Some works from Megumi Igarashi, a Japanese artist famous for her works depicting her own vagina.

Art

5.10.2016

Pussy Power: Japanese Artist Deemed Obscene For Vagina Pieces

Artist Megumi Igarashi, famed for her sculptures of her own vagina, was found guilty of obscenity under Japanese law on Monday. Using the moniker “Rokudenashiko,” which means good-for-nothing girl, the wild artist sold data that would allow customers to create 3D prints of her vagina. Igarashi used all of the money from the 3D prints to raise funds towards creating a kayak she called a “Pussy Boat.”

Igarashi_decoman
Megumi Igarashi and her “Pussy Boat.”

Igarashi was arrested in July of 2014 for her work, deemed an act of court-ruled obscenity. The court fined her 400,000 yen ($3,664) on Monday, after she was convicted for distributing images of her vagina. Although Judge Mihoko Tanabe declared that the scanned data of Igarashi’s vagina for 3-D printing was sexually obscene, she was cleared of the obscenity charges for the Pussy Boat (which is really more like a kayak). Judge Tanabe didn’t think the kayak was obviously sexual, leading me to believe that Judge Tanabe doesn’t know what the female anatomy looks like–this thing straight up looks like a monster vagina, and several plaster copies of it dangle from the ceilings of sex shops in Japan. The ruling depended more on if the object fuels sexual arousal, in which case you’d basically need to get turned on by a boat for Igarashi to be charged.

Igarashi made a public statement about the court’s ruling. “It’s quite difficult for people around the world to understand the work that I do. So I was worried whether the judges would accept my artwork or not, but I am happy that they accepted ‘Decoman’ work [Pussy Boat] as a form of pop art. Aside from that regarding their decision on the data, I of course object to that, so I plan to go before the court to fight against it. There is a very male-oriented view of what is considered obscene in terms of the female genitalia, and my work is to overturn those notions.”

Igarashi_Diorama
One of Igarashi’s dioramas, which, if you look closely, also contains a vagina.

All Igarashi has tried to do is break the taboo of talking about vaginas in Japan. She wants the word to be accepted, rather than one that ignites embarrassment or shame. The reason she first created the mold of her vagina was because she didn’t know what a normal vagina looked like and wanted to know if hers was weird–clearly, some shame around women’s bodies needs to be lifted. Igarashi’s art only proves that female genital censorship is alive and well.

Lead image by Kathryn Chadason. Photo via Gankagarou, Megumi Igarashi, and Japan Times.

Stay tuned to Milk for more vaginas.

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