The Shocker Hand Gesture Used On Promotional Website


Appreciate the Cheese calls attention to an image on a promotional website for the Washington Performing Arts Society which includes a picture of cellist Yo Yo Ma and an Indian dancer with her hands in a pose, called the Hanover High Shocker, that mirrors a common sexual hand motion a guy performs on a girl. While every possible hand configuration can't really be vetted for every ad created, this one, perhaps, should have caught someone's attention.

by Steve Hall    Jul-15-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Strange   

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That may mean an obscene gesture to you, but it's merely a mudra, a stylised gesture in an ancient Indian dance form.


Posted by: Peter on July 15, 2005 5:55 PM

Peter, i understand your post but the shocker is extremely obscene. 2 in the pink, 1 in the stink (sorry, had to say it)

If she was flippin the bird it would be bad enough and never published. this is worse.


Posted by: Dario Meli on July 15, 2005 6:45 PM

Dario whether you see "mudra" or a "*&^%$#" is a function of our state of mind and we should leave it at that. Some are offended by it, some are not and many people will see it for what it is.

It is a beautiful symbol let us not debase it.

Posted by: Abir on July 15, 2005 11:15 PM

Must be common... in your country! :D
Funny cultural differences...

Posted by: ZaMM on July 16, 2005 5:53 AM

Dear Steve,
What a waste of bandwidth. No story.

Posted by: KRank on July 16, 2005 11:58 AM

I guess we should not question this ad then... Completely innocent with no sexual implication whatsoever.
I'm still trying to figure out why I just gave away my whole paycheck to the Washington Performing Arts Society, though, I'd never even heard of them.

Tell that woman to stay out of my dreams. She's interupting my affair with Britney Spears in the tight Pepsi T-shirt.

Posted by: darrin on July 16, 2005 1:16 PM

chicks love it

Posted by: franjo on July 17, 2005 8:28 PM

The very fact that this is post-worthy is ridiculous. Adrants is going downhill, if a story isn't about sex or someone selling something w/ sex they'll make some shit up about implicated hand gestures just to prove it relates to sex in some way! Give me a break...

Posted by: Peter on July 18, 2005 10:02 AM

As the original author of the piece linked to in this item, I thought I'd respond.

I did not mean to debase any symbols from other cultures, but I do think it is interesting, from a marketing point-of-view, to have an excellent example of a symbol that is harmless in one society and can be quite offensive in another.

I feel it is the job of marketing executives to either mitigate the symbol with a simple explanation (to steal from Peter above "An Indian dancer forms a mudra, a stylised gesture in ancient Indian dance.") or to simply use a different photo.

As for "they'll make some shit up," that is simply not true. The "shocker," as offensive as it is, has outgrown its inside joke status. The Washington Post recently received a deluge of letters after it featured a picture of Snoop Dog flashing the "shocker."

The Washington Performing Arts Society sends brochures to over 200,000 households in the DC/MD/VA area and enjoys brisk traffic on its website. I assure you, I am not the only person who made the connection.

I will admit that this symbol is not as well known as the middle finger, but it does show the importance of pop culture knowledge in the marketing world.

Finally, and most importantly, it's funny!

Posted by: athec on July 18, 2005 10:57 AM

in Austria the gesture seems to be well known as the gynaecologist's greeting...

Posted by: werenfried on July 18, 2005 11:03 AM

I will admit that this symbol is not as well known as the middle finger, but it does show the importance of pop culture knowledge in the marketing world.

... no, this is truly pointless. Quit trying to justify your article about nothing by alluding to its "insight" into "pop culture."

Finally, and most importantly, it's funny!

Maybe to a bunch of meatheads in highschool, and even then you're a few years late.

Posted by: Peter on July 18, 2005 11:28 AM

Peter: 2
This site: 0
Original author: 0

Posted by: Dan on July 18, 2005 3:19 PM

Man, what kind of idiot world do we live in? Who could not possibly assume that it would be part of a tradition that is perhaps not "recognized" by ours? And if they can't why the hell would we care what they think. Beyond that anyone that can spot is as a "named sexual 'move'" probably won't be going to see Yoyo Ma anyway, let alone an Indian dance performance...

What is this anyway, the local Fox newstation?

I'm embarrased that I'm wasting my time posting my outrage at such a tremendous waste of our time, and bandwidth.

That's it! I'm unsubscribing...

Posted by: m on July 18, 2005 4:02 PM

Or (if I had bothered to read the other posts) WHAT PETER SAID.
Peter 2!
That's the match.

Posted by: m on July 18, 2005 4:04 PM

Peter 2, others 0.

and stated in another form...

Yo Yo Ma: 2; Snoop Dogg, crappy 'pop culture' et al: 0.

Posted by: Stevie on July 18, 2005 6:21 PM

The point is that the gesture is known and offensive, no matter who is doing it. The Performing Arts Society should know better.

Posted by: Karen on July 20, 2005 3:39 PM

Perhaps you might want to look into this a bit more. Please see this or this (which is a Google-translated version of a French page.

Thank you

Posted by: peter on July 20, 2005 5:33 PM

What's funniest is that as a performer of Indian classical dance, I
a) can tell you that the hand gesture displayed in the ad is one of the most common hands. I use it as often as a ballet dancer uses fifth position.
b) find it odd that I should censor the hand gesture because I "should realize that it doubles" as an obscene hand gesture...what's next, taking it out of performances because someone in the audience might recognize it as odd?

Posted by: an indian dancer on May 21, 2007 10:55 PM

yep. thats the shocker allright.

Posted by: dave on October 29, 2007 1:13 PM

haha yep thats the shocker allright!

Posted by: Dave on October 29, 2007 1:15 PM

seriously though. Do you really think its a total coincidence that out of all the possible hasta-mudras yoyo ma's dancer chick decides to use, the one that she pulls out directly resembles the shocker? You know well that someone overseeing the cover of this article knew the difference. For god sakes, its THE SHOCKER!!!

Posted by: your mother on October 29, 2007 1:23 PM

I agree mom. As a matter of fact, I believe she either knew what she was doing or was given a correction on her Kartari-Mukha. If you look closely at her hands you can see there is a no significant gap between here middle and pointer fingers. Those are either two tight shockers or 2 extreemly poorly formed Kartari-Mukha's. A proper Kartari-Mukha has the pointer finger back and the middle finger pushed forward.

Posted by: Libby on October 29, 2007 1:31 PM