The central concerns of Can't chime absolutely with gender and cultural studies of today. The book sits at the centre of cross-currents of theories of gender and representation. Its interdisciplinary approach means that, in examining the peculiar status – unlike any other – of female genetalia, Rees considers five fields of artistic expression: literature, film, TV, visual and performance art.
Can't focuses on the paradox of what Rees terms 'covert visibility' of the vagina, and on its monstrous manifestations. That is, in our porn-crammed culture vaginas appear to be everywhere, literally or symbolically but, crucially, they are as silenced as they are objectified.
This book asks: what happens when the female body refuses to be pathologized, eroticized, or rendered subordinate to the will or intention of another? In Can't, psycho-analytical methodologies offer one way in to considering this curious phenomenon in all its manifestations, taking in diverse texts and disciplines.