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Fruit of Knowledge. The Vulva vs. The Patriarchy (by Liv Strömquist)

We’re all familiar with the story of Eve being held responsible for the fall of humanity. Not only did Eve commit the first sin, but she also influenced Adam to do the same, leading to their expulsion from Eden. Naughty girl, Eve.

However, humans haven’t always lived in a patriarchal culture. In fact, in many ancient cultures, God was a woman, and menstruation was seen as sacred.

The author of this book cleverly explores the condition of being female throughout history, with a focus on how men have treated women’s bodies and their functions.

The book is informative, thought-provoking and filled with wit. I often found myself laughing out loud, although it left a bitter aftertaste.

An extract from the book
An extract from the book

I think every teenager in particular, but everyone else too, should read it.

Title: Fruit Of Knowledge: The Vulva vs. The Patriarchy
Author: Liv Strömquist
Year First Published: 2014
Content Warnings: Uncomfortable truth

From Goodreads:

From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In this graphic nonfiction book, drawn in chunky, punky pen, Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist traces how different cultures and traditions have shaped women’s health and beyond. Her biting, informed commentary and ponytailed avatar guides the reader from the darkest chapters of history (a clitoridectomy performed on a five-year-old American child as late as 1948) to the lightest (vulvas used as architectural details as a symbol of protection). Like humorists Julie Doucet (Dirty Plotte), Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For), and Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), she uses the comics medium to reveal uncomfortable truths about how far we haven’t come.

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