Postmedia Ke$ha sells new line of penis necklaces — but her fashions are more vintage than she knows

Unbeknownst to Ke$ha, her latest fashion statement has the weight of history behind it.

The eccentric artist released her first jewelry line, Kesha Rose, this past week. While no one expects normal from the singer-songwriter who wears human teeth around her neck and tours the world in feathers and body paint, she managed to outdo herself this time. Most popular among her line is a $20 “zero karat gold” (their words) chain, outfitted with a shiny penis-shaped pendant.

Surely this was done to cause shock and awe and to boost sales (they already sold out of the anatomical accessory). Charles Albert, the jewelry’s design company, claims they “wanted the line to reflect her unique personality.”

But Ke$ha might be surprised to learn that wearing a phallus around the neck goes way back to the time of the Roman Empire. A little social history is needed here.

The ancient Romans were very open about sexuality, much more than we are today. Terms like gay or straight didn’t exist; rather one’s behaviour during sex was more important than actual sexual orientation. In some cases, it was seen as manlier and more virtuous for a man to copulate with another man, and in many cases men would sleep with little boys for this same reason.

While this horrifies modern humans, the children were not seen as victims at the time. In her book Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, Melissa Mohr writes of a Roman consul whose manliness was put into question. He responded to his accuser by saying “Suillius, cross-examine your sons: they will testify that I am a man.”

Rough stuff.

The kids, however, still wanted to protect themselves. To keep themselves unnoticed, boys would wear tiny charms in the shape of an erect penis called fascini. According to Melissa Mohr, Roman boys believed the fascini had magical powers – cast upon it by the god Fascinus – which protected them from envy and evil eyes. By wearing this charm, an observer’s stare would be diverted away from the boy and stuck on the small pendant. They were fascinated by it – yes, fascinated is derived from the Latin word for boner – rather than by the boy’s sexuality.

The blonde pop star obviously doesn’t want to divert any attention away from herself, but is there a deeper symbolism behind this move? Is this a cry for help? Is Ke$ha saying she’s tired of men going after her (who could resist the producer of lyrics like “come put a little love in my glove box” and “just show me where your dick’s at”?) or that she wants to be taken more seriously regardless of her crazy style?

Probably not. But it’s fun to speculate while she makes a small fortune from her latest stunt.


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