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The hoohah .. a modest dent

Syreeta McFadden columnist, The Guardian

Syreeta McFadden columnist, The Guardian

…..nude statues of Greek and Roman women, usually standing in a three point pose – a bent knee, a curved hip, a tilted shoulder to accentuate the form. One has a hand over a breast to communicate modesty; her hoohah is smooth. In fact, all the hoohahs are smooth: there are but modest dents around the pelvic bones of the statues, but no openings or slight separations of the pelvic mounds to be found anywhere. The forms are all Barbie-doll blank down there, like female bodies just sprung out the head of Zeus, fully formed, sometimes clothed and vulvaless.

Meanwhile, the male statues rock out with their cocks out; dicks are everywhere. Penises of all sizes surround me: curled and flaccid, pert and alert, balls dropped and shrunken. I wandered around, looking closely at all of the female nude statues and fragments. There are no vulvas, no protruding labia, anywhere. There’s no suggestion that vaginas existed.

I wondered for an instant, whether the plethora of penises was the work of male archaeologists so enamored that the male member was rendered in excruciating detail centuries before – so concerned at the thought of emasculating their forbearers – that their recovery efforts spared only the minutiae of marbled male bodies. How is it that marbled penises survived the sacking, that for nearly three millennia the penis survived in all its barely tumescent glory and nary a stray labia caught the attention of a curator?


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