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The Bulging Crotch In Advertising In China

Walking through a Chinese shopping mall is like running a gauntlet of . . . bulges?

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Editor’s note: The images in this article have been censored by our advertisers. Though the images only showed an advertisement of a man in his underwear that was displayed in a public shopping mall they were deemed too “lewd” by our advertisers, so we had to remove them.

Almost needless to say, the above advertisement of a dude tugging up on a bulging, arguably artificially stuffed, crotch gets attention. It sits prominently featured at the top of the escalator on the third floor of the California shopping mall in Xiamen, right next to a large scale play place for children.

If advertising is about attracting eyeballs, getting a reaction, and cultivating a consumer buzz, then what better way to accomplish this objective than sticking a photo of a big fucking moose knuckle out in front of your store?

Seriously, these genitalic protuberances are being used by stores in Chinese malls like those big flashing arrows are used by roadside curio shops and gas stations in the USA. Walking through these places is like running a gauntlet of bulges. They’re even stuffing the crotches of mannequins with crumpled packing paper because . . . well, what country wants people to think their mannequins have little ones?

It sort of changes the terms of engagement for window shopping.

I walked into a shop that had overtly endowed mannequins and I asked one of the workers why she did it. I was curious about what she would say. But she just became extremely embarrassed, froze up, muttered something about the manager doing it, and ran away.

This phenomenon is right out in the open, anybody can observe it, but it’s not something that you mention noticing. The impressions of giant dicks hovering between denim jackets and bubble tea is completely legit here, just so you don’t talk about it. This culture has the amazing ability to simply not acknowledge the obvious if it’s potentially embarrassing.

But come on, now, they are putting up pictures of dudes in underwear feeling their junk right next to places where kids go to play on slides and trampolines. Whether they talk about it or not, people notice things like this.

Underwear display stuffed with paper

Though the cultural tendency of “not noticing” is deeply embedded here and extends far beyond protruding bulges in shopping malls. Sex shops here have no qualms about proudly displaying giant dildos and artificial vaginas (with hair or without) in their storefront windows. Condoms and lube is sold in every supermarket checkout aisle. Everybody here sees this stuff daily, but if you dare mention it to a Chinese person they will invariably get chocked up with embarrassment and reply with nothing but giggles.

I learned this the experiential way when I snapped a photo of a package of condoms that had a rather humorous mistranslation in English, and then later showed it to a Chinese guy. Though the dude was about to graduate from university and had just returned from his compulsory military training, but as soon as I revealed the photo of the condom package he blushed uncontrollably, covered up the LCD screen on my camera, and turned his head. It was like he’d never seen a condom before, even though every time he goes through the checkout line in a supermarket has sees the exact same package I’d photographed.

The difference, apparently, was that I was acknowledging the fact and making it real, rather than leaving it unspoken and open to conjecture.

Mannequin with a stuffed crotch Another stuffed crotch mannequin


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Filed under: China, Culture and Society, Humor

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

2 comments… add one

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  • Barbara August 29, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Reminds me of the giant billboard jeans campaign I saw on the daily bus I took in Rome in one of the suburbs back in the ’90s. The first week, the, uh, junk was at rest. Yawn. Sock in the jeans. What else is new, especially in Italy? The second week there was an erection. More yawn along with a giggle. I probably zoned out at 3 and sort of remember seeing the ad at 6 — when I realised what they were doing it was at 9 o’clock at which point I was LMFAO. I told my pals at the school and while none of them believed me, they also made it clear they thought there was something wrong with me for noticing.

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    • VagabondJourney August 29, 2013, 8:16 pm

      It’s funny how you’re not supposed to mention things like this — though you know everybody notices 😉

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