Where opinion meets benign syntax abuse...
**Utterly Naked Men, The Movie**
In which the burning question is posed: Where is all the male
There is probably no way to put this delicately or maybe there is but I
am hereby electing to ignore that rather untitillating approach so let's
just come right out and say it: There are not enough penises in the
That's right. You read correctly. It is a time of explicit warmongering
and face-smacking corporate corruption and unsubtle government ploys to
whore the nation's patriotism for more oil, of fabricated threats and
calculated scare tactics on the part of Bush & Co. designed to make you
blindly support the ongoing bombing of countries that don't even have
paved roads yet, much less decent air conditioning.
It is a time of overt religious rancor and scattershot sexism and
pedophilic priests and Starbucks-branded lifestyles and
your-logo-tattooed-on-my-forehead -for-a-thousand-bucks. But still you
don't see completely naked men in movies. This is so true. And this is
Let us try to be more delicate, if not more philosophical. Female full
frontal nudity isn't shocking anymore and it isn't even novel and even
"Sex and the City" happily trots out at least three pairs of bare female
breasts and a couple shiny butts every week and even your mother doesn't
flinch, and that's as it should be, really.
Naked women are everywhere in media and naked breasts are more common
than clunky line deliveries on "Walker, Texas Ranger" and it's certainly
not uncommon anymore to bear witness to the fully exposed female genital
region in casual lighting in even the tamest of Hollywood fare.
Women's bodies are as celebrated and worshipped and exploited as ever,
pressurized and glorified and commodified and this is relatively common
knowledge and some of it is very good and some is very, very bad and
insulting and stupid. Just like life.
But this is what you don't see very often: the naked man. The buff
decidely handsome male of the species, en flagrant, full on, frontal
shot, unblinking, enthusiastic. Not that I'm personally wildly eager for
more unclad men, mind, but the truth is, they're all women, the nude
ones. And they're usually beautiful and primped and completely detached
from the more "normal" women in the audience. And this really is unjust.
This is unbalanced. This is, how shall we say, wrong. Ask any sexually
attuned woman. See?
Much noticing of the naked-male phenom occurred during a recent viewing
of the fabulously refreshing and casually real movie "Y Tu Mama Tambien"
with the SO, wherein the young men of the film are giddy sex-starved
maniacs in pursuit of fornication and truth and coming-of-age wisdom. It
is a smallish critically acclaimed R-rated foreign film for
humor-inspired adults. It is sexy and mildly explicit and funny and
sweet and more honest than 99 percent of Hollywood.
And there are visible penises. There is coordinated male masturbation.
There is three-way sex. A dash of homoeroticism. A sexually strong
female. There is even a humorous splash of (gasp) semen. Hide the
Why is this important? Why should you care? Because sexuality in
entertainment media is and always has been a cultural barometer, a
revealing touchstone of how far we have come and how far we have to go
and blah blah blah.
But aside from the relatively prosaic feminist-speak, men are always
complaining that their wives and girlfriends aren't more sexually
aggressive and women are often bewailing how far removed they are from
the engines of sexual culture, relagated to the background, stripped of
sexual power, and how most media is largely a male-centric nonsensual
grunt-fest designed almost solely to flatter the male sexual response.
And they're right.
Maxxim to movies to music videos to beer commercials, entertainment
media still largely alienates if not openly antagonizes women and then
men sit around scratching their beer-bellies and watching air-pumped
cheerleaders jiggle at halftime, wondering why their wives and
girlfriends don't want more sex and are all into Oprah and soap operas
and horrible advice columns with titles like 101 Secret Tips to Make Him
Want to Perform Oral Sex and Buy You a BMW. It's all they've got.
Call it protofeminist foot-stomping or call it PC puling or call it
scary un-Christian porno-think (oh yes please do call it that), but no
matter how you try to dismiss it, American women are clearly still
getting short shrift in the media, and this is not only wrong, it's
detrimental to the development of the culture and the American agenda.
It's downright unpatriotic.
Suggestion: More honest, open, bare depictions of male nudity would make
for happier, more sexually appreciative and aware women in the audience.
Suggestion: More sexually aware and stimulated women and would make for
more comfortable sexual culture, more casually appreciative of the human
body, balanced, unafraid, playful, sexy. Which in turn makes for a
better planet, overall.
Suggestion: More open and unafraid and commonplace depictions of male
sexuality in movies might also translate into less homophobia and
chauvinism and less male discomfort when looking at other men, with
women perhaps more confident and empowered and turned on, as they begin
to notice that they, too, are encouraged to have fantasies and visual
stimulation and get to cheer and grunt and whoop as the cute guy
onscreen takes off his underwear.
Which of course scares and threatens many men. Especially those in
power. Especially those in entertainment, who are notorious for wearing
their double standards like a bad suit and for having spines like
jellyfish. Which is why you probably won't see a huge cultural shift
toward more male exposure anytime soon. Which is apparently why God
invented independent foreign films.
Let this be a rallying cry, one heterosexual and hopefully secure
columnist's plea for an immediate and dramatic balancing of the gender
scales, more, shall we say, genital fairness in the popular culture. It
is necessary and good and could solve a great many social ills. And
after all, the planet deserves it.