Saartjie Baartman: The Hottentot Venus

Saartjie Baartman was considered a South African sexual freak by Caucasian culture.  In 1810, when she was 20, she was convinced to leave her homeland for fame in England.  Her traditional Khoikhoi body type was considered freakish in Western Culture and she was put on sexual display.  Her bare breasts and genitals were open for the gaping.  She was given the nickname “Hottentot Venus” for her presumptive beauty, though in Khoikhoi, “hottentot” means “stutterer.”  Saartjie was dead at 25 and her genitals and brain were pickled for continued, public, display.

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