Thursday, November 01, 2012

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Taiwanese funeral strippers and sexy parades

11/01/2012 Taiwan Explorer
The National Geographic has just released a video clip (as part of their Taboo series) on the so called Taiwanese funeral strippers or 電子花車女郎 (literally Electric flower car girls). These sexy girls, that are hired to dance at funerals to appease the spirits and give the deceased a very memorable farewell. Check the video:


For some reason, this phenomenon is reported a lot in recent times, the Huffington Post's Funeral Strippers: Taiwan Showgirls Strip For The Dead During Religious Events Honoring The Deceased was based on AFP's documentary "Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan", made by Marc L. Moskowitz. Here is a trailer:

Check the related website here.

There was a discussion on the issue on The Young Turks YouTube channel. Here a clip:


When Steven Oh says "If you wrap it in religion, you can do weird crazy otherwise irrational things" he has a point, but then he seems to believe, that Taiwan equals China, which is a too simplistic and misleading notion in this case. Taiwan has some pretty unique religious traditions, that can't be found on the Chinese mainland.

What do I think of the funeral strippers?

Some of you might be thinking: "Whaaat? Strippers on a funeral? That's crazy!" - For me it's just one of these things, that doesn't shock me anymore. After seeing betel nut girls, shrimp farm girls, the Pigs of Gods festival and various taoist parades, I'm just like "meh" on this one. Stripping is an old profession found in every corner of the globe and how people have their funerals is not for me to judge. But if we put this phenomenon into perspective, I believe there should be more discourse on the general role of women in Taiwan's society and especially how sex appeal is frequently used in marketing and show biz, but sexuality itself generally treated as a taboo (for example the recent Gay Pride parade was completely disregarded by Taiwanese mainstream media). Such big issue deserves a separate post and perhaps I will write it one day when I have enough information.

The culture of sexy parades

In order to get a better idea, how rural Taiwanese have fun, I browsed through some local sources. This is also part of the "flower car culture":

This is from Yunlin County.

This is... NSFW.

This is also NSFW.

This is a NSFW Christmas parade in Chiayi.

This is a parade in rural Tainan.

This is from Douliou City, Yunlin County.

This is from Kaohsiung.

And now the best for last. This video probably tops all of them, but you have to check this post first, before you watch it.

I have to say this is one of the most bizarre things I've seen in a while.

Taiwan is a country full of contradictions, that are too often hard to digest for your average outsider. In the beginning these things don't make sense. Then you stay longer here, you hear lots of explanations from the locals and things start to make sense. But then after a longer while you realize, that it doesn't make sense at all.

A sexy dance in lingerie in front of an altar made of a force-fed overblown pig? - It completely makes sense! :)