Obscene Gestures

Every culture has obscene gestures; in America the middle finger is one of the most obscene. The middle finger was most likely derived from Ancient Greece, ‘the finger’ is one of the most widespread obscene gestures throughout the Western world. In a handful of Mediterranean and Arab countries the index finger is preferred to the middle, but the meaning remains crystal clear. There are tons of different stories for the origin of the finger; going back as far as 2,500 years.
Some make mention to Greek tragedies, phallic representation, perverse Roman emperors, English long bowmen, and annoyed deaf people but, we just don’t know the actual origin. Nonetheless, the middle finger is probably the most universally-understood hand gesture in the world. This is owed mostly to its age and the sheer simplicity of the gesture. Every country has their own set of obscene gesture unique to their culture. A simple thumbs up is not a good idea in the Middle East, Russia, Greece, Sardinia, Western Africa, and Latin American countries.
Even though this means good job or ok in western cultures in these places it refers to “sit on my erect penis. ” In southern Sardinia, where the gesture is particularly obscene, don’t try hitchhiking! The common ok sign seen all over the U. S. is never ‘ok’ in Brazil, Germany, and some areas around the Mediterranean. This is because this ‘o’ represents an anus, which means you are calling the recipient an asshole. The Palm-Back V surprisingly does not mean “peace” in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy. Instead of “peace” this gesture symbolizes “up your ass” or “fuck off. George Bush, Sr. famously gave the sign to Australians in 1992, thinking he was giving the peace sign. The Forearm Jerk, slap a hand down on the opposite bicep and then raise that arm into a fist, is obscene in France, southern Europe, the Mideast, and the U. S. This is expressing “Fuck off! ” or “Up yours! ” In France it is called the bras d’honneur or arm of honor. The Corona which looks like the popular “Rock ‘n roll” or “Hook ’em, Horns” sign is not perceived as that in Spain, Portugal, the Baltics, Brazil, and Colombia.

In these countries this simply means “Your wife is a whore”. Another gesture, this time aimed towards your mom, is the Concha; a very bad idea in Chile. First, hold up a palm towards you and slightly curl the fingers to form the shape of a shell. Second, say “Concha de tu madre. ” Figuratively meaning, “Your mama’s dried up, nasty cooch. ” Third, run as fast as you can. France is a lovely place until your taxi cab driver takes his middle finger and thrusts it up into his curled up fist of his other hand. Basically saying “You take it up the ass. ”
France likes large gestures but Pakistanis are very simple. A single raised closed fist in Pakistan means that you take an erect penis up into your rectum. The Philippines are also very simplistic. In America we might signal someone to “come here” by curling an index finger toward ourselves repeatedly. Don’t do that in the Philippines, where it’s a gesture fit only for dogs and can get you arrested. Over in Japan they have the Animal. This is because Japanese don’t like Koreans so they call them “animals” by extending four fingers of one hand in another person’s face.
I thought it was really interesting how each gesture was linked to a sexual organ or sexual act. Obscene gestures are a part of society no one really thinks about but I realized how much it relates to that cultures way of thinking. Also, how one society can be ‘ok’ with something and another will cringe; like the ok symbol. The moral of the story is if your traveling google that country and read a bit because you don’t want to ruin your vacation because your feeling a little punk rock.

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