Each penis drawing is a small act of rebellion

Article by Tobias Landwehr  /
Ze.et  /
May 13, 2017  /
Click here to view original  /

[German to English translation]

Well one meter tall, two circles, an ellipse plus line that yields: a giant penis. Ironically, he was – as so often – decorated with tiny little hair, although this was in some way completely out of fashion. The location of this subtle work of art is as clichéd as it is self-evident: the locker room of a sports hall, the authors probably pubertieren teenagers.

Only: What is it? What do people have to do with penises on houses, schools, cars, boards, trees, ballot papers, works of art? Where is the tremendous fascination that animates over 400,000 Facebook users to a like-for-like, say, phonetic reinterpretation of the Australian daily Herald Sun?

Penis as a protest

Lauren Rosewarnne, Doctor of Political Science and Social Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia, is one of the investigators who get to the bottom of the penis phenomenon. In your opinion, there is not the one explanation for a penis motif. The phalli on the Herald Sun, for example, are to be interpreted differently from the habitualism on the school floor: “Such drawings are the expression of a controversial attitude – especially when they are torn out of the context or are part of graffitis and vandalism. Although the image of a penis is nothing special, it always offers a certain explosiveness. “According to Rosewarne, a well-placed phallus is nothing but an act of rebellion: a protest of any kind.

In Australia, the penis has already taken on political dimensions: in the 2016 parliamentary elections, a hearty phallus of grace prevailed instead of ordinary electoral crosses. Rosewarne, who investigated the cases, interprets the sketches not simply as childish behavior, but as an expression of dissatisfaction with the system: a well-groomed “Fuck euch doch!”.

This is quite remarkable. The authors of the works could have simply been included. Instead, they wanted to give their refusal a symbol. The Russian street-art ensemble Voina (Russian for war) followed the same thought in 2010 when a multi-storey protest pigeon struck a high-rise in St. Petersburg.

Penis graffiti as a landmark

Now, of course, there is no political manifesto behind every penis graffito. Also the huge specimen on the wall of the dressing room was probably not a profound system criticism. “Sometimes penis graffiti are also simply a kind of territorial marking. According to the motto, “I was here,” says Rosewarne. Especially during the school period, this type of penis sketch enjoys outstanding popularity. Teachers * of all eighth and ninth grades – no matter what school form – could sing a song of it.

This is, above all, a pubertal show-off, says Rosewarne: “The penis is a symbol of strength – a totem if you like it. When you point it somewhere, you demonstrate and illustrate an act of masculinity. “Accordingly, most phallus graffiti comes from young or young men. Women as penis artists are generally rather scarce.

If the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan is consulted, this is due to a profound difference. In his treatise, the phallus is divided into two groups: those who are the phallus are feminine and mostly, but not only, women, and those who possess the phallus are male and mostly, but not only , Men. Femininity in this context means to desire a desire to have masculinity, a subjective (sexual) desire. This subjectivized desire is expressed in a so-called centrifugal tendency, which drives the males to spread their masculinity – even if it is only symbolized by a doodled penis.

There are hardly any vulva pictures

Of course, Lacan’s whole theory could be tainted as chauvinist antifeminism – after all, this theory came from the 1950s – but even the theories of modern feminists like Judith Butler are based to a certain degree on Lacan’s work. Nevertheless, there is almost never one: Graffiti from Vulven. Almost no girl is at school thinking of scratching a vuva in the table or spraying on the wall. Why is that?

“Of course you could argue that a penis is much easier to symbolize than a vulva. On the other hand, a vulva graffiti does not have the same cultural significance as a penis image. It also does not have the same connection to strength. It is therefore understandable that they are largely lacking, “says Rosewarne. This does not have to remain so, of course. Maybe there will soon be an artistic resistance to the status quo. Would be desirable if then Vulven On the side with penis graffiti adorn the walls of the dressing rooms, well, yes.