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Pussipedia, Larousse’s new encyclopedia for understanding your vagina and breaking taboos

Did you know that humanity landed on the moon 29 years before the organ responsible for half of the planet’s orgasms was accurately described? Yes, the clitoris appeared in medical textbooks relatively recently, and only in 1998, which borders the 21st century, its complete internal structure was first described by Australian urologist Helen O’Connell. Why do we know so much about the penis and so little about the clitoris?

Pussypedia, the work of writer and researcher Zoe Mendelsohn and illustrated by Maria Conejo, recently published by major encyclopedia publisher Larousse, aims to answer these and many other questions. Yes, the encyclopedia of puss (vagina or puss in English), which seeks to shed light on the part of the female body that has historically been the most stigmatized and least researched. “If there is a label specializing in encyclopedias, it is Larousse Editorial, so only we can publish an encyclopedia on Pousseau,” the publisher says in its promotional information.

Pussypedia has little in common with what we are used to on the pages of this type of work. Behind it is a rigorous verification process and an extensive scientific bibliography, but with a casual and humorous tone, the authors intend to make available the most up-to-date information on the anatomy and physiology of the uterus, reproduction, hormones. Sex or menstruation. And they do so from a feminist perspective that challenges the masculine history, myths, and taboos that traditionally define the female body.

“Patriarchy has many tricks to make people with puss feel stupid,” Mendelssohn writes in the introduction to the work, originally published in English. That’s why its goal is two-fold: “to inform and fight against shame”, the author claims in this media. “And talk from a more pleasure-oriented perspective,” adds Conejo.

It all started with a question. “Can all women ejaculate?”. It was what Mendelsohn was looking for one night in 2016 after her boyfriend insisted that if she “chilled out” she would make it. What he found on Google was “highly contradictory” information, so he decided to dive into the scientific papers. He barely understood anything and had to look up the meaning of almost every word. “Why did I live without this vital information about my body?” He is surprised. The next step was to connect the rabbit. “We have to do a project on the vagina,” he told her. That’s how was born in 2019, the germ of a book that received three million visits in its first year alone.

In fact, the project is not only about the vagina, which comes from the Latin word pod, which literally means “sword sheath”. “We disagree that vaginas exist in the service of penises,” say the authors. It’s a commonly used term, but “it only refers to the vaginal canal,” so if we call everything vaginas, “we’re ignoring other important parts of the body,” they explain. For this reason, the paper proposes a new use of the word pus, which is never translated in the text, by which it also includes the vulva, clitoris, anus, rectum, uterus, and other parts for which, as a whole, there is no term.

Another warning that the work makes at the beginning also has to do with words. And it’s that throughout the text he uses “people with butts” or “wombs”, never women, unless they specifically refer to cis (non-trans) women, because “Many people with bees are not women, and many are women. Do they not have fufus,” they warn. The authors are committed to the inclusion of trans, nonbinary, and intersex people—they refer to them throughout the work—and deny that this language makes cis women invisible because “they have a bug that makes them come in.” Trust Mendelsohn .

Pussypedia’s ambitious introductory quest covers everything from pussy parts to how hormones work to sexually transmitted infections. One of the chapters is dedicated to the clitoris. It’s the central pleasure organ and the equivalent of the penis, but “most people can’t draw it or explain how it works or where it’s located.” There has been, the work explains, clitoral “erasure” and abhorrence throughout history. Fun fact: It’s “about the same size” as a penis (“a three-inch flail”), but the word “small” appears in its description.

Nevertheless, there are many issues that still have a scientific vacuum and unanswered questions. Or, at least, a decisive answer. This is the case with the paraurethral glands, the structure of which is unknown. Sometimes these glands are called the female prostate, which can cause female ejaculation, the concept was “minimally reduced in the 18th and 19th centuries” before being “invented” and often confused with urine, but still much is unknown about this phenomenon. the glands themselves. Does anyone today doubt that men ejaculate and how their bodies work?

The paraurethrals have always been called the scaly glands, which are added to the glands of Bartolino or fallopian tubes. All the men who “discovered” these parts of the female anatomy and whose authors claim to be renamed. It is easy to see in the language how the patriarchal narrative was built on women’s bodies. To vagina we must add “hymen,” from Hymenaeus, the Greek god of marriage, and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), which the authors say “comes from hysteria,” a disease invented and associated with women until the 19th century. XIX century

What types of vaginal discharge are there and how to recognize them, what are the characteristics of each contraceptive (and “how it was tested on people of color without their consent,” says the encyclopedia) or what the effects of abortion drugs are on the body. There is another content that it addresses. Also why female masturbation is still taboo if there is a G spot or what we know about premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or vaginal candidiasis which up to 75% of women will have at some point in their lives. However, it is still unknown: Scientists still do not know the functions of the vaginal microbiota, although they suspect that it may be as important as the gut microbiota.

Mendelsohn does not hide that the road to Pussypedia was long and sometimes disturbing. So he writes in the introduction: “There have been times when I have had to ask myself: Do I really need to spend this time comparing the chemical composition of a woman’s ejaculation and urine? But then I remind myself that A. A lot of people have pus and that many of them live their lives. With mental space occupied by useless patriarchal nonsense, and if we can free it, even a little, or restore pleasure or order, even a little differently, then there will be more space, more joy, and we will have a stronger impetus for revolution. And the answer is always yes.”

Source: El Diario





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