Saturday, July 11, 2009

Penis-theft on the rise again

Cases of penis theft are in the news again. In the print edition of the Weekly Trust today, the article has a picture of men beating a suspected penis snatcher (reproduced here). Note how they are careful not to have hand-to-body contact with the victim and are beating him with sticks and shoes.

The article is not a bad overview, and suggests that a) penis theft is a pyschological, not physical phenomenon - that is - that men do not really lose their penises. Again, the article suggests there is evidence to link waves of penis-theft with economic downturn. As elsewhere, when an economy starts to fail, foreigners are the first to be blamed - as with the imported refinery workers in the UK a few months back. Cases of penis-theft often involve foreigners being accused.

This reminds me of Dan Smith's contention that the witch phenomenon in Nigeria (most recently, the child-witch phenomenon in Akwa Ibom) can be linked to economic and environmental issues. With no readily-available explanatory mechanism within the terms of society, supernatural causes are conjured up. In the African worldview, chance has no role to play and there is no such thing as an accident: there must always be an explanation. Magic fills the void.

Frank Bures has written an excellent article on 'penile retraction' which locates the Nigerian variety in an historical/international pyschiatric context and the notion of it being a 'culture-bound' syndrome. As he notes, Africa doesn't have exclusive rights to such collective hysteria phenomena.


nneoma 8:57 pm  

"'Men could be seen in the streets of Lagos holding on to their genitalia either openly or discreetly with their hand in their pockets,' Ilechukwu wrote."

now i get it...this is why some men i have seen at home hold on to their crotch all the time.

Femi 10:06 pm  

The belief that the penis can retract into the abdomen and this results in death is prevalent in the Far East, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. In the psychiatric literature it is termed 'Koro'. It has also been sporadically reported outside of the Far East. It used to be considered a psychotic phenomenon but it is now recognized as a manifestation of anxiety. See Oyebode et al, 1986, British Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 212-214 for a case description in a European.

Jaycee 3:24 pm  

Definitely a lot of crazy illusions arise when a people are subjected to economic deprivation...they begin to look for abnormal ways to explain their problems.

Anonymous,  12:03 pm  

On totally unrelated matter...Jeremy, what happened to your blog list? I know this is your blog but I take God beg you, pls bring back the old list. Thank u oh!

Anonymous,  4:32 pm  

This still continues to rear its ugly head. Used to be called 'yoko yoko' once upon a time.

One can well imagine the hysteria is somewhat justified - not a nice thing to happen to one.

Dodzia 7:38 pm  

My nookie days are over
My pilot light is out
What used to be my sex appeal
Is now my water spout.

Time was when, on its own accord
From my trousers it would spring
But now I've got a full-time job
To find the blasted thing.

It used to be embarrassing
The way it would behave
For every single morning
It would stand and watch me shave.

Now as old age approaches
It sure gives me the blues
To see it hang its little head
And watch me tie my shoes.

A Genuine Way To Permanently Enlarge Your Penis At Home - Using Just Your Hands

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP