HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
A PENIS PROBLEM!
Reading the newspapers, watching CNN, FOX and MSNBC, scrolling through the blogosphere and online news sites, can be very depressing these days. Fights over immigration, wars in the Middle East, planes shot out of the sky over the Ukraine, Ebola outbreaks in Africa – I mean there’s some pretty serious (and shitty) stuff happening around the world. It’s easy these days to think that there’s just no escape from this worldwide mess. But I, for one, and I’m sure many of you too, take solace and pleasure from the newly creative television fare on HBO (Game of Thrones, and The Leftovers), Showtime (Dexter), Netflix (House of Cards and Orange is the New Black), AMC (Breaking Bad) as well as some nifty shows on our traditional networks like ABC’s Scandal. There’s some really good stuff out there.
One of the highlights of the cable shows is the increasing amount of nudity, tasteful I might add, that’s evident of late. Now, the expansive degree of nudity is not why I watch Orange is the New Black or Six Feet Under, for example, but, admittedly, it is an attraction; a bonus so to speak. Okay, so let’s take Orange. From the pilot onwards nudity has been a part of life in Litchfield Federal Prison particularly when the shower drains back up and ooze dark, hazardous looking waste material all over the yellow tiled floors. Or when the female prisoners are treated to a detailed vagina anatomy lesson, one that’s probably waaaaay more informative than our high schoolers get these days. None of the nudity is gratuitous or prurient on Orange even though we’ve been treated to full frontal shots, crotch shots, one nipple sucking shot that I can recall, lots of bare ass shots and a cornucopia of views of the naked female body.
So, I asked myself the other day, what about us men? Where are our full frontal shots? Yes, one occasionally sees a bare assed male or two or a fleeting full frontal flash on that extremely rare occasion but, in general, it’s a vast desert wasteland out there when it comes to televised male nudity as compared to the women. This lack is not a problem in European cinema (France comes to mind) and hasn’t been for several decades. I don’t know about European television but I’d be willing to bet a fancy meal that full frontal male nudity is much more in evidence there than it is here. Sure, I know America is much more prudish than Europe but still I have to wonder why it is that females get all the glory here in the U.S. of A? Is it because all the shows are produced by men? Could be. In fact, probably so. But what, then, is the problem? Is it that male producers are just so heterosexually wired that the nude male body is some sort of existential threat to their psyches? Are their sexual identities so fragile that they can’t even think about anything more than a bare chest or rear view shot? Is it the “slippery slope” paradigm leading to producers being raped by young, hot, male interns? (Or would it be the other way round?)
One show, HBO’s OZ was an exception. In a kind of upside down parallel to Orange, OZ did incorporate a fair degree of male nudity in its story lines and yes, there was the occasional full frontal shot. Occasional. But still, one show hardly qualifies as a trend. And now that I’m thinking about it, it is kind of weird that both Oz and Orange take place in prison settings. Most of us don’t know a whole lot about real prison life so maybe this lack of knowledge by the general public allows producer types more creative freedom since few of us can accurately attest to what actually takes place in Litchfield or OZ. So Hollywood can go about its merry way with none of us the wiser. I, for one, have no idea if gang showers are commonplace in prisons today. But with both Oz and Orange nudity is very much integral to the story narratives. The nude scenes are not add-ons. In fact, the topic is approached in a very matter-of-fact and natural way as if nudity were simply a part of daily life. Well, daily life in prison I guess.
Now I’m not advocating any sort of pornography on television (there’s the internet for that) but I do think it’s about time we as a nation got over this horror of the nude male body. Or is it just the penis that's the problem? If you’ve ever watched HOB’s Real Sex you will notice that rarely is a penis shown yet there is no compunction about showing vaginas and breasts. From my experience (Limited!) breasts are particularly popular on this show. What is this censorship of the penis? The penis, mine and yours if you are male, is as much a part of our anatomy as is the female vagina to women. So why not show it? Why crop the penis out of otherwise
tasty tasteful male nude scenes? It must be some sort of phobia I guess and I
think I know what it is. See the
Right. As much as men proclaim that “size doesn’t matter*” or the “it’s not the size, it’s how you use it that’s important*” homily, size does matter in the over-competitive male world. And I suspect in the highly competitive world of television production, size matters too. Well, not for those manly men who are sporting 10 or 12 inchers I suppose, but for the rest of us who weigh in on the lesser side of the measure. Because when you think about it, if television producers display penises in their shows, they can’t help but compare their own penis to the members of the actors in their shows. And that could lead to other “thoughts and feelings” couldn’t it? I mean it’s fine to be attracted to the female anatomy but to a male? Well, use your imagination.
So I’m thinking of starting a campaign to right this horrible cultural wrong that befalls us. BTW it’s not just an issue in Houston. No, it’s a problem - scourge, really - everywhere. Across the entire country from our purple mountain majesties to our fruited plains. As a result, I’m thinking of starting a Facebook page called:
“SIZE DOES MATTER: DEAL WITH IT!”
Or maybe something like:
“IT’S YOUR PENIS: YOUR MANHOOD: DON”T BE SHY!”
“HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE MY SMALL PENIS!”
Not sure about that last one. And, NO! it doesn’t apply to me!
Have a good day!
*Which conveniently ignores the role friction plays in sexual intercourse.