Guys guys guys you need to read Catherine Blackledge’s The Story of V: A Natural History of Female Sexuality. It is BAD ASS.


Anlu is a traditional practice of the Kom people of West Cameroon who, significantly perhaps, still trace their descent matrilinieally, i.e., a person’s position in society is dependent on the vagina they emerged from. Anlu is in essence a disciplinary technique used by women involving ritual genital display and dance. Offences warranting the practice of anlu (the word is derived from the root -lu, meaning to drive away) include abuse of old or pregnant women or parents; incest; seizing a person’s genitals during a fight; and insulting a parent by using profanities such as: ‘Your vagina is rotten.’ Importantly, anlu is practiced by Kom collectively against a perpetrator.

The following description of anlu is by a Kom male:

Anlu is started off by a woman who doubles up in an awful position and gives out a high-pitched shrill, breaking it by beating on the lips with four fingers. Any woman recognising the sound does the same and leaves whatever she is doing and runs in the direction of the first sound. The crowd quickly swells and soon there is a wild dance to the tune of impromptu stanzas informing the people of what offence has been committed, spelling it out in such a manners as to raise emotions and cause action. The history of the offender is brought out in a telling gossip. Appeal is made to the dead ancestors of the offender, to join in with the anlu. Then the team leaves for the bush o return at the appointed time, usually before actual dawn, donned in vines, bits of men’s clothing and with painted faces, to carry out the full ritual. All wear and carry the garden-egg type fruit which is supposed to cause ‘drying up’ in any person who is hit with it. The women pour into the compound of the offender singing and dancing…no person looks human in that wild crowd, nor do their actions suggest sane thinking. Vulgar parts of the body are exhibited as the chant rises in weird depth…

…modern-day acts of anlu have been used to defend the fertility of the Kom’s land. Astonishingly, in 1958, in an amazing display of collective female force, seven thousand women rose up to protest against government regulations changing for the worse the way women farmed their land. The women won.

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