BEN: Does anybody remember when Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut came out last summer? There was all this hubbub about how much explicit sex would be in the film. I’m a huge Kubrick fan and looked forward to it. I was disappointed, though, when I discovered that the orgy scene at the center of the film had been manipulated to get an R instead of an NC-17 rating. Watching it in the theater, I was annoyed, but I couldn’t see what the censors were so concerned about. I had seen much worse in more mainstream movies.
Recently, I purchased the DVD of Eyes Wide Shut and was able to study the segment a bit closer, and I realized what scared the MPAA: There must have been too much dick. Plenty of female exposure still made it into the movie; I’m not talking about close-ups, but certainly enough to leave nothing to the imagination. Obviously, the line that had been crossed was the appearance of our beloved one-eyed friend.
This really rubs my rhubarb the wrong way. For some bizarre reason, Americans have this pathological fear of the penis, and I find it a little demeaning. Granted, I’m the first person to argue that women’s bodies are works of art to be revered. And it’s easy to back that argument up. The male genitals, on the other hand, are not quite so pulchritudinous. They change shape and size at random, and when not in use can look somewhat uninspired and lifeless. Also, penises look more like equipment with a practical purpose than some enchanting form of physical beauty like, say, breasts (which of course are just as utilitarian but look quite wonderful in their own right).
All the same, I think we’re being a little hypersensitive about male genitalia. What we need here is a little prick PR. First of all, everyone is going to have a negative impression when the only person willing to step up to the penis plate is Harvey ”can you see this“ Keitelnot exactly a prime representative for our ”boys.“ Some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood grant us a view of their assets, but when it comes to men, its always the Sipowiczes. So how about some Tom Cruises and Jude Laws stepping up and showing the public we can compete in the exploitation game?
Of course, maybe they aren’t exactly up to the task, if you know what I mean. Everyone has his shortcomings. But in that case, how about a stand-in, just like how Julia Roberts had a mammary stand-in for Pretty Woman. How about that guy from the locker room in Any Given Sunday? Surely there are some Dirk Digglers out there wanting to avoid a life in porn. Let’s give them real job: to make us look good!
Which may be precisely what we need. When I tossed this idea out recently, one woman astutely observed that the reason there’s no dick in cinema is because men are making the movies and running the MPAA. I’ll admit I can’t see many men going out of their way to show more of themselves. Perhaps it’s because we’ve learned to share this subconscious shame. Much in the way women complain they’re made to feel uncomfortable with their bodies due to the prevalence of images of supermodels everywhere, we’ve been given the impression that when it comes to nudity we’re not up to snuff. So loosen up, guys. Be proud! We’re fleshy and real, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Let it be a helmet party everyday.
DANNY: I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I waded through three hours of the horrifying football movie Any Given Sunday just to see some dick. And I couldn’t even really tell you why, except that it that seemed worth my $7 at the time. I can say that I never would have gone to see the movie without it, and that I felt like a prepubescent dork after its .02 very disappointing seconds on the screen. As with most encounters I’ve had with male members, I felt that it was a big bunch of hype and a huge letdown not worthy of my time or money.
There is certainly a lack of cock in culture, and I guess I feel two ways about it. As Ben pointed out, the reason there’s so little male genitalia in movies and television is because most often it’s The Man who’s writing, producing, or at least financing these things. For whatever reason, he wants to keep the male privates private. Tits and ass are OK, because that’s what men want to seeand like Ben says, women are comfortable with that because we’re taught to celebrate our bodies and think they’re beautiful. Even so, I don’t know if we’re really celebrating anything when we see other ladies jiggling onscreen; I think we’re just desensitized to female nudity because there’s so much of it out there.
Who is MTV really for? Men. Club MTV, The Grindthose half-naked dance shows are all for the boys. The camera is always on some tight, wiggling booty or bouncy breasts. I have yet to see a big hard crotch shot of some cute dancer boy on my TV screen. Look at MTV’s Spring Break, with all the swimsuit competitions. The hosts are always guys making all kinds of comments about the ladies. Even though there are men in the competition, I don’t hear the hosts yelling out, ”Did you see the six-pack on that guy? Ladies, ain’t nothing you can do with something that big but throw it over your shoulder and burp it!“
Here’s where my conflicting feelings come in, though. I’m all for equality, and if we show off women, we should do the same for men. But guys, I really don’t care about seeing your dicks. Maybe guys have a ”pathological fear“ of seeing the male member, but women don’t; for the most part, we’re just not visually stimulated by it. We’re more about emotion and touch and feelingssubtle stimulation. Let Baldwin on NYPD Blue take his shirt off in the locker room, and my phone immediately starts ringing.
Women don’t buy magazines to see dick, andwith the exception of my recent film foraywe don’t go to movies to see it either. We go to laugh or cry or see something we’ve never seen before, and that does not include some guy’s flippy flappy floppy. Men may go to strip clubs to see naked women, but I would laugh myself into asphyxiation if I went to a club and some naked guy was rolling around on the floor or poking playfully at women with his trouser trout.
I can’t disagree with Ben’s argument that men should be proud of their bodies. I’m all for celebration, but you can’t be waving your willies around in the streets for everyone to see. And in film, it’s always going to be a catch-22 because men don’t want to show it, and women don’t want to see itso what’s the use in putting it out there? Give guys an inch, so to speak, and we’ll have prosthetic pricks and two-ton testicles and all kinds of unnecessary craziness. Leave a little something to the imagination. It’s sexier that way.
Got a question or comments for Danny and Ben? E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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