SAME GESTURES AROUND THE WORLD?
"It is tempting to assume that obscenity must be a universal category of
gestures ... that all societies need some way to express the ultimate
insult," says video creator Dane Archer. This assumption, however, would
be wrong. In northern European countries like The Netherlands, Norway, and
Switzerland, Archer did not find a single native obscene gesture. They
do, however, recognize and use imported ones, such as from the U.S.
Archer says there are two kinds of cross-cultural variation. The first
is the specific form. For example, obscenities are conveyed by many
different gestures, from the middle finger in the United States to the
fairly complicated hand and wrist slap in Nepal.
The second is the type of gestures that a society has. A few may be
universal, such as suicide.