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The Peace Sign

Gestures: What do they mean?

Wow! What a hand gesture! It can go from symbol to insulting with just a flick of the wrist! Of course, it means peace both ways here in America, but in other country’s this is not the case! When I first went to research this I had no idea what a big deal it was. I knew there was some conspiracy around it to a degree, but I most certainly didn’t guess it could potentially be so extreme! Isn’t it funny how many things we do wrong but completely out of innocents? So, before taking that tour of the United Kingdom with your history loving parents, you may want to read and/or watch this video!





Overseas Peace Sign

Turns out, if you back hand the peace sign in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, or the United Kingdom you would be flipping them, what’s equivalent to... the bird. Okay, I will now give you a few seconds to pick your jaw back up off the ground. I know what your thinking, “But Bree! The peace sign looks so much smoother and a lot less dorky if I back hand it!!!” I know, I know. It also looks a lot cooler with the hat too.


Yo! Harvey!
Even though either way means peace here, I would almost feel bad doing it the wrong way now with

my new acquired knowledge. Hopefully, you have been notified of this before making a fool of yourself unintentionally unlike some of the more, unlucky popular folks like Harvey Smith. Now, if your like me, I had no idea who that was but apparently the dude was wicked at jumping horses. Well, one fateful day Mr.Harvey was doing one of his fabulous performances at the British Show Jumping Derby in, well, Britain to state the obvious. After he was done with a near prefect score or whatever you get at a show jumping derby, he flashed the peace sign. Cool right? Mmm, not so. He

back handed it. The judges were furious! I’m sure they were all, “Great Scott! Did you see ol’ Harvey flipping us the you know what?” Don’t lie; you know you read that with an accent. Sorry, beside the point. Anyhow, I guess someone cooled them down with a cup of tea or something because they reinstated the win 2 days later.


Its an Accident

Poor Harvey was not the only one to make this mistake. President George H. W. Bush (the older Bush) accidentally flashed the sign the wrong way at a group of farmers in Australia protesting. He was in hot water for a bit after that one.

Can you imagine the confusion these people feel when they go to say peace and get cussed out? I would be completely floored! “Peace man!” (little old lady smacks you with a purse.) On the other hand, if we Americans did something to tick of some foreign folks and they flipped us the “peace” sign we would laugh our socks off! “You should’ve seen him Joe! I cut him off and I swear I thought Lord I’m coming to heaven. Then, out of nowhere he “flipped” me the peace sign!!! Like it was an Insult! Haha, dude I almost died... of laughter!!!” (Joe smacks his forehead)


The Insulting Sign

The insulting version of this sign was first seen in 1901 when a worker used it to let a man filming know he’d had a bad hair day was was not ready for the silver screen... Okay joking about the last part but you get the gist.

Well now you’ve heard about the bad version, lets move on the the less offending side... literally.


Its Literal Sign

A commonly repeated legend claims that the 2 finger salute or victory sign (not the peace sign put looks exactly the same) came from English and Welsh army’s fighting in the hundred year war. According to the story the French were in the habit of cutting off the arrow shooting fingers of the English and Welsh chaps and the sign was one of defiance to show they still had their fingers.

Of course, there’s no proof that this actually happened. In fact, the thing to do at the time was to execute any enemy caught on the battlefield bowman or otherwise. I’m sure it’s just a story told by muscled dad’s around the campfire when they’d run out of scary story's to creep the kids out. Still, the experts weren’t there with a pin and pencil or even better, a camera so all in all, it still could be very true indeed. I guess we’ll just leave it to legend as it’s neither here nor there.


Moving On...

Richard Nixon used it to signal victory. An act that became one of his best known trademarks (best known meaning he had more? Mmm, not sure.). You can find pictures of him standing in an adoring crowd with victory signs stretched out and held high with both hands. He also used the sign on his departure from office following his resignation in 1974. Talk about ironic... anyway.

So, for those of you that have a really “cool” pic of you as your Facebook profile pic, but you have the peace sign the wrong way, may want to think about changing it yet again.


Peace out! :D



Bree Danielle
April 19, 2013