Clitoral Embodiment: The Embryology of the Genitalia
Check out my recent writing about the embryology of the genitalia from a nonbinary perspective: Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, & Contact Quarterly For more writing on Clitoral Embodiment by Sarah Mann-O'Donnell, check out this blog post
Clitoral Embodiment is my current research. I've offered this material in workshops at the Move Dance Think Fest (Philly), The Whole Shebang (Philly) and The Wedding Space (Berlin.) It originated as a performance of a Somatics class embedded in a dance called The Dance Apocalypse/Solos created with Gabrielle Revlock. You can read about that performance here & here & here & here.
I created my Clitoral Embodiment workshop as a framework for studying and embodying the embryological homologues of the genitalia with a particular emphasis on the lesser known aspects of the clitoris: the crura and bulbs, which also exist in the penis. These posterior aspects of the genitalia appear in their male form in most medical anatomy texts, such as Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy and Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body, but are conspicuously absent in representations of the female form.
"Nicole Bindler’s Clitoral Embodiment movement practice radically re-envisions basic anatomy, upending ideas about naturalized male sexual dominance. Predicated on the unifying and revolutionary idea that humans of all sexes share a common genital origin, the workshop offers participants an open, neutral space in which to rethink assumptions about sexual power and difference through the exploration of one’s own body through movement. Reframing genital organs and their function in terms associated with the female sex (clitoris, invagination; as opposed to penis, penetration) challenges fundamental ideas about binary sex and its social meaning. It’s a bit like discovering that the Earth circles the Sun, rather than the other way around; a shift in vantage point puts everything in a different perspective."
––K.J. Surkan, Ph.D. Lecturer in Women's & Gender Studies, MIT, and Lecturer in Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, Temple University.
"My experience of her clitoral embodiment work was quite simply that of a gentle revolution. I use this term to try to capture the nexus of affirmation, challenge, respect, attention to social justice, and qualitative change through innovation that she offers."
––Sarah Mann-O'Donnell, Doctoral Candidate, Northwestern University
I loved the Clitoral Embodiment workshop. Nicole's ability to set out and maintain strong boundaries made me feel safe to fully explore and enjoy everything that came up from discomfort to juiciness. Any inkling of criticism or vibe weirdness was swiftly and gracefully snuffed out. The ideas Nicole generously shared blew my mind, and have had reverberating impacts weeks later. Bringing linguistics, anatomy, and the felt sense together the way she did felt like a revolutionary act, a bit of a healing experience, and a lot of fun. I left smiling hard.
––Julia Taylor, bodyworker
The combination of detailed anatomical study with movement exploration allowed me to both better understand and feel a stronger connection to my own clitoral anatomy. It was a relief to finally be able to openly and deeply learn about the clitoris, an anatomical structure that so often receives so little attention in educational institutions and in conversation
––Erica Janko, dance student
Nicole’s class was informative and inspiring. She helped me to understand and embrace my body in a more enjoyable and holistic way.
––Nirvan Ananda, bodyworker