Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, 42, is known for fun creations such as vagina-shaped iPhone cases, a vagina-shaped lampshade and even a vagina-shaped remote-controlled car. But police arrested her on obscenity charges earlier this week for emailing a digital model of her vagina, unaware they were making her (all of her) an international symbol of free expression.
Igarashi, whose pseudonym Rokude Nashiko means “bastard” or “no-good” (or, y’know, “badass”) had created a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding page for a vagina kayak, which she dubbed “The World’s First 3D-Scanned Peach on the Beach”:
The project managed to raise a million yen (nearly $10,000), twice her goal, since hey, it’s just as worthy a cause as potato salad. Here she is, living the dream:
Igarashi rewarded her 30+ contributors with the digitized version of her lady parts. Police seized the opportunity to apprehend her (and confiscate a bunch of her artwork) over “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer.”
Japanese law requires censorship of genital imagery, despite the country hosting an annual penis festival. Igarashi is still in jail, but she’s not going down (no pun intended) without a fight. She wants to change her country’s hush-hush attitude toward female anatomy for good.
“I do not think it is obscene,” she protested. “[Vagina] is thought to be obscene and is overly hidden even though it is just a part of a woman’s body.”
With media attention from all over the world — and an inevitable Change.org petition — Igarashi has become a cause célèbre of free speech advocates (and vagina advocates) everywhere. C’mon, who could ever see a criminal in either of these faces?