An informative, funny, feminist history of the clitoris.
THE SWEETNESS OF VENUS
by Sarah Chadwick
Armin Lear, February 2021
(chez Laura Dail – voir catalogue)
The clitoris is the final taboo in the world of gender equality. For centuries, science thought women were inside-out men, and anxiety about female sexuality framed attitudes and perpetuated inaccurate information. The reality of women’s sexuality was ignored, repressed, or defamed. THE SWEETNESS OF VENUS takes a rigorous romp through science, religion, philosophy, and psychology, to unravel the history of the clitoris, and then uses this context to explore the language, literature, and art around it. Much of the clitoris’s story has been defined by those who discovered and mapped her. However, even after the true anatomy of the clitoris was finally fully mapped with 3D imaging in 2005, it still hardly gets a mention in America’s bestselling teen sex education book for girls, and no mention at all in the parallel book for boys. Equality when it comes to sex has not been achieved, yet.
Sarah Chadwick began writing her first book after a family move from the UK to Chicago in 2016. “I had always wanted to write, but once I had the idea for The Sweetness of Venus it was as if my chequered career came together – my love of reading, teaching, research, studying, libraries, high and low culture and writing seemed to coalesce with this project. While I was excited about the journey to America, I had given up a teaching career and PhD scholarship with the Perdita Project at Warwick University, but as these doors closed, I knew this one had always been ajar so I decided it was time to open it.” Sarah also runs the gritty, feminist @its.personalgirls Instagram page.