The fame of vulgarity and the ‘vagina artists’


HAVE we gone down to a new low? I don’t think so. Well, at least not yet. Many of us are still hopeful and praying for credible, honest, and peaceful national elections in the midst of the unusual noises that have gone down to gutter level.

We continue to hear, read, and listen to heated exchanges in the social media and how people are using vulgarity to promote presidential hopeful Rodrigo Duterte and defend what appear to be his off-the-cuff remarks against the Pope, women, senior citizens, and people with disability.

Duterte has come a long way from being a mayor of Davao City, known for its unsavory tag as the host of an alleged vigilante group – the Davao Death Squad, often accused for the summary executions of petty criminals. Now, Duterte has earned the trust of many people who are using the same brand of vulgarity to verbally attack their detractors.

Given all this, it was an interesting read to come across Japanese sculptor and manga artist Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself as rokudenashiko, or simply a “bad girl.” Igarashi, who was baptized by The Japan Times as the “vagina artist,” was in the news again because of her impending marriage to vocalist and guitarist Mike Scott of The Waterboys, a British folk rock band.

Before we say “best wishes” to Igarashi and Scott, it’s important to understand in this context that the Japanese “vagina artist” has a pending case before a Tokyo District Court for publicly “displaying obscene materials.” She was arrested in July 2014 for distributing 3-D scans of her vagina (from a 3-D printer) as part of an online business of a kayak modeled out of her genitalia to concretize in what she believes as the connection between female sexuality and the beauty of the sea.

After her release from a brief prison stay in July, Igirashi was rearrested in Dec. 2014 for the same offense. This time, the prosecutors are asking the court to punish her with a fine of Y800,000 ($7,155).

With both Duterte and Igarashi in mind, it has become easy for us to describe the two fitting the mold of the Black Swan model as described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, and risk analyst who wrote the 2007 bestselling book with the same title.

A Black Swan is a metaphor for anything that is out-of-the ordinary or something that is unexpected to happen. Why not? Have you seen a black swan before? Isn’t all swans are white, in the same manner that all crows are black. Therefore, a black swan and a white crow are of the same feather – they’re extraordinary and unpredictable at the same time.

This makes me come out with one irreverent conclusion as part of my growing list of Elbonomics: You can win, if you have the ultimate passion to do extraordinary things, no matter how they border on illegality or immorality.

Duterte and Igirashi are not the first-movers or the first of their kind in this planet. American presidential nominee Donald Trump has done it ahead of Duterte. In the case of Igirashi, there were many feminists who became successful in promoting discussions on female sexuality, which is a taboo topic to many of us.

On top of the heap is “down under” feminist artist Casey Jenkins, a self-professed “craftivist” known for her “vagina knitting project.” Since 2013, regardless of the time and flow of her nature, Melbourne-based Jenkins would put wools of yarn inside her like a tampon starting out as white, that would become red for her menstrual blood, and then back to ultimate white for her two-color knitting venture.

Like Duterte and Trump, vagina artists Igirishi and Jenkins suffered online harassment from thousands of people who were in a disgusting disbelief as if someone has overturned a big rock to see all types of crawling insects scampering out of fear for their safety while spewing words like “gross” and “ewww.”

The verdict is on May 9 when Duterte understands the people’s choice for a new Philippine President. For Igirishi, it’s the same date when the court hands down its decision for her alleged obscenity.

Don’t you wish that we can be creative without being vulgar?

Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random management thoughts.


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1 Comment

  1. David Michael Meyer on

    Well I wonder if a man was to have a penis exhibition what the reaction would be?

    ..The age of political correctness is truly a wonder I remember years ago being told off for calling a group of woman “Ladies: ..It would appear that i was somehow categorizing woman ..If someone would refer to me as Gentleman –Would I attack them for this ?

    We seem to have a “Animal Farm mentality..In this age of feminism

    David M Meyer (Phd Psych}