Recently a friend convinced me to watch, this “stupid funny” movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshal. I was not impressed. The movie itself was fine, standard 2010 Judd Apatow fare, but there were several things that annoyed the hell out of me. Firstly, how the hell does Russell Brand keep getting movie roles? Secondly, how does Mila Kunis keep getting movie roles? Thirdly, what was up with Jason Segel’s nude scene?
I’d been warned about the scene before I watched the movie and didn’t really think much of it… until I saw it. After being dumped by the gorgeous Kristen Bell, the freshly showered Segel drops his towel in shock and out flops his completely average penis. Big laughs.
Laughs? Had this been the other way around there would have been no laughs. This movie would have gotten a NC-17 rating and the DVD commercials would mark this as a major selling point in the “shocking unrated version on DVD and BluRay disc Tuesday.”
On its own, the male form isn't something particularly funny. I don’t laugh when I look in the mirror and I’ve always thought the male form to be strong and beautiful. But far too often the male body is used only for comedy’s sake. That alone is not a problem but in a scene like the one in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the body is presented without context. This makes the form itself the object of ridicule.
Now, I could go on and on about why this sucks but it's not the real issue. The real issue is that - in our culture - male sexuality is a joke. It serves as a punchline and that sort of ridicule is a big issue.
Throughout history vexed peoples always over throw the oppressive regime. Post revolution, the afflicted will harbor resentment,or hatred while the oppressors may feel a deep guilt. These are not conscious emotions but rather a cultural reaction to recent events. In the case of Dudes V. Chicks, it manifests as a vilification of male sexuality and a hypersensitivity to sexism and other forms of gender specific discrimination.
This particular situation is special in that neither party has yet to openly acknowledge the neo-villainy and may not be aware of it. Men have always allowed women to have some say over their sexuality but in this post Susan B. Anthony era we are finding that men are allowing even more control. Keep in mind that in certain situations this control meets and or exceeds that which women have rallied against for themselves.
Because of their self-imposed guilt, men see this as a necessary evil to atone for their sins. They are willingly conceding the rights to proudly wield their sword and they are missing out. Sexual exploration in the modern age is something that has to be experienced firsthand. Technology and cultural progression have opened an unfathomable amount of doors for people wishing to explore and define their sexuality.
As men we cannot allow this self imposed fear and censorship to stop us from moving forward. Know that buying a sex toy does not make you a pervert, just as exploring things like anal play will not make you gay. Watching porn will not accost your soul and glancing at those masterfully presented breast does not make you a peeping Tom.
Our bodies are just as sexy and desirable as a woman’s, even though they may not say so. Be able to look in the mirror and recognize that you are beautiful and even with your scrawny arms, growing gut, awkward penis or prematurely receding hairline you are desired.
Now that we have that settled, can we please stop the madness? Russell Brand is terrible, just terrible. I can’t be the only one who thinks so.
Author’s Note: Even as a new age homosexually identified man, I find it difficult to confront this issue without running into the road blocks of self censorship. I know that the ideas presented in this article may be perceived as being misogynistic or sexist, but my intention is nothing more than to state my opinion and hopefully strike a discussion that may get things moving in a positive, more equal direction.