• ellen angus

A Leaky Vessel

The Body Embarrassed by Gail Pastor looks at the humoral medicine, and the effect that it might have had on the body’s subjective experience. 

The area that fascinated me was the configuration of  ‘gendered selves’ through protocols of shame directed at women’s bodies.

This humoral body was attributed with a poures

sness “Not only did blood, semen, milk, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids turn into one another, but the processes of alimentation, excretion, menstruation, and lactation were understood as homologous” containing mutually soluble liquids

Women at this time were attributed with an excess of fluids in general, and with an openness and looseness that was understood as primitive lack of control, making them not only the weaker but also the leakiest vessel..

women’s blood, which was “slower moving, clammier, grosser”. Suffering from this congenital excess of inferior blood regarded as a form of excrement, for which nature had provided menstruation as both remedy and punishment, women were innately diseased

And deviant. The whore was the leakiest of all female vessels in part because of her tendency to linguistic overflow, in part because her vaginal cavity, full of her customers’ seminal outpourings, was moister than other women’s. The whore’s “unchaste” body is “grotesquely open and hypereffluent..