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Fruit Of Knowledge: The Vulva vs. The Patriarchy
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Fruit Of Knowledge: The Vulva vs. The Patriarchy

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  4,434 ratings  ·  448 reviews
From Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologized, and politicized vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In this graphic nonfiction book, drawn in chunky, punky pen, Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist traces how different cultures and traditions have shaped women’s health and beyond. Her biting, informed commentary and ponytailed avatar g ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Fantagraphics (first published September 15th 2014)
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Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want this book to be read in schools all over the world. This is education. Useful education. Important education!! Gosh, this book made me realize that there is so much I don't know, about myself and about the world, and that's kind of scary. Amazing stories, amazing facts, amazing pictures. It took my breath away and I couldn't stop reading. Recommend it to everyone on earth
Mara YA Mood Reader
The most interesting and informative non-fiction graphic novel I have ever read. What a clever delivery of what we all need to hear concerning the history of women’s sexuality!

Honestly it was quite liberating to read. Stromquist researches deep into history to answer the question of why do we have all these feelings of shame and confusion and even disgust about the female body, fertility and sexuality.

A powerful look through history detailing the female body going from a time in which our sexu
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Graphic novel/comic in translation. Makes me wonder who redoes the lettering?

Anyway. A fun book about a not so fun patriarchy. Wonderfully over the top and full of satire that highlights the absurdity of the patriarchy. I mean exhuming Queen Christina of Sweden 300+ years after her death because a group of men were obsessed with the possibility she may have been intersexual? Seriously? Of course there was nothing but a skeleton and they had to admit they couldn't confirm anything.

I think my fa
Strömquist's latest book describes the view of the female genitalia through the ages. She reflects upon the borderline interest for the female sex organ, and the reader gets to visit the stone age, the witchcraft processes, queen Kristina's grave opening, the influence of religion and the enlightenment period, and finally the ideals of today. Every age is characterized by taboos and attempts to construct the female sex organ according to the norm of the time.

The book has elements of satire when
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely perfect. Give me more content like that ❤️
Mark Robison
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel let me know I overrated “The Trouble With Women.” It takes the same concept of examining the destructive idiocy of men at understanding women through the ages and ratchets up the outrage, social criticism, and intimate details such as the history of representations of the vulva. Some insights:

• The actual size and design of a major human body part was not discovered until 1998 — the clitoris. She asks us to think how ridiculous this oversight in the study of human anatomy woul
The bookseller in Zurich was tremendously enthusiastic for this book. I told her I was buying it for my daughter, the bookseller said it was perfect because every woman should read it. I said my daughter had two dads and not a mom, thus I want to help her discover her vagina vulva in the most enlightened way. And she's only 8. The bookseller was even more excited, she said everyone should read this, and my boy who's also 8 should read it too, though perhaps most of the book is not for them just ...more
Stewart Tame
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ha ha! Okay, this book was delightful and informative. Fruit of Knowledge is a feminist look at female sex organs and our society's relationship …

You know what? Let's not use such distancing language. Vulva. Vagina. Clitoris. Menstruation. Women's place in society. These are all topics that Strömquist tackles with wit and verve. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much of this was new to me. Clearly I have not been reading the right books. Ah well … just because I’m no longer in school doesn't
lucy  black
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
So many cool facts. It was like listening to a No Such Thing as a Fish episode all about vulvas and periods and menstruation and orgasms. I liked this non fic cartoon look at gender and genitals. I really appreciated how the creator tried to be inclusive of intersez, gender queer, non binary and trans folk. I like that she knew her own limitations on this and recognised them. I also liked that she made an effort to make it not too western centric. I want to buy books like this for my kids as the ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book I will return to again and again. It is well written, entertaining and has some of the best drawings. It is an important book about the history of female orgasm, menstruation, sexuality, and some men who were just a little bit too interested in eveything female.
I loved it. It was infuriating and funny and educational and aggravating and provocative.

Helmet reading challenge 14: A nonfiction book about history
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ahhhh what an educational, fun experience
Alexandra Prochshenko
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing! It's like taking an express course in Women's Sexuality. I learned a lot, and I loved every bit of this book!
Fruit of Knowledge: The Vulva vs The Patriarchy by Liv Strömquist is a comic book history of female sexuality.

In the past, people were neither afraid of, nor disgusted by the female sex. In the Middle Ages, for example, 'sheela-na-gig' sculptures of women with parted legs, were placed on walls of monasteries and churches, as guards at the village gates and on doors of houses. Menstruation and female sexuality was revered and symbolic. Attitudes towards sexuality have changed over time, however
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Usually not a fan of "clit lit" or pussy hats or anatomy-specific feminism but this book had at least a dozen things I did not know before including what the clitoris is.... a wishbone shaped organ that's like 6-8 inches long, wow.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the tightest translation, but a brilliant graphic book that I really enjoyed.
Imogen Donato
3.5, a quick cute read, I’ve loved Liv’s style since her work w/ The Knife on Shaking the Habitual. would definitely recommend this to a teen audience. A criticism is the lack of criticism re conflating sex and gender, but otherwise, fun and full of fire.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this on International Women's Day, which was a good day for it. Funny, informative and wonderfully illustrated.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Learnt many things which had hitherto been kept secret from me and I'm pretty mad about it.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A brilliant set of feminist essays chronicling the various ways in which patriarchal societies have demonized and vilified women's physiology, shrouding it in veils of fear and ignorance that have led to discrimination against and worse health/life outcomes for women. While author Live Stromquist uses humor in her words and drawings in making her points, this is a very serious (and important) set of essays.
Fredrik Strömberg
The latest book by Liv Strömquist, Sweden's foremost comics educator/humorist. This time the book is not as disparate as some of her earlier collections, but based on one unifying subject, which makes for a better, more coherent read.

The theme is the female genitalia and how it has been treated throughout history. Strömquist starts out by listing men who have been "far too interested in the female genitalia", i.e. have in different ways through history changed the way we view it (almost always f
Bianca Goulart
It ended up being way more interesting than I anticipated (and I already anticipated A LOT). It's so full of fascinating facts about the female body and how societies acted about them.

It made me feel angry at some of the people referenced, that helped hiding the female body and their functions or that were so ignorant about them and mislead a lot of people.

It talked about the clit and the vulva and the menstrual collector which made me so happy!

I hope one day everyone reads this and who knows,
Tanvee Kanaujia
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderfully educative and informative book about the vulva, female orgasms and menstruation. These words considered taboo by so many, are rarely publicly mentioned, and the existence of the vulva has been denied for very long. This book, while being extremely funny, talks about how female sexuality has been perceived over the years in a patriarchal society, and makes for a great read.
This is some of the funniest writing I've read in a good long while.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: female, favorites, europe
I selected it as one of best comics of 2018:

Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Vulva vs. The Patriarchy; now there a title for you.

The brilliant little book starts out with a chapter called: Men Who Have Been Too Interested In Female Genitalia which is both rage inducing and hysterically funny. Men are still too interested in female genitalia, the definition of and control of, and I don't see that ending anytime soon. But it is interesting to see the silly notions that morphed into a dangerous ideology that has entrapped and defined women for millennia. I mean, who kne
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“For example, I wrote earlier about Polynesia, and how the word ‘taboo’ comes from ‘tupua’ (or ‘tapu’), which also means mensuration. But the most common translation of ‘tapu’ is actually ‘sacred.’”

This is kind of a brilliant comic, about the biologically female body, and the historic, societal/political, and biological implications placed upon it. The parts on sexist history totally disturbed me, but it’s also very empowering and educational, and amusing, for all genders. Made me realize how mu
Barbara McEwen
The information is great, and I love the idea of it being in graphic novel form, especially since I think it would be great for schools. That said, it didn't work quite as well as I had hoped. There is a lot of text for a graphic novel and I think it is a bit distracting to have the references on the side of each panel. Still, yay vulvas!
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish this book had existed when I was a teen!

This books explores the way that vulvas have been viewed throughout history, linking it to oppression and the control of reproduction... through wry and funny comic strips.
Eleanor Ransom
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This should be read by every human being. So incredible and I loved it! Non Fiction Graphic Novels is my new favourite genre.
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