1. The birth of Satan
from Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Based on the novel of the same name, Rosemary’sBaby is a genuinely terrifying horror film from Roman Polanski, in which a sickly looking Mia Farrow becomes paranoid that she is the victim of a hellish conspiracy. It is a psychological thriller, toying with the viewer’s sympathy, emotions and sanity. Featuring marital betrayal of epic proportions and an unforgettably chilling final shot, this is a horror film so subtle that at times the viewer is unsure whether or not it is a horror at all.
2. The Birth of Venus
by Sandro Boticelli (1486)
The sea-shell has long been a metaphor for a woman’s vulva. This Renaissance painting depicts the goddess Venus arriving naked at the sea-shore in a giant shell. The iconography of the painting is much debated, with mythological, political and religious readings all equally plausible. Pagan readings suggest that the painting is an attempt to replicate ancient depictions of the Goddess, while Christian ones see Venus as Eve before the Fall, the Madonna, or both.
3. This Woman’s Work
by Kate Bush (1989)
Kate Bush likes writing about women and wombs (see also ‘Room for the Life’ and ‘The Kick Inside’). This song, from 1989’s The Sensual World, was written for the film She’s Having a Baby. It deals with childbirth from the perspective of the father, sat outside the waiting room and also metaphorically “outside / this woman’s work… now his part is over”. Opening with the heartbreaking “pray God you can cope”, ‘This Woman’s Work’ is a moving picture of the anguish of a complicated birth.