Informant is college educated and has lived on Oahu, Hawaii for their whole life. Informant was dating the Interviewer’s mother for around a year.
Informant discusses a Hawiian legend about the formation of the Koko head crater on Oahu. Koko head is a long dormant volcano.
Informant: “Koko head, if you look at it from an aerial shot, it looks like a vagina.”
Interviewer: “Oh, alright, there we go!”
Informant: “And the story is, is that Pele’s sister, Hi’iaka, they were fighting over, uh, Kamapuaa, the pig god. So pele’s sister threw her vagina, landed by koko head, and that’s how that became Kohelepelepe, which means labia lips. If you look at it from the top it looks like-”
Interviewer: “It looks like a vagina.”
Informant: “It looks like a lady.”
Many Hawaiian legends, like the legends of many other cultures, have a strong emphasis on human reproductive organs. While throwing a vagina may be something completely foreign in modern western culture, stories like this exist not only in Hawaii, but other cultures as well. Off the top of my head, there’s an inuit legend of a woman cutting off her breasts and throwing them at her brother who raped her in her sleep; the sister ran away and the brother went after her, the pair would go on to become the sun and the moon. The sterilization of any talk of human anatomy in not only western legends, but western social norms as well shows how taboos are culture specific, and that actions are only taboo when society says the topic is taboo.