There are more than a few weird myths about vaginas out there, like the weird things dudes think about periods or the fact that a lot of people still believe the hymen is only broken when you first have sex. There’s plenty that cis-gender women with vaginas don’t know about cis-gender dudes with penises. The difference is that the cluelessness women might have had about penises didn’t lead to centuries of oppressive BS, but men’s persistent lack of understanding about vaginas sure has! Yay! Great!
But seriously, the fact that people out there still think that you lose your virginity by inserting a tampon looks progressive compared to some of the beliefs that used to dominate cultures around the world not that long ago; some still do to this day. From vaginal teeth, to wandering uteruses, to the idea that education ruins your womb (yes, seriously), each of these myths marginalized women and reduced them to scary, volitle baby machines. Check out these eight ridiculous old school myths about vaginas that will absolutely boggle your mind and give you a healthy dose of righteous rage.
Education Ruins A Woman's Reproductive SystemKnowledge is power, and the idea of educated women was (and still is) enough to scare the crap out of people. That's why when the notion of educated women became more popular in western nations, there was a concentrated effort to clamp down on it. In 1876, a Harvard physician wrote a book called Sex in Education: Or, A Fair Chance for Girls which claimed that women who went to college were putting their fertility at risk because all the energy normally reserved for reproduction would be wasted on the brain. Oh, the horror. Pinterest
Asians Have Horizontal VaginasI can't be alone in going "WTF?" at this, right? But it's true, people actually thought that Asian women--particularly east Asian women from China, Korea, and Japan--had horizontal vaginas. And by people, I mean a French naturalist in the 1816 who just sort of threw out that theory and wondered if it would stick. It was debunked decades later, but the myth hung around and was even prevalent around World War II. Anti-semites have also suggested that Jewish women have horizontal vaginas, so I think we can all conclude that this is just racist garbage, right? Right. iStock.com
The Womb Wanders Around The Body, Which Explains Why Women Are So 'Silly'We can thank the ancient Greeks for the popularity of this myth. Basically, people believed that anything from a woman's moodiness to illness was caused by the the womb moving around the body. Yes, your uterus just going through your body like a pinball machine. This was even believed to be a cause of "hysteria" if the ol' uterus wandered all the way to the brain. Empire Records
Menstrual Blood Is KillerSeveral cultures temporarily isolate menstruating women from mainstream society due to myths that menstruating women are dirty and lack purity. But it goes a step further than that for some: Menstruating women are so dangerous that they can be deadly. Yes, people believe that menstruation can harm crops Some even thought that having sex with a menstruating woman would cause any baby who was conceived at that time to be deformed. Even in the 1920s, scientists believed that the very presence of menstrual blood can prevent bread from rising and kill plants. Carrie
Vaginal Teeth (Yes, You Read That Correctly)Back in 2007, a wild AF indie horror movie called Teeth was released. It was about a girl who had a case of vagina dentata, Latin for "toothed vagina." Of course, a toothed vagina is not something anyone wants to mess with, right? Right. But...it doesn't exist, and men buying into the idea that it was a real thing helped play into the idea that women were deadly seductresses that will...uh...chop your penis off with their vag. It's easy to laugh off until you realize that people actually believe it and have even recently used it to justify the rape and murder of women. Um, BYE. Little Shop Of Horrors
Orgasms Cured HysteriaLet me just say, for the record, that hysteria doesn't exist. It was a gendered disorder that any woman who wasn't a married, perpetually pleased baby machine could have been diagnosed with. Depression? Nope, hysteria. Single? Hmmm, probably has hysteria. Upset about a lack of rights? Oh, definitely a serious case of hysteria. But do you know what the cure was, according to doctors? "Massage Therapy." That's just a cute way of saying vibrators, masturbation, and a ton of orgasms. Oh, but the woman can't get herself off, that would be crude. Nope, a medical professional would have to do it for you. Could you imagine the embarrassment of that? Well, it was a common practice all the way through the 1920s so...woof. Side note: Women who worked with sewing machines back in the day would sometimes get off from the vibrations. They were routinely warned not to do this, lest they become lesbians. Yes, really. Slums Of Beverly Hills
Female Genitalia Is An AccidentYou probably just think of Aristotle as a famous philosopher. He was also a famous misogynist who thought that women were so inferior to men, he believed that female genitalia was a deformation. Yeah, seriously, he believed that female genitals were inside the body because they lacked the heat required to develop a perfect male body. He also said, "a boy actually resembles a woman anatomically speaking and a woman is, so to speak, an infertile male. She is female because of a kind of inadequacy being unable to concoct semen from nourishment … owing to the coldness of her nature." Who...hurt him? Valfre.com
Masturbation Makes You Flat ChestedWe've heard myths of masturbation causing blindness or hairy palms, but what about flat chestedness? Yeah, there were actual manuals out there that suggested that masturbation was bad for a woman's physical development, and that doing so would cause one to be a permanent member of the itty bitty titty committee. The To-Do List
Which is the most WTF worthy to you? What other vagina myths have you come across? Tell us in the comments!