Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, seen here in July, has been indicted on obscenity charges stemming from her genital-inspired artworks.
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
December 24, 2014 Provocative artist Megumi Igarashi has been arrested twice in Japan this year for distributing data that lets people make a 3-D printed kayak that incorporates a model of her genitals.
M.I.A.'s now famous finger during halftime of the Super Bowl.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
February 7, 2012 "In the time of Caligula," says American University's Ira Robbins, "it was intended to be representative of a phallic symbol. Not today." Instead, showing a middle finger is an expression of "frustration or rage or anger or protest or disdain."
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/146534150/146543442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor