I read the Malleus Maleficarum in college in my Performativity of Witchcraft course. Yes, that course really existed at NYU, and it was fascinating. It was commonplace in Europe in the 15th and 16th century to blame witches for many things, including stealing male genitalia and hiding them in birds’ nests. I read this as a metaphor, of course, for sex and female power. I never believed that that penises could actually be stolen.
However, according to Louisa Lombard of Pacific Standard, genital snatching is a crime on the rise in Central Africa. When traveling through the small town of Tiringoulou in 2010, Lombard encountered men afraid to so much as shake her hand because of two instances of penis snatching. I’m sure you’re wondering, as I was, how a penis can be snatched right out of a man’s pants. Keep reading »