Eleanor Hannan and Elizabeth Dancoes's 1001 Funny Things you can do with a Skirt
Stories and art on the ancient skirt gesture of Anasyrma

Anasyrma : the lifting of the skirt

Anasyrma: the gesture

The ritual gesture of Anasyrma spans human history. Its endurance intimates our profound identification of female sexuality with un-stoppable life force. Many find the Anasyrma gesture frightening in its fierce assertion of gynocentric potency. Perhaps because of this, it remains a gesture of protest around the world, restoring power and laughter to women.


Our starting point in considering Anasyrma was the story of the serving maid, Baubo (Iambe), and her encounter with the goddess, Demeter: Baubo lifts her skirt and the goddess laughs. Why? 


Anasyrma is the Mystery that inhabits the space between the obvious and the unknowable and its object is the skirt.


Beginning with a snuggling face hiding in the warmth of its soft folds, through childhood and teenage provocations, onto an adult sensual indulgence in the caress of silken textiles, to the appreciation of weightier fabrics that assert shamanistic powers, women experience the skirt as a distinctive reminder of the archetypal aspect of the feminine.


‘Skirt Power Stories’ investigates the texture, sound and appearance of the skirt and the cultural pervasiveness of its expression as an extension of primal female sexuality. The eloquence of its movement marking us simultaneously as serving maid and goddess forever at a crossroads negotiating an outcome with fate.


Artwork by Eleanor Hannan

Stories by Elizabeth Dancoes