News flash…I have a penis. I also have testicles. These go along with being a biological, cisgendered male. My genitals are fully functional, I see them every day. I am happy with them; they go everywhere with me. I am grateful that God gave me the body I live in. But I am not so much proud of my genitals as I am conscious of them as parts of my body that require care and attention. I have learned to genuinely appreciate them taking a cue from my trans friends and their body pride. Genitals are not the sum total of what we are but they are important. Yep, I have a penis…I also don’t give a hoot what you or anyone else thinks of it.
Women are (rightly so) in general incensed by many of the images out there in the media of what women’s bodies are about. Example: looking through Vogue yesterday, I saw an ad for an energy drink that featured a completely faceless and topless woman’s body. It was a four page spread that ended with a shot of the woman’s butt, in what can only be considered a purely pornographic pose…even for someone who writes a post with a title like this. What the advertising industry has messaged to women (and what is shocking is the number of women who are involved in perpetuating this) is unbelievably twisted. “Your breasts aren’t big/small enough”, “You’re too fat/skinny”, “You should be blond/brunette/redhead/brown skinned/white skinned/ blue eyed/ brown eyed, etc, etc” and all of is projected through a completely distorted lens of sex.
But what about men?
Certainly, men have been responsible for objectifying and merchandising women for literally centuries…definitely not good. But look at what we’ve done to ourselves? We are cultural fashion lemmings. If you look at a group of men from any specific demographic, we all look the same. Whether its saggers, business men, Castro street boys, hipsters, we all blend into each other. And the overall defining feature of our clothing…hide the junk. I actually have a love/hate relationship with referring to men’s genitals as “junk”. First of all its not. It negatively characterizes something that is an essential part of some people’s bodies, but food names just get silly and I do appreciate the playfulness of the actual word…so I may use it again. Anyhow, it seems our whole goal in getting dressed in the morning is to hide/ disguise/ non-descript or ignore our genitals. Your ass can be hanging completely out of your Sean John’s, but let Mr. Happy out in front and people will call the police.
I see this as part practicality and part paranoia. Men are always comparing themselves…even more than women. This “junk” (penis, testicles) is pretty vulnerable and depending on how one is built, susceptible to bumps, bruises and any number of forces from abrasion to gravity to UV rays (I got a nasty sunburn once that I’ll never forget.) But no one needs paranoia. Why should we care if someone, male or female is checking out our package? Its not always a precursor to sexual motivation. Its a natural impulse that basically evolved from the same place that dogs who sniff each other’s butts comes from. Personally, I’m glad we evolved.
The big objection to “Meggings” and Utilikilts is how suddenly accessible our “accessories” are. Yes, some people will call both choices “feminine”, but I ask you what is feminine about a penis? Really?! I have proudly worn both tights and kilts and love them for their freedom and the choice it gives me for fashion. I’ve also been told that my legs are my best feature; its nice to show them off once in a while. What you or anyone else thinks about my penis is your business not my “business.”
Imagine what would happen if we de-stigmatized penises and testicles? Not only would half of the comedy industry disappear but half of the damaging discussions around sexuality would disappear and men might just relax and get over themselves. Isn’t it ironic that we call this behavior of genital paranoia and shame “infantile?” Anyone who has or has been around actual infants and toddlers will tell you that they have neither shame nor paranoia about their genitals. Why should they? Why should we?
I’m going to go put on my tights.