We know the usual places where high-grade mainstream spanking scenes come from, ranging from the USA to non-Anglophone countries like Brazil and the Czech Republic; but this time let’s start with some scenes that originated in places we don’t hear from quite so often.
Here’s an unidentified 1990s television drama from Cyprus:
The south-eastern Mediterranean, and the continent of Africa, are both represented by the 1957 Egyptian movie Inta Habibi (You Are My Love), in which Shadia is spanked by her co-star, Farid El-Atrash:
Japanese television gives us the following:
Down the Pacific Rim to Thailand:
And over on the other side of the Pacific, an unconventional cure for hiccoughs in a comic paper from Chile:
The point of this, apart from showing some nice pictures, is to fill out our sense of spanking as a worldwide phenomenon, using examples from the less fully represented countries and continents. Now let’s take a step sideways and go back around the world the other way.
Since we’re in South America, we’ll begin with the Tehuelche prince Patoruzú, a sort of Patagonian Popeye created in 1928 by the Argentine artist Dante Quinterno. He has a particular way with women,
which stands him in good stead when deaing with his troublesomely man-mad younger sister Patora:
There’s an especially piquant example in this 1970 episode, where she becomes a devotee of a certain contemporary fashion which, as always, leaves her self-prepared for her fate:
Back across the Pacific now, to see Tom Foy Woo put an old Chinese saying into practice on his bride, May Wu Woo:
‘To clean up argument with wife, and come out on top, use brush on bottom.’ Confucius he not say it, because according to the report in a late 1940s edition of Eyeful magazine, that esteemed organ of Sinological knowledge, the proverb is five thousand years old, twice as venerable as the great philosopher (and a whole millennium before even the earliest of the Chinese dynasties).
Overland to the other end of Asia, and the Arabs are at it too, in this 1957 spicy toon by the American illustrator Bill Wenzel (1918-87):
It’s the same in Molly Waring’s British romance novel Song of the Desert (1968),
with its independent-minded Arab heroine whose mother reacts badly to her desire to earn her own living:
‘It isn’t two months since I put you across my knee and took down your panties for talking just that way, and I’ll do it again, in front of your brothers if need be.’
In the course of the story, she is captured, then rescued, but runs away from her savior, who catches up with her and hoists her onto his camel:
He flung her face downwards in front of him and held her so that she could not struggle. He pulled the burnous from her, and the next moment his hand came down sharply and painfully across her thinly clad buttocks. She tried desperately to free herself and escape the punishing blows, but when she realized that any attempt at resistance would result in the veils in which she was clad ripping, she forced herself to lie still and endure. She dug her teeth into her lower lip to prevent herself from uttering any cries, but she was worn out both physically and mentally in a state of great nervous stress and she could not help herself. It was not a severe spanking but painful and humiliating, and by the time it had finished she was nearly demented.
‘If you will behave like a naughty child, you must expect to be treated like one. Your little behind will feel pretty sore for a while, but it won’t prevent you riding.’
An intercontinental flight southwards takes us to East Africa, where we encounter a curious tribal custom of the Teso people, as reported in 1952 by that well-known and much-trusted anthropological journal, First Love:
And another trip across the wide ocean takes us to North America, where at least one of the natives is going to be restless when she tries to sit down, as recorded by Bill Wenzel in 1956:
Also relevant here is the unlikely tale of Princess Plenty Bear, in a 1954 run of R.B. Fuller’s newspaper strip about the adventures of knight errant Oaky Doaks.
The Princess has ‘come heap long way across heap big water’, paddling her own canoe, and arrives in the kingdom of Uncertainia declaring her intention ‘to marry heap great King Corny and be heap great Queen of heap great kingdom’. But on discovering that the King appears to have been scalped, she changes her mind and sets her sights on Oaky instead. But he already has an intended of his own, King Corny’s daughter Princess Pomona, who jealously starts walking around in her bathing suit in an effort to compete. Plenty Bear seems to be in with the best chance when she and Oaky go for a canoe ride and almost end up plunging over a waterfall, but things turn Pomona’s way with the arrival of another visitor from across the big sea water, Plenty Bear’s fiancé Laughing Wolf:
But Plenty Bear isn’t keen on being taken home:
The snarky Pomona remarks that her rival probably paddled her canoe over the falls on purpose, and Laughing Wolf takes charge of the situation.
This seems to impress Oaky and worry Pomona in equal measure,
and the outcome establishes a kind of cultural equivalence, with just a slight variation of terminology between the two continents:
It seems that Native American princesses get paddled, whereas European ones get spanked, but it all comes to the same thing in the end (and on their ends).
But there’s an oddity here. The various examples in the first section of the article reflect the spread of European culture (and its American derivate) across the world: the spankers often wear modern business suits, and the young lady being spanked by a Japanese policeman is even dressed as an American Catholic schoolgirl. This can be attributed to the hegemony of (non-native) American power since the Second World War, though the geopolitics of it are not my core concern. But it’s noticeable that, in the second section, every single example of spanking as practiced in a non-European culture is the product of a first-world or colonial imagination.
Do the native cultures ever cover the subject in their own terms? I thought I’d found one when I read a 1962 article by Jack Langan in a Wyoming newspaper describing the Native American petroglyphs at Dinwoody Cliffs:
The figures include representations of owls, turtles and men. One depicts a brawny man spanking a woman who lies across his knee.
Here’s an example of what these rock carvings actually look like:
I’d hazard a guess that anyone seeing a spanking scene there must have been viewing them in the same way as they might look at a Rorschach ink-blot test! So once again, it seems, spanking is something seen by the modern colonial imagination, whether or not it’s really there.
So is spanking everywhere? It’s an issue that we shall pick up next time.