Sara Baartman, the ‘Hottentot Venus’
Sara Baartman was only 20 years old when her life changed forever. She was one of two Khoikhoi women who were put on display across Europe as a part of a “freak show” attraction. The women were referred to as “Hottentot Venus.” Hottentot used to be the name used to refer to Khoi people, but it is now considered to be a racist term and Venus was in reference to the Roman goddess of love. In the early 1800s, Baartman was the subject of scientific and medical research in France. Despite constant legal battles to try to get the woman released back to her home, she remained in European custody for what they considered to be scientific research. After she died, researchers kept her sexual organs and her brain and put them on display in the Musee de I’Homme in Paris.