Wow – I had so much fun last week (hey, that’s Vulva Liberation Week, for anyone who wasn’t paying attention!) I am glad it’s over now, as I’ve just about run out of enthusiasm – although after the success of the week and Erika’s promptings, there is every chance that something similar might happen next year!
The observant among you may notice that, as a souvenir, I have changed my Blogger photo to a picture of a cowrie shell. On that note, I can’t resist quoting this from Jane Mills’ Womanwords*.
Porcelain, which entered English in c1530, denotes a fine kind of white earthenware with a translucent body and a transparent glaze, another term for china-ware (1634) or china (1653). With allusion to the fineness, beauty and fragility of this ware, porcelain has been used figuratively, especially of a woman or her complexion, since the first half of the C17th, e.g.: “She is herself the purest piece of Purslane… that e’er had liquid sweetmeats lick’d out of it.” (Richard Brome, The Sparagus Garden, 1640)
Porcelain is also the name given to the Cypraea Moneta or cowry shell (since 1601): “In many places shells are current for coins; particularly a small white kind… called in the Indies cowries… in America, porcelaines.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1797)
The origins of porcelain reveal an extraordinary web of female associations and allusions. It was the C13th explorer Marco Polo who frst adopted the Italian word porcellana for the cowry (also called the Venus shell) because of its fine white translucent shell. Porcellana derives from porcella, meaning swine. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable maintains that this was because the shape of a cowry shell “is not unlike a pig’s back”**. Had Ebenezer Cobham Brewer who first compiled this dictionary in 1870 turned a cowry shell over he would have found an even more likely reason; its ventral side closely resembles the vulva of both a sow and a human female. Vulva derives from the Latin volva, or vulva, meaning womb, as well as a culinary term for a sow’s womb. Porcus was used in Latin for the female pudendum as well as for swine. A further link between the sow and the female human is the hymen, which is possessed by no other animal.”
[* I really must thank Erika for putting me onto this book some time ago. It is seriously excellent!][** My copy, the Millennium edition, makes a similar claim.]The doubly observant among you may also have spotted that I’ve added a “statistics” link to my sidebar and am currently fascinated to see how many people visit and, most interestingly, where they come from / how they got here.
Guess what the biggest pull is? Oh, yeah, it’s my What does a vulva look like? post, and assorted other vulva-related musings.
Many of the searches (“yoni images” or “hairy vagina photos”) kind of made me smile. A few, as I suppose you might expect, made me cringe: “women who like to smell the male genitals” and “spankings and soapy enemas” (WTF?!) and “porn ginger minge” for example – oh, wow, I have porn traffic… And where pornsters go, trolls will surely follow. Can’t wait. Not.
If you are the person who found me by asking about “states without breastfeeding laws” then I hope my post on that was useful. If you were asking whether “horlicks is good for pregnant ladies” then I’m not sure whether you found anything helpful but I’d like to congratulate you on your impending bundle of joy. And, finally, if you found me when looking for “sticky mushrooms” then I can only wish you good eating.
Ah, that was fun.