Sep 13, 2008

Lifestyle - On Sale;Beijing cheergirls dirty lingerie

HONGKONG: After staging a spectacular Olympics that wowed the world, China was hoping to savour the sweet smell of success. But it’s raised a stink instead. A posting on China’s leading auction site Taobao for the sale of Beijing Olympics cheerleaders’ uniforms, including their unwashed bras and panties, has whipped up a minor storm on China’s Internet. An agent claiming to represent one of the many international teams of Olympics cheerleaders put up the intimate innerwear items for auction and “guaranteed their authenticity” and their “unwashed” status. In language intended to appeal to panty fetishists, the agent wrote, “They are sure to excite you: When you hold them up to your nose and sniff, you’ll smell the youthful fragrance of the young girls.”It turns out that the uniforms and innerwear had been offered for sale by some cheerleaders, a few of whom had come from Japan — in response to a call to contribute some personal effects for auction to raise money for the Sichuan earthquake victims. Some donated dolls, jewellery and other trinkets; others donated intimate apparel. Predictably, the auction listing has been flamed by incensed Chinese netizens as a “vulgar, shameless insult to the Olympics spirit.” One blogger ranted that the language of the listing was “inflammatory and obscene” and had “tarnished the purity of the Olympics.” Being a part of the Olympics, another commentator noted, “came with a high sense of honour and self-esteem” and for someone to offer their used underwear for cash was “a stain on the reputation of the volunteers.” From all accounts, the ‘panty donors’ may have been cheerleaders from Japan, where there exists a thriving market for used innerwear that are used in auto-erotic practices. In fact, so-called ‘burusera’ (literally, bloomers-seller) shops in Japanese cities and towns cater to the kinky needs of hormonally driven men to this day. Typically, the merchandise is sold with a photograph of the girl wearing it, which works like a ‘certificate of authenticity’.Up until a few years ago, there were even vending machines that dispensed used panties. Japanese director Takeshi Miyasaka’s 1996 film Burusera: Shop of Horrors depicts three schoolgirls who sell their underwear for pocket money, only to realise that the fashion lines had changed from merely soiled underwear to blood-stained ones.Japanese cities have been attempting to crack down on this fetishist trade, in which sometimes even schoolgirls are complicit because it is an easy source of pocket money. In 2004, for instance, the Tokyo metropolitan administration banned the sale of used underwear from women under age 18, but buyers and sellers have found inventive ways to beat the ban. Chinese Internet users are now worried that the panty fetish may make the crossing from Japan into China. “I don’t know whether Chinese girls too will take to this trade in order to enjoy the luxuries of life,” notes one blogger. “That’s really something to worry about.”

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