Free Woman Arrested Under Sexist ‘Obscenity’ Law


Target: Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Goal: Don’t punish a Japanese artist for her work celebrating the female body

Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi was arrested for scanning an image of her vagina and using a 3-D printer to make a kayak out of it. The outrageous charge leveled at her is that she distributed and displayed “obscene data” because she offered to send the scan to donors and used the kayak in public. This charge is even more unbelievable due to the fact that Japan hosts an annual “penis festival” where men parade down streets with sculptures of male genitalia. Action must be taken now to gain a pardon for Ms. Igarashi and to stop this sexist “obscenity” law from further damaging global gender equality.

The most important part of this story is that Japanese “obscenity” laws deem female genitalia obscene and allow male genitalia to be celebrated in the street. This clear distinction highlights how deeply gender inequality runs around the globe and how entire countries demonize female sexuality. The female form is not obscene. Human bodies are beautiful things that have been celebrated by art for over a millennium. For Japan to disallow the display of female genitalia and not male is appalling and shows a lack of respect for women on a deep, human level.

Japan, a country that only recently outlawed the possession of child pornography and at one time was responsible for producing 98% of the world’s child pornography, clearly has its priorities mixed up when it comes to sexuality. How can a culture be so lenient on the creation of deviant pornography and so draconian about the display of female genitalia in art? Japan must take steps to make its laws less gendered and offer Ms. Igarashi a pardon immediately. Please sign below to show your support for Ms. Igarashi, gender equality, and the beauty of the female body.


Dear Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Artist Megumi Igarashi was recently indicted for “distributing obscene data,” an outrageous charge that demonizes female sexuality in a country where male sexuality is celebrated in the streets. I am writing to you today in awe and rage at this obvious case of sexism and inequality. Japan is a country where child pornography was legal until very recently, but depiction of female genitalia is punishable by jail time and fines. How do Japanese lawmakers deal with this obvious contradiction in what is deemed sexually and socially permissible?

I am writing to demand that these sexist “obscenity” laws be struck down entirely. The female form is in no way obscene. The human body has been celebrated by artists for over a millennium. These laws must be brought into line with global gender equality standards and Ms. Igarashi must be granted a full pardon. I will fight until there is no place where men can legally treat women as less than equal, and right now Japan is one of those places.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: CDC via Mysid via Wikimedia Commons

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