beards, menstruation, womb

One-sex and two-sex bodies?

Back in 2013, I published a book about the claim that there was a clear division in the history of Western Europe between two models of the body: ‘one-sex’ and ‘two-sex’. In the first model, men and women were seen as having exactly the same genital bits and pieces, but with men’s on the outside… Continue reading One-sex and two-sex bodies?

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pregnancy, womb

What women know about sex (and eggs)

  One of the best-known stories from the ancient Greek medical texts tells of a slave entertainer who became pregnant but didn’t know what to do about it. In one of the versions that survived, from the Hippocratic treatise On Generation/Nature of the Child, she realized she was pregnant and told her owner, who in… Continue reading What women know about sex (and eggs)

Bad History, pregnancy, womb

Women have ways? Seeds, wombs and ‘legitimate rape’

In an infamous and much-repeated comment made in 2012, US Republican Todd Akin claimed that ‘if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down’. Not surprisingly, he was ridiculed for the lack of knowledge of biology that this comment betrays. It didn’t take long, though, before history started to… Continue reading Women have ways? Seeds, wombs and ‘legitimate rape’