Naked men vs. nude women

After attending a few recent Sex & Love events, I’ve come to the conclusion that the nude male body is under celebrated in our culture. There's still a stigma associated with the male nudity. Why can breasts and vaginas be plastered all over the place while the penis is too taboo? Perhaps this is the residual effects of a history of sexism. Since men have historically controlled the media and judged what what is considered obscene, maybe our culture has simply developed an appreciation and acceptance of female nudity. Whatever the case, this discrepancy disappoints me, as I enjoy looking at the naked male body.

Many people argue that the female body is simply more appealing to the eye. Who’s eye? A man’s eye? Not mine. Many men maintain their bodies just as well, if not better, than women. They pluck, shave, wax, diet, exercise, get laser hair removal, dye their hair, get colored contacts, have plastic surgery and become anorexic and bulimic—-they are quickly becoming just as body conscious  as American females. It's time we start appreciating all the hard work these men go through just to look good.

I began to seriously consider this issue after attending ArtPool’s 2nd Annual Muse Show and Nude Nite Tampa. At the Muse show only 2 men participated in the body painting. Maybe only 2 men volunteered. I didn’t ask, but I think its more than that. I don't think men are as comfortable as women when it comes to disrobing. Also, most men are not as comfortable watching a man strip down as females are watching women undress. Nude Nite featured paintings, pictures, sculptures, live art, video, clay, and metal art pieces, and nearly every single one celebrated the female form.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate female nudity. I just noticed the under representation of men, naked or otherwise. Perhaps there is simply more demand from the female form than the male. If so, this simply reinforces the double standard that the female form is something of beauty while the male body is too obscene or awkward to be shown as art. This is too bad. If we’re going to celebrate the female form, we need to celebrate the male form as well.

It’s like yin and yang; one is not complete without the other. These two nude forms evolved to fit perfectly together. Limiting the artistic scope to merely one of human form is insufficient, like trying to depict a romance with only one character.


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