Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Kunskapens frukt by Liv Strömquist

Strömquist's latest book describes the view of the female genitalia through the ages. She reflects upon the borderline interest for the female sex organ, and the reader gets to visit the stone age, the witchcraft processes, queen Kristina's grave opening, the influence of religion, the enlightenment period, and finally the ideals of today. Every age is characterized by taboos and attempts to construct the female sex organ according to the norm of the time. 

The book has elements of satire when it comes to the way men through history have shown an immense interest in the female genitalia and done all kinds of sick procedures on the basis of their contemporary opinions. The ambivalent perspective of women - the madonna/whore concept - originates from hundreds of years of twisting and turning of women's sexuality, from religious and scientific points of view.

Strömquist writes in the most insightful way and the book, despite the comic style, should be taken very seriously. It's a historical analyze of the view of the female sex organ and the implications on women's lives. If we are to understand today's view of women and the female genitalia, we need to understand our history. The author uses images, facts and comical reflections as a way of descriptive method. She claims that if men were menstruating, the taboo topic would be viewed as something wonderful, holy and mysterious. The period is, still today, not talked about, even regarded as something shameful. 

As a reader it's difficult not to be affected by the book's descriptions of the immense influence and implications the patriarchy has had through the ages. Of course, men have a rough history in many ways, as well, but this book is dedicated to women and a tribute to the female sex organ. The Swedish political feminist party Fi is only a few years old. It would have been needed a long time ago.

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