November 17, 2011

Why are penises so frightening?

I recently read an article on Michael Fassbender’s new film Shame – about a sex addict named Brandon and his downward spiral into guilt, helplessness and shame brought on by previous emotional scarring.

Apparently the film’s portrayal of sex addiction (I haven’t see the film yet) is realistic and focuses not so much on addiction to sex, but aversion to intimacy. (Which in my limited experience is closer the the root issue.)

In any case, the film is a realistic but not banal portrayal of sex and includes a few brief full frontal scenes. However, the film just received a NC-17 rating which shuts it out of many US theaters.

So we can easily see films destroying entire cities, or films with so many slashings that we lose count, or films with so much murder and mayhem; however, we are to be shielded from an adult, thoughtful portrayal of sex. I just don’t get it.

I especially liked Fassbender’s comment on the frontal nudity scene:

“Half of us have a penis and the other half have probably seen one, and so why should it be more normal to, like, chop people’s heads off and shoot people? Does that mean that that’s more acceptable or closer to us as human beings?”

Our culture is afraid of sex and fearful of penises. Harmful aggression is OK, yet playful aggression isn’t. No wonder men often don’t know how to express our sexual energy in a healthy way!


One Comment on “Why are penises so frightening?

December 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I stumbled upon your blog while looking for resources for a piece I wanted to do on fairytales and archetypes for my own blog. But! I have to comment on this post and Fassbender’s comment about nudity vs violence…. I have never understood why it is acceptable to have such a huge percentage of the books and movies that are available include such horrendously violent scenes. We are so concerned about the people of our country viewing scenes where a couple is making love, but, as Fassbender referred to, we think nothing of watching them kill each other in the most violent ways imaginable, or even rape scenes. I completely agree with both of you, I don’t get it at all.


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