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Why TEETH Still Bites Back And MORE!
The Bite #92

Why TEETH Still Bites Back And MORE!

January 14, 2020

In this Issue:


By BJ Colangelo*

In 2007, Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth premiered at Sundance, and audiences had no idea what to expect. Centered around an abstinence advocate who discovers she has sentient teeth inside her vagina, Teeth was a film that horrified and disgusted the majority of the cis men who saw it and was overwhelmingly loved by just about everyone else. Lionsgate and The Weinstein Co. immediately purchased the film, an irony that cannot go unnoticed.

It would be easy to dismiss Teeth as a gross-out joke film, but in reality, it’s a rape-revenge film echoing the sentiments of exploitation cinema in a way that’s accessible for the new millennium.

Teeth, the story of Dawn O’Keefe (definitely named in reference to Georgia O’Keefe and her famous paintings of flowers that look a lot like vulvas) and her toothy vagina, doesn’t hide its messaging in metaphors about werewolf transformation or budding telekinesis. It’s a film about a body developing an evolutionary protector as a means of survival, not unlike a rattle on a snake. The reality of “vagina dentata” is not the central theme; it’s about how, no matter how many times we say “no,” sexual abuse has continued for millennia. Finally, someone’s body adapted in a way to protect its owner. Dawn’s vagina isn’t hellbent on destroying whatever comes near it, cursing her to kill anything that she touches; it’s a response to the non-consensual actions forced upon her by just about every man in her life.

Those that don’t fully understand (or just straight-up hate) this film frequently write it off as a man-hating, feminist tale. Instead, this story is about the dangers of entitlement and the power of getting to know one’s own body. We live in a society where self-pleasure and exploration is demonized or presented as a joke, unworthy of serious thought. Throughout the course of the film, Dawn finally begins to explore her body and learn about her unique power, eventually finding a way to be in full control of her own anatomy.

Since Teeth’s release, the climate around women’s rights has changed. We’ve seen the birth of movements like the Women’s March on Washington where thousands of women band together to fight against injustices endured in a society that deems us “lesser than,” one that strips us of our autonomy and basic human rights.

Thirteen years later, Teeth has reached an age viewed in many cultures as the time when a young girl “becomes a woman”. Even now, it remains as relevant as it did upon its premiere.

Fortunately, in 2020, Teeth isn’t biting back alone.

*BJ Colangelo is a recovering child beauty queen that fancies herself the lovechild of Chistopher Sarandon in FRIGHT NIGHT and Susan Sarandon in THE HUNGER. She writes about horror, wrestlingsexkicking pancreatic cancer’s ass, and being a fat queer all over the Internet. Find her on twitter @bjcolangelo.


Image Of The Week #92 - Nagato Iwasaki Driftwood Art - The Bite

Beyond The Shimmer

No, this isn’t a behind-the-scenes shot from Annihilation. It’s the ethereal and haunting work of Japanese artist Nagato Iwasaki, who makes his studies of the human body out of driftwood.



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Things We Love #92 - Vagina Dentata Patch - The Bite

“It’s Latin For Teeth”

Speaking of vagina dentata, grab this outstanding hand-embroidered patch of the myth from Rome-based embroiderers fhateoff.


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