A French statue of Heracles, also known by his Roman name Hercules, has been suffering from a particularly invasive form of vandalism. But local authorities think they’ve come up with a solution: a prosthetic penis.
The nine-foot Heracles, which wears only a lion-skin cloak, stands in the Parc Mauresque in Arcachon, where it is meant to represent the French resistance against the Nazis. But thieves “emasculate” the statue constantly, leaving “a small steel rod not even big enough to serve as a perch to a tiny bird,” Sud Ouest reported last year.
“I wouldn’t want anyone—not even my worst enemies—to go through what happens to this statue,” Mayor Yves Foulon said during a town meeting last week, calling the removal “systematic.” Although his office had considered the issue previously, it took a new deputy mayor, Martine Phelippot, to get this initiative off the ground. (“She is a doctor,” explained the mayor.)
Heracles’s manhood has been challenged before. According to Sud Ouest, sculptor Claude Bouscau had to shave down his creation’s measurements twice following its 1948 unveiling, after women repeatedly complained.
From now on, Heracles will wear his own anatomy only during special park ceremonies. Afterwards, he will be once again dis-membered, says Phelippot.
“It’s not the perfect solution because obviously men would prefer that part of their anatomy to be permanent,” she told The Local, “but… we think a detachable penis is for the best.”
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