March Madness

photo via Japan Slate

While some of us spend mid-March puking green beer or watching college basketball, the Japanese worship gigantic phalluses instead. How’s that different, you ask? To which I would reply, no, they literally worship penises AND vaginas. Says Jonathan Adams of the Global Post:

It may sound like a sophomoric gag. But these are folk rites going back at least 1,500 years, into Japan’s agricultural past. They’re held to ensure a good harvest and promote baby-making.

The penis festival has a bigger following than the vagina fest (are you surprised?) and entails the parading of a six-foot phallus for an hour and a half. It gets twirled a few times too.

I wish I could post the pictures, which have captions like “two men inspect the sacred vagina,” but you’ll just have to go to the article, which, when viewed in a browser, reads, “Japanese Penis | Japanese Vagina” and proves that who needs keywords when your title has both penis and vagina in it. While you’re perusing the pictures of Japanese teenagers lasciviously blowing lollipops, (because really, we needed THAT imagery. We never would have made that association on our own, really.) check out picture #7, the sacred vagina, and tell me it looks even remotely like a vagina. Because if I had to guess, my top three choices would be:

1) piece of calcified cod

2) funeral urn

3) Gary Coleman

Here’s a screen shot of the picture in question:

sacred vagina

Perhaps THIS is why Japan has such low birth rates. They think vaginas look like Gary Coleman. Who would want to reproduce under those circumstances?

In all seriousness, I wish we as a culture celebrated genitalia instead of being disgusted by it. I don’t need a parade or anything, but a potluck would be nice or perhaps a puppet show. We’re so grossed out by the word vagina that three major networks wouldn’t air this hilarious tampon commercial unless the word was removed.

The makers of this commercial tried to appease the networks by using the word “down there” instead, but they didn’t like that either.

Surprisingly, one celebrity is trying to lessen the bad rap that vaginas and menstruation get and no, it’s not Oprah. It’s Tyra “Squealy McFierceFace” Banks. Jezebel posted a few clips of one of her recent shows and, except for one case of bitch-face, Tyra is very affirming and you-go-girl with the young women dealing with their periods on her show. Also, during an episode of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra, in a fit of crazy that I can only refer to as inspirational, dresses the models in all red and tells them to act out cramps! Who said Reality TV doesn’t mimic real life?

Related:

4 Comments

  1. I’ve never actually seen Tyra Banks (television, what’s that?), but a friend of mine told me that they’d seen her have an extremely respectful conversation with a trans person on her show about gender neutral pronouns, so I’m predisposed to think rather kindly of her. And that was BEFORE you gave me the image of models acting out cramps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Interesting that these festivals have been going on for quite some time. I am pretty sure most cultures have festivals to celebrate the same concepts of fertilty, the birth of spring calves, harvest, reproduction, etc. You should see what other cultures celebrate. Isn’t this better than, say, Mardi Gras which celebrates debauchery?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Well, having watched a few episodes of ANTM, I’m not a fan of her usual histrionics, but her talk show has surprised me.

    I think the idea of a fertility festival is fun. Mardi Gras, like 94% of American holidays, is all about boozin and floozin. But baby-making and harvest festivals I can totally get behind (zing)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. I had actually moved to Japan a few weeks before March of ’02. I might have gone to this festival without knowing what type of festival it was, (since I barely spoke or understood any Japanese when I first arrived.) I just might have seen their “va-jay-jay” and not even known it! I probably missed the Penis, I know what those look like from a mile away! hah!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply