help her out and take this online survey.  There are only ten questions and it is completely anonymous.  It will only take a minute…please help your fellow student!

What do you know about Reproductive Health?

Sorry for the external link…embedding just did not work for me tonight. You may have some ads to tolerate but they are short:

Video Part 1

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QuiverFull.com

I have been reading The Wall Street Journal. It is not a newspaper I would usually read but it is required reading for the Online Journalism course I am observing. You cannot imagine how much I am learning by reading this newspaper. For example, did you know that there is a genre of literature called bonnet books? They are—no lie—Amish romance novels. It is such a large subcategory of the romance fiction genre that these books have found positions on The New York Times bestseller lists; one author has even sold over 12 million copies of her G-rated novels.

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Set in the Amish and/or Mennonite community, these stories contain, as Time magazine calls it,

story lines for horse-and-buggy piety.

Plotlines usually involve an Amish woman falling in love with a man outside the community or the angsty love between the Amish and Mennonite—a no-no in either religion.

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These novels are written mostly by female authors, none of which are Amish or Mennonite. And while the intended audience is the mainstream reader of America, a loyal Amish following is quickly subsuming the genre. The Journal tries to define “Old Order Amish”

[they] shun modern technologies such as electricity and TV, forbid members to own cars and computers, and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a German dialect. They sew their own clothes and try to lead simple lives based on faith and community.

I am wondering where bonnet books fall into all of this. Given the religious setting of the stories, I am assuming that all the relationships in the books are heterosexual and consensual. I am wondering, however, where “faith and community” fit in. How much sneaking around can be done for any illicit activity—G-rated or otherwise—in a community so closely tied with family and church?

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I am not a reader of romance novels so I don’t really know how these narratives are rhetorically structured. I have nothing against them; I read enough fan fiction (SVU my latest obsession) to equal the page count of the entire Harlequin series, so I can see how these books would be popular. But I think there is some strong critical analysis that can be done concerning their popularity as a reflection of the current religious and political climate.

But an even stronger analysis can be done concerning the position of women in these stories—not only how women are treated within these religious environments but also where women are placed within the conflation of religion and romance. How is religion constructed by someone outside the faith? How is romance constructed, in relation? How might a subject location be identified or owned? There are so many places to go with this.

If you would like to read more about bonnet books, here are links to a few current articles:

They’re No Bodice Rippers, But Amish Romances Are Hot
Amish Romance Novels: No Bonnet Rippers
Carrie Bradshaw—in a bonnet?
And a list of the books on Amazon: Amish Fiction Books

I think the fact that these books are so popular among the Amish community leaves us something to consider about the changing definitions of religion and women’s roles within the religion. I’ll leave you to discuss those implications.

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I took this with my iPhone a few weeks ago at The Coffee House on Exchange Street. Just sayin’.

promo for Thin by Lauren Greenfield

To correspond with Heywood, “All American Girls: Jock Chic, Body Image and Sports”

The video we watched in class and the one Tim suggested we watch. Both, very similar. Thanks to the female athletes in class that edu-ma-cated me on the difference between “strategy” and “dirty play” in sports!

New Mexico Lobos soccer player Elizabeth Lambert plays rough with BYU Going Viral ESPN

Raw Video: Brawl at Girls’ Soccer Game

To correspond with Daly, “African Genital Mutilation:  The Unspeakable Atrocities”

Female Genital Cutting

Acid Attack

Chinese footbinding

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UPDATE: “Bound by History: The Last of China’s ‘Lotus-Feet’ Ladies”