White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race
The Coded Language of Hottentot Nymphae and the Discursive Presence of Race, 1917
The chapter is based on a thin case study, in which five apparently white, upper-class women visit their psychoanalyst in The Hague, with the complaint that they possess Hottentot nymphae, the contemporary term to indicate the enlarged labia minora ascribed to black women. The case study is meaningful because it shows that before any migrants were present in the Netherlands, a discourse about race circulated, in which the women were inscribing themselves. The psychoanalyst dismisses their diagnosis, based on race, and submits that they are suffering from gendered masculinity complex. The chapter offers several rereadings: first, of Dutch society at...