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What’s so wrong with penises?

22 August 2014, 10:28

Lagos - Jezebel's decision to illustrate naked Disney princes is quite a controversial one, but should it be?

Disney Princesses re-imagined is a very popular trend these days.

From Star Wars characters to victims of domestic abuse, Disney Princesses have been re-imagined, re-drawn and re-animated as almost everything.
So maybe it’s not so surprising that the writers at Jezebel decided to do some imagining about Disney Princes – or, more specifically, Disney Prince penises.
After imagining what each Prince’s penis is likely to look like, and writing out detailed descriptions, the next obvious step was to get them illustrated, and so they did. Gawker Media staff illustrator Tara Jacoby obliged and the final collection can be found here.
When I first saw this post, I found myself strangely fascinated. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first, but there was something attracting me to these images. It took a while, but I finally figured out what it was.
When faced with naked images, especially naked images of already fictional characters, we are used to seeing a certain “standard”. Barring exceptions, breasts will all look like breasts only ever do if plastic surgery is involved. Vaginas (or vulvas for the nit-picking among you) look like they never come with hair.

Penises... Aren’t seen much (comparatively) at all, and when they are, they’re a certain recognizable and slightly unrealistic size and shape. Almost always over-large, almost always circumcised, almost always perfectly straight, and pubic hair will often either be non-existent or barely-there and perfectly groomed.
Even when a nude gallery of Disney characters is flirting with a tad more realism than usual, like this one, every character will be depicted with plastic surgery boobs and clean-shaven vaginas.
But here, we have a gallery of men whose sexual organs look... realistic. They all look slightly different down there, like men do. Their penises and balls come in a variety of sizes, shapes, thickness and length, like penises and balls do. Their pubic hair ranges from completely shaven to full bush, just like real men.
This gallery of Disney princess is one of the most frank and realistic depictions of male naked bodies that I’ve ever seen. Instead of distributing the same, mainstream porn-star, over-glorified and slightly unrealistic penis to everyone, it recognises and celebrates uniqueness and differences.
And so I was a little confused and upset to see people complaining that the gallery is demeaning and promotes body shaming.
Some of the complaints are fair. Prince Naveen’s picture plays into the stereotype that men of colour have huge dicks. And the less said about about the correlation between Aladdin’s balls and his pants and the pseudo-scientific reasoning behind them, the better.
Some complaints I can understand, but don’t necessarily agree with. Why is Gaston’s dick so small? Is Jezebel saying dick size has something to do with personality? That a bad man will always have a small dick? That it’s OK to shame men for their penis size?
I thought they were simply making a comment about steroids. Or about men who strive to be “alpha” men, and are obsessed with proving how “manly” they are, and how they will often fail their own standards worse than men who aren’t threatened by, say, women (like Belle) who can read and think.
A few people have taken offense to Prince Charming’s description, “the perfect guy has the perfect dick” followed by a description of one of those fairly typical unrealistic porn-star dicks I was talking about before. I think they’re taking the word “perfect” too literally.
Everyone has an idea of perfection. Not everyone’s idea of perfection matches everyone else’s. (For example, I think Tim Minchin is perfect. My mother disagrees.)

Prince Charming, however, is like his skinny but still curvy, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Princess: mainstream, conventionally ‘perfect’. He is, traditionally, what the media might define as perfect. That doesn’t make him perfect perfect (Prince Charming is probably the most boring Prince ever written in my opinion; give me the Beast any day) but it does make him exactly the same sort of perfect his mainstream, conventionally ideal penis is.
More to the point, the existence of the idea of perfection doesn’t immediately negate the worth of anyone who does not perfectly match this ideal. Surely most humans realise we’re not perfect, and are OK with this?
Finally, there are complaints I can neither understand nor agree with – the claims that Jezebel is purposefully body shaming men in this post for laughs.
The princes aren’t objectified or dehumanised. There is a difference between objectification - dehumanizing and objectifying a person into being a sexual object alone - and sexual appreciation. These Princes are not dehumanised. They are not reduced to their body parts. At no point in the descriptions of the penises is anything derogatory said. They are simply described.
Is it demeaning or derogatory to describe a penis as thin? Curved? Short, but thick? Is it derogatory to talk about the size and shape of balls? Or pubic hair? Why? None of these things make a penis less worthy, less wonderful, less absolutely glorious.
Not only is there nothing wrong with the penises depicted in this gallery, but at Women24 alone we all have different opinions about which is our favourite. I don’t know. Maybe men need to hear more that it’s not just perfectly OK, it’s perfect, to have a penis that doesn’t match some sort of boring ideal.
I don't have a problem with the female body, but it bothers me that society constantly forces us to look at and admire the female body, while we’re encouraged to see the male body as unattractive. Why are we taught that penises are gross?

As a mostly straight woman who find men sexually attractive I’m not used to having my female gaze catered to.

Even though I’m mostly interested in men sexually, I, along with everyone else, have been forced into looking at sexualised women for most of my life. That is the male gaze. And I still have a bit of it.
It took me years of having sex before I realised that the male body is not only not disgusting, but actually sexy and, more importantly, beautiful and interesting.

Straight women like me are taught that all we want is a big cock. We're never taught to appreciate uniqueness, variety, or beauty in a man's sexual organs. Even typing this I feel a bit ridiculous talking about it, because it's that taboo in society.
But male bodies are beautiful. They are sexy. They are as fascinating and have inspired just as much artistic inspiration, love, lust and passion as female bodies. And they are different, and it’s the differences that makes them admirable and worth celebrating, not shameful.
So I’m glad Jezebel created those images. There’s no dehumanisation, no ridiculous expectations, and no derogatory comments. Compared to some of the fan art of Disney Princesses out there...
I think these pictures are beautiful. I also think they are far fairer and kinder to male bodies than fan art depicting naked Disney princesses, and criticism and commentary on naked female bodies, will ever be.


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