Blacks / Boys / Health / Masculinity / Men / Sexuality / Women

Penis as a Flower or Something Like That – a Study of Men’s Genitalia: Footnote to the Great Wall of Vagina

“To hear women talking about the bodies in this way gives voice to what I imagine will form part of the little essay I am working on I’m calling Feminism for Black Boys. It’s liberating, it really is. Not the article, though I hope it contributes to that feeling of freedom. Not black boy feminism, although I think all boys can be saved by black feminism. Talking. Talking about privates in public like that can be liberating.”

This is what I said a few days ago in trying to encourage I would now like to call a “shameless study of black penises” to accompany appreciative contemplation of the great wall of vagina.

I would like to suggest that such studies of men’s genitalia are at once about sexuality and yet, contradictorily also not about penises as object, in a similar way that Jamie McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina is not erotica, sensationalism, or pornography.

Showing hundreds of black penises in public is among other things desexualisation. Desexualisation does not imply the symbolic, or god forbid physical, cutting of balls or deprivation of sexual characteristics.

It simply means undermining the stereotype of hypersexual black men. Its aim is to dealienate black men from their bodies. There is many a suggestion in the literature that particularly this group is estranged from their bodies by racist and masculinist stereotypes. The question is how to reconnect them to themselves.

To get men talking without hyperbole or awkwardness about themselves as beings with sexual desires is then a vital objective. We have to get men talking about their bodies if they are to learn to not regard themselves as fetishes. Persuade them to talk about impotence and grief and dashed hopes, about their anxieties as well as loves, about the women and girls in their lives, if you want them to learn healthy masculinities and sexualities.
As it says on the artist’s website,

“McCartney has pulled off an amazing trick – to deliberately make the sexual nonsexual and take you much deeper. One is able to stare without shame but in wonder and amazement at this exposé of human variety.” )Please, again, watch the clips of the Making of the Great Wall of Vagina here.)

I thought the case was made. Then I read a feature on the photographer Zanele Muholi in the weekend’s papers. In the piece this is what the award winning visual artist says about what keeps her motivated, not only that the unfreedom that women still live with but, more urgently, the homophobic rape-murder of black lesbians that wants to cow all black women into psychosocial death:

Duduzile Zozo was only 26. She was killed at the end of June, Youth Month. A toilet brush was stuck up her vagina and she was probably raped. It is 2013 and women are still not free. (In “Portraits of those whom prejudice makes pariahs”, by Karen Rutter. Sunday Times, 4 August 2013.)

In a word, to render black penises as nonsexual will help to, I hope, make men not think of their genitals and any other part of the bodies as weapons.

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2 thoughts on “Penis as a Flower or Something Like That – a Study of Men’s Genitalia: Footnote to the Great Wall of Vagina

  1. Pingback: RIGHT OF ADMITION (IS STILL) RESERVED… | Between The Lines

  2. Pingback: Women like you are a dime a dozen, you can buy them anywhere … | Sugarmytips

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