A Japanese artist who was recently arrested after crowd-funding a kayak shaped like her vagina — you know, just casual summer fun — says that she will fight the obscenity charges in court. And then, hopefully, she will continue to dismantle vulvaphobia one vagina-craft at a time.
Megumi Igarashi, who goes by the pseudonym Rokudenashiko, was arrested earlier this week under Japan's insanely strict obscenity laws — so strict, for example, that all genitals are blurred out in porn, which seems quite counterintuitive to the spirit of the medium. Igarashi's specific "crime" was sending 3D printer data of her scanned vagina-region to 30 fans who had helped her crowdfund her "pussy boat". For this offense, 10 police officers showed up at her house and began confiscating her work, and she was then arrested on the charge of distributing indecent material. She now faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Which, obviously, is completely and totally batshit and unfair.
"I did not expect to get arrested at all," Igarashi told Reuters. "Even as they were confiscating my works, I thought to myself, 'This will be a good story.' Then they handcuffed and arrested me. Now, I just feel outraged." Speaking from jail, she said that she wants to challenge a culture of "discrimination" against discussions of the vagina in Japanese society.
According to her lead defense lawyer Kazuyuki Minami, her legal team intends to challenge the notion that the vagina itself can be considered obscene. As Reuters notes, "obscenity" is legally defined in Japan as "as something that stimulates desire and violates an ordinary person's sense of sexual shame and morality." According to police, Igarashi vehemently attacked this very notion as she was being arrested: "I cannot agree with the police's decision to label the data as obscene. To me, my vagina is like my arms and legs. It's nothing obscene," she reportedly stated.
Hopefully, Igarashi is able to successfully oppose the ridiculous, antiquated and stigmatizing idea that any representation of the female anatomy is automatically vulgar (also, hopefully she returns to making whimsical vagina art soon, because I'd like to see more of that in the world). In the meantime, a Change.org petition calling for her release has garnered over 18,000 signatures.
Image via Kotaku.