Women face pressure about their looks, but men are not immune to those same pressures. There’s a scene in M. Butterfly where a male character darts his undies off and stands full-frontal facing the audience. At a recent performance, the audience hesitated before spraying a distinct mist of laughter through the theater. His penis looked so small. In earshot of me were three women. All three beamed at each other with startled eyebrows until one raised her hand and with thumb and forefinger measured an exaggerated depiction of his penis size. She judged him barely the size of a swollen cashew. There was more laughter. And no mention that his penis was directly proportional to his slight frame.
Humor is a personal thing. I didn’t laugh. But then again I, too, have a comparatively small penis so it was a touchy subject. Instead, I thought of that tired line: “It’s not how big your penis is. It’s what you do with it. Do women really believe this “usage” cliche? Apparently not. I’ll tell you why. When I was in Year 10 a group of girls looked over at us boys, staring at our zips and discussing who had the biggest penis. And after consensus, staring longest at he who apparently was.
At a workplace a couple of years ago on a relaxed afternoon, the female staff took guesses at who was the best endowed out of myself and another male colleague, then asked if we would exhibit so the debate could be settled. We didn’t oblige. Size doesn’t matter, I said meekly, cheeks quivering. They smiled, as if the con was complete.
Australian Women’s Forum, a magazine run by women for women, when looking for its latest hunk to show his stuff, clearly avoids those male models who are, um, well, on the small side. And women correspondents to the magazine rue the censorship laws that effectively prohibit publication of photographs showing models with an erection. After all, they want to know how big his penis really is. Perhaps men should become more obsessed with the size of their penis. Maybe we should all use penis extenders such as the SizeGenetics extender. Or those pills you see advertised all over the internet promising to make your penis bigger. They all have names like Extenze, VigRx Plus, or ProSolution Plus.
Even a woman friend of mine, who has an unfortunate and unnecessary complex regarding her own breasts, came home from a trip recently and said to me: “We got into the spa and this guy who’d been drinking jumped in nude. You should have seen how tiny he was! Ha! Talk about a turn-off. I wouldn’t have been displaying it if I was him. Again a female colleague, who said this last year: “We were all down at Port Fairy on Saturday night. We were all drunk and went for a skinny dip. There was this bloke a few of us were pretty interested in. Were! You should have seen him! I’m talking, like, a cigarette butt. Every time I looked at him from then on I couldn’t help but laugh.”
It’s clear to me. Women seem just as concerned with the size of a man’s penis as men are with the size of a woman’s breasts. Women put the same demoralizing pressure on men, as vice versa. This is fact. This is not an exoneration of men. Ah no, that’s impossible. There’s still a long way to go and, I hope I don’t sound condescending, the feminist movement and society generally must be vigilant. Men should not, as Emma Cheasley says “make (women) feel inferior because they don’t look like models in their bathers”. But neither should women. It doesn’t stop at penis size. It’s muscles too. And height. Tall, dark and handsome, us men are supposed to be. I will not take my shirt off on a beach because I haven’t the muscle definition that women (and admittedly men, too) say I should.
Have a look at the lists of Most Eligible Bachelors, Hot Spunks of the Screen and so on, published in popular women’s magazines. Show me the ones without arms and shoulders and stomachs like seasoned gladiators. Like the metal they pump. And their penises probably look like they do in the advertisements. Huge and hard.
I won’t go to popular pubs of a night. Nor walk dark streets. I wouldn’t even go to the Guns N’ Roses concert, even though I like their music (though yes, I do find some of their lyrics offensive). Because they are often unsafe places for anyone, man or woman, who doesn’t like or welcome violence. Men can be victims, too. Ms. Cheasley is quite right. She should be “a feminist, and proud of it.” She should find the concept of male-ism “perverse”. She should buck as hard as she can against the stereotypes. But to ignore the fact that men suffer from stereotypes as well, is only to weaken her argument. It’s not time for male-ism. It’s time for humanism. Female and Male. Addressing both sides. Battles considering only one side will never be truly won. Sexes unite, should be the message. Fairly. Not fight.