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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is ‘Watchmen’’s male nudity a problem for the film?

In the comments section of the Patrick Goldstein L.A. Times piece I linked to the other day, the one about the gnashing-of-teeth that the box-office performance of Watchmen has ignited, one commenter posted this to explain the appeal (or not) of the film:

It comes down to this: Do you mind watching a blue schlong swinging around in a non-porn movie?

I’m probably making a huge mistake in taking seriously anybody who uses the word schlong, but here goes: Is Dr. Manhattan’s nudity really that big a deal? No one too young to know what a penis looks like should be seeing this film anyway — it’s far too violent and morally complex for child too young to understand the difference between fantasy and reality — but even if tender eyes do fall upon the film, the nudity is treated casually, as a basic part of what it means to be human (which is an ironic underline to the character’s retreat from humanity).

I find it hard to imagine that someone who cannot accept this basic fact of human biology will be able to cope with the actual issues the movie raises, and maybe that’s a good indicator: if you’re too immature to cope with a movie in which a glowing blue penis appears in a nongraphic, nonsexualized, non-in-your-face kind of way, you’re too immature to cope with the movie on the whole.

What do you think? Is Watchmen’s male nudity a problem for the film?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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  • Michael

    It wasn’t a problem for me. I’m usually looking at a character’s face when he’s talking anyway, so after the intially, “Oh, yup, there it is,” I pretty much ignored it.

  • Jurgan

    Huh, I thought it was going to be pixellated, or at least artfully avoided with clever camera work.

  • PaulW

    I was planning to go with my friends to see Watchmen, and they asked about getting tickets for the whole family (their kids are high-school and middle-school age). I paused and then mentioned that “um, the movie’s rated R. There’s nudity and violence in it pretty much like it was in the graphic novel.”

    Turns out they never read the book. They thought it was going to be another comic book epic like Iron Man or Dark Knight.

    There’s a lot of filmgoers who like to go to comic book movies because they fulfill the cravings for action, witticisms, cool stunts and battle set-pieces, but have never read the actual comics on which they’re based. Now my friends do read comics (mostly Marvel) but they aren’t totally geeks about ’em. Just think about all the non-readers who never glanced at Issue 4 of Watchmen and realized Dr. Manhattan is blue all over. There’s a lot of non-readers (much like that jerk for the New Yorker, Anthony Lane) who aren’t aware that the Watchmen series/novel is more than just Superman punching out Lex Luthor’s latest giant robot or Batman stopping the Catwoman from stealing the Bast Sapphire gem. The Watchmen was an attempt at an actual mature, adult level story in the comics genre, a story that dug into the political, social and psychological underpinnings of the comics mythos.

    Lemme just get back to the point here: People were not prepared to see Dr. Manhattan’s nudity. They aren’t aware (and the movie doesn’t mention it, which adds to the problem) that his nudity represented Manhattan’s disconnect from normality: that his nudity represented his lack of interest in acting human anymore.

    It’s not a problem for the film: the film needs it because it underscores Manhattan’s emotional disconnect. It’s a problem for audiences who haven’t read the book and haven’t figured that out.

    Side note: male frontal nudity has always been a problem for Hollywood. There was supposed to be a big deal about Bruce Willis doing it for a tepid sex thriller Color of Night but in the end the company chickened out and edited the scenes (I think there’s a restored DVD unrated form, not sure though). Female nudity, never a problem (especially when there’s an axe murderer loose at the cheerleader camp). Male nudity OMG cover your eyes!

  • Martin

    I would like to think that the sort of people that would either be offended by, or start giggling at, full frontal male nudity, shouldn’t be allowed near this film because they obviously aren’t mature enough to deal with it. But there will always be the stereotypical comic book geeks that really are just big kids that haven’t grown up yet.

    Once again, graphic violence isn’t a problem but nudity is. What a wonderfully screwed up perspective people have.

  • I agree with Martin, if someone’s not offended from the graphic violence displayed during the movie, but is offended by a big blue dick, there’s something way too wrong with him.
    Personally I liked Silk’s Spectre costume a lot, but maybe I’m a perverted too.

  • Rosalind

    It’s about time that male nudity started receiving equal time with female. I thought the issue was tastefully handled throughout.
    The only scene that gave me pause was the initial moment when Rorschach enters the lab and confronts the back of the giant-sized Dr. Manhattan. At that point I thought “He’d better not swing around too quickly or Rorschach is going to be knocked unconscious by a giant set of junk!”

  • Not at all. It’s completely consistent with the character. Why would he care? Why would he feel shame or guilt over others seeing a part of his body, like we mortals do?

    I get why this question is being asked, because I understand how deeply prudish we still are as a culture. But in my opinion, a better question to ask would be whether the film’s brutal violence is a problem for it. I have no objection generally to graphic violence in film—it’s a matter of where it’s appropriate & how it’s used—but I have to think that maybe it was a tad gratuitous here.

    I think what Snyder was going for was to depict, on an individual level, the story’s theme that human beings are innately brutal and self-destructive. (Hence why Veidt concludes we need a god watching over us threatening ultimate punishment to make us behave and cooperate with one another.) But if, in the prison riot for example, we only saw blood splattering on the wall and the heavy falling over, rather than seeing his arms sawed off on-camera, would we still get the point? I think so.

    Based on his Dawn of the Dead remake and the violence in 300, it’s clear the Snyder is probably a “gorehound,” but he should realize that doesn’t mean he ought to indulge himself in horror-style violence in every scene he can. What’s not seen can be much more effective than what is, and at some point Snyder’s going to have to learn the art of subtlety if he doesn’t want to slip into self-parody.

    But yeah, Dr. Manhattan’s penis is really not a big deal.

  • Martin

    I thought that it was incredibly tasteful. No big reveal shot (which I might expect) but just something that the audience is just supposed to accept without questioning. Unlike, as has been said, the violence that really has a “hey! Look at this! Isn’t this gory!” feel to it.

    I seem to remember reading and interview with Snyder and him saying that one of the first questions he’s asked by the press is about Manhattan’s penis.

    What a shame that this is probably what the film will be remembered for.

  • Martin

    http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/films/article.html?Zack_Snyder_watches_out_for_a_hero&in_article_id=562031&in_page_id=27

    Dr Manhattan is this incredibly existential character who travels through time and space trying to decide the fate of mankind and everyone is like: “So, how did you figure out how big his c**k was going to be?”

    There it is.

    As a side note, I love his comment about Dark Knight.

  • On my first viewing of Watchmen, I heard almost two dozen men freaking out with giggles, squirming, and “Oh God! Not cool!”

    I had to fight the impulse to shout out, “Grow up!”

  • e

    I guess I knew it was coming, and thus not surprised, but it’s not like there’s prolonged close-ups of his penis during the entire movie. However, there was the requisite discussion afterward, to what would happen if giant Dr. Manhattan in vietnam weren’t wearing his speedo.

  • marshall

    Yea, what does that say about our culture when people don’t have the maturity to see a penis? You don’t hear anyone complaining about the several shots of Silk Specter II’s breasts, or about the sex scene, or about the violence, but the penis – it’s going to ruin our kids and turn ’em gay.
    As the poster above me and also Adrian Vedt says, “Grow up.”

  • JoshB

    In my experience most men (myself included, I make no claims of superiority here) vaguely resent seeing another man’s genitalia. Is that enough to drive someone away from seeing the movie? Maybe if they’re deeply stupid.

    Then again, apparently some people like these sorts of things, so maybe that offsets lost business in other demos.

  • It was just so big. And (just like his lips) it moved so unrealistically that it became a major distraction… anyone who’s seen a real penis can recognize this for what it is: a poorly animated junior high schooler’s fantasy about what a ‘schlong’ should be. The whole thing is just as offensive as Lara Croft’s (or Barbie’s) inhumanly big titties.

    Only not as hot.

  • bats :[

    I haven’t seen the film yet, and I’m way, way, WAY more concerned about the violence and gore (I don’t handle either well at all) than seeing a guy’s bits, no matter how big. I’m not keen for sitting through a movie with either my eyes closed or my hands over my face.

  • Hypocee

    It bothered me some that the animators apparently haven’t discovered balls yet. I can see they wanted to tone it down and avoid comedy, but a couple times when he moved I got a flash that we were suddenly on the high-gravity planet from Futurama.

  • bgr392

    In all the comments shown here, only one person acknowledges the unrealistic size and shape of Dr. Manhattan’s penis. Not having read the graphic novel, I assume that his body is the ideal human form, and so therefore his penis is also? Clearly, the doctor was not that shapely before the accident.

    So, as with female imagery, once again we’ve depicted what men should look like instead of what men do look like. Are large penises better than small penises? Are circumsized penises better than uncircumsized penises? In that context, I find the imagery pornographic.

    It’s important for art (and yes, I think film making is a form of art) to push the boundaries of the cultural norm. But that also means art has an inherent obligation not to push so far that the general public rejects – instead of embracing – the message.

    Therefore, I think the frontal nudity could have been cut in half and it would still reign as the most in blockbuster history. It’s as if the director was trying to prove a point, and that made it distracting.

  • MaryAnn

    most men (myself included, I make no claims of superiority here) vaguely resent seeing another man’s genitalia

    That’s an… interesting response. But rather than ask why men should feel this way, I’ll ask this instead: If you feel this way, do you imagine that women feel the same way about seeing naked women, and does it change how *you* feel about seeing naked women onscreen, knowing that it might make other women uncomfortable?

  • MaryAnn

    It bothered me some that the animators apparently haven’t discovered balls yet.

    Not sure which *Watchmen* you saw, but Dr. Manhattan does indeed have all his bits.

  • amanohyo

    bgr392, I’m not a fan of the comic and I haven’t seen the movie, but wasn’t Dr. Manhattan forced to “reconstruct” himself after the accident that gave him his powers? If so, then his appearance would be the result of his own ideas about what a man should look like. It would have been more interesting if instead of gradually losing his clothing (and appearing more human), Dr. Manhattan became less and less recognizably human as he disconnected from humanity. But again, I’ve only read the book.

    To answer the original question, how is Dr. Manhattan’s nudity significantly different from Mystique’s “costume” in the X-Men movies? I’ve looked at some still shots of the Doc, and I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Is there some seriously over-the-top Dead or Alive style penis jiggling going on in the movie?

    And MA, Hypocee isn’t claiming that Dr. M has no balls, he or she is saying that they were not swinging to-and-fro in a realistic way. They probably slammed together a couple times off screen and the Doc put a superpowered stop to their painful wayward ways.

  • stryker1121

    Nah…Snyder doesn’t make it a big deal and neither should filmgoers. Manhattan’s penis is just…there, as it was in the book. If you haven’t read the book, I guess it would come as a surprise, but like somebody said upthread, this is not a movie you’re gonna take the kids to, anyway. If you’re an adult and you can’t handle seeing a CGI penis, then you shouldn’t bother with Watchmen either.

    It never ceases to amaze how cinematic nudity (more so male) is treated as horrifying while the depiction of graphic violence is largely considered no big deal. I watched Snyder’s “uncut” Dawn of the Dead remake on TBS a couple years back, and yes the chainsaw gorings and exploding heads were shown in all of their bloody glory. However, a shot of a woman’s naked breasts was blurred. That is some ass-backwards thinking IMO.

  • JoshB

    @MaryAnn

    I’ll answer both questions, since the answer to the first is essential to understanding the answer to the second.

    Why should men feel this way? Well, there’s not really a good reason. It is, I suppose, an instinctive or emotional response, and in an abstract way I recognize the silliness of it. Hence why I say that only a stupid man would avoid seeing a movie because of it.

    So no, I don’t feel guilty about liking naked women.

    Besides which, the male genitals are ugly, and the human race should feel blessed that evolution has bamboozled most women into thinking otherwise :P

  • Lutz

    It did not bother me at all, but a) knowing a lot of European movies and b) being German, I am somehow used to seeing naked guys in movies quite often.

    I really can’t understand why people giggle like schoolboys once they see a penis.

    There is a reason why there is so much porn produced and available on the internet. There has to be a large audience for it. And for some reason I am sure that this audience is predominately male. Also, considering just how poorly these sites are protected, pretty much anyone who wants to see it, regardless of age, can see at least pictures or small clips.

    I refuse to believe that all of these guys who were sitting there squirming in the theaters are so morally stable that they have never watched porn. In fact, I am pretty sure that the opposite is true. And while they probably mostly look at the women in porn, still, these scenes do not work without a penis in the picture and men also wouldn’t want them without a penis in the picture.

    So why these guys act with these double standards and behave like watching a penis on screen will make them go blind is truly beyond me.

  • Gareth

    I’m tired of reading all these people saying “it’s only time for some male nudity as women are always nude”. Women show breasts, their bottom and sometimes their pubic bone. The equivalent of a penis is their open vagina. I have not seen any general movie with an open vagina featured.

    All who claim that viewing the penis is the same as viewing the pubic bone of a female are simply talking out of their backsides.

    I wonder how women would feel about me making a movie where a glowing blue woman is holding her visible vagina open with the camera in a position for the viewer to see as clearly as they see the penis in Watchmen? I’d put money on there being an uproar, where suddenly it would not be alright to feature such a level of nudity. Hypocrites – that’s all they are.

  • Mark

    Why should men feel this way? Well, there’s not really a good reason. It is, I suppose, an instinctive or emotional response…

    Dude, don’t kid yourself — it’s not at all instinctual or universal. It’s a cultural artifact — a meme — that’s become increasingly prevalent in Western culture over the last twenty or so years. You weren’t born resenting other men’s genitals; you were taught to do it over years of exposure to ambient homophobia and nudity taboos.

    Men in other countries and other times have had very different attitudes to each other’s genitals, including basic indifference.

    The equivalent of a penis is their open vagina.

    I could see that an argument could be made about an erect penis, although context would be important. But I can’t agree with you in general; I don’t see how the equivalent of “guy walking around naked” can be anything other than “woman walking around naked”.

    (On the other hand, one could argue commoditization of female nudity means that you really can’t draw equivalencies between the two).

  • Accounting Ninja

    Dude, don’t kid yourself — it’s not at all instinctual or universal. It’s a cultural artifact — a meme — that’s become increasingly prevalent in Western culture over the last twenty or so years. You weren’t born resenting other men’s genitals; you were taught to do it over years of exposure to ambient homophobia and nudity taboos.

    Thank you! This is exactly correct. And Josh, you weaseled out of giving Mary Ann an honest answer to her second question: can you maybe see why women don’t appreciate the abundance of female nudity often on display without the blink of anyone’s eye? She didn’t ask if you felt guilty about liking naked women. PS, the male genitalia is no more ugly or weird looking than the female. But the female’s has been socialized to be seen as “beautiful” while men’s are “ugly” (which most straight women and gay men would emphatically disagree with). Funny how the hetero preference gains the most normalcy…

    All who claim that viewing the penis is the same as viewing the pubic bone of a female are simply talking out of their backsides.

    Well, sometimes it’s not just a “pubic bone”. A lot of women see their clitorises nestled in their labia when standing full frontal. I agree with Mark about the erect penis. We’re just talking about non-sexual, “walking around” nudity. Frankly, you sound pretty combatative.

    So, as with female imagery, once again we’ve depicted what men should look like instead of what men do look like. Are large penises better than small penises? Are circumsized penises better than uncircumsized penises? In that context, I find the imagery pornographic.

    Oh, wah. Join the friggin’ club. I’m an A cup. How do you think I feel? Every single breast on television is at least a certain size: big! Try having big breasts around you everywhere you go, subtly implying that what you have is not (nor ever will be) good enough. For every one freakishly large Dr. Manhattan penis making you doubt your manhood, I have thousands of boobs on my tv, in my movies and in my magazines.

    The difference between you and me, though, is I don’t go crying about it or letting it make me dump on myself. Because there’s one quality less attractive than tiny titties or an eenie weenie: insecurity. :P

  • JoshB

    Dude, don’t kid yourself — it’s not at all instinctual or universal. It’s a cultural artifact — a meme — that’s become increasingly prevalent in Western culture over the last twenty or so years. You weren’t born resenting other men’s genitals; you were taught to do it over years of exposure to ambient homophobia and nudity taboos.

    Perhaps. I can’t really think of any particular moment (even indirect “ambient” moments) in my development where I was “taught” to be annoyed with male nudity. It’s just always been there. Shrug.

    And Josh, you weaseled out of giving Mary Ann an honest answer to her second question

    My answer was fully honest: yes, I can see that women might be uncomfortable, but if so I think they’re being silly, just as I am being silly. I’m not sure what you thought was weaselly about that.

    PS, the male genitalia is no more ugly or weird looking than the female. But the female’s has been socialized to be seen as “beautiful” while men’s are “ugly” (which most straight women and gay men would emphatically disagree with). Funny how the hetero preference gains the most normalcy…

    Hehe…you took that WAY more seriously than I meant it. I thought that between the inherent absurdity of thinking I know better than evolution, and the :P emoticon that it would be plain that I was just being goofy.

    @Gareth: Stop whining.

  • Accounting Ninja

    My answer was fully honest: yes, I can see that women might be uncomfortable, but if so I think they’re being silly, just as I am being silly. I’m not sure what you thought was weaselly about that.

    Ah, thank you for the clarification. I’ll take it as silly as intended. For the record, I don’t feel bad about seeing naked women OR men, in fact I think that there is even a debate on the good Doctor’s phallus pretty silly. But though my attitudes about nudity are accepting, I don’t like inequality and the sly ways it is enforced. Example: guys shrug and say, “Gee honey, the female form is just so beautiful. Breasts and vaginas are examples of supreme beauty. Who wants to see an ugly old penis or boobless male chest anyway? You women are beautiful…now parade around naked for our enjoyment, please.” See how sly that is? ;)

    Hehe…you took that WAY more seriously than I meant it.

    Yeah, I tend to do that.

    @Gareth: Stop whining.

    He wants him some open vagina. :D

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, wah. Join the friggin’ club. I’m an A cup. How do you think I feel? Every single breast on television is at least a certain size: big!

    And the breasts we’re accosted with are clothed, for the most part. That’s a factor in the female nudity okay/male nudity bad thing, too: Breasts are the most female outward expression of sexuality; penises the most male. But penises are almost always hidden in a way that breasts are not, because even when breasts are clothed, it’s easy enough to see how big (or small) they are. But naked penises suddenly force men to make comparisons — and to make themselves vulnerable to the comparisons of others, though not as many others as women who dress in anything other than rucksacks do — in a way that women are always subjected to. That kind of vulnerability isn’t something men in our culture are used to, so that kind of vulnerability is considered feminine. Hence forcing men to see a large glowing blue penis, even in a nonsexual context, threatens their masculinity in more ways than one.

    Not all men, of course. Just the insecure ones.

  • MaSch

    Erm, I respectfully disagree. Us dudes feel vulnerable when confronted with male movie star abs. Our penises are okay.

    But, on the other hand: Women know how big other womens breast are, even if they have never seen them unclothed. Men do not know how large a typical penis really is and whether or not theirs is “too” small. Then only showing large penises is reinforcing the meme that an okay-ish size for the primary male genitalia would be, say, 20 cm (damn it, how much is that in inches? Ah, about 8 inches), and we don’t get to see too many normal-sized penises to get a correcter idea (well, I do, because I do sauna, but you get the idea). Which of course contradicts my assertion that our penises are okay.

    And I’m still not really convinced that the corresponding female body part to the penis are the breasts and not the vagina.

  • Accounting Ninja

    But naked penises suddenly force men to make comparisons — and to make themselves vulnerable to the comparisons of others, though not as many others as women who dress in anything other than rucksacks do — in a way that women are always subjected to. That kind of vulnerability isn’t something men in our culture are used to, so that kind of vulnerability is considered feminine.

    Wow, that’s an incredibly valid point. I’m enjoying this discussion very much. :)
    (The issue of oversexualizing mammary glands is a subject that could fill another blog. I know a couple of people said the female eqivalent of penises are vaginas, but I think, in our culture at least, it is the breast, considering just how “out-there” and sexualized they are. And they are not even a genital.)
    And yes, our breasts are visible, while the penis is not. But that just means it is even more in our faces constantly, and a handy tool with which to judge a woman.

    Men do not know how large a typical penis really is and whether or not theirs is “too” small. Then only showing large penises is reinforcing the meme that an okay-ish size for the primary male genitalia would be, say, 20 cm (damn it, how much is that in inches? Ah, about 8 inches), and we don’t get to see too many normal-sized penises to get a correcter idea (well, I do, because I do sauna, but you get the idea). Which of course contradicts my assertion that our penises are okay.

    “Typical” womens’ bodies are rarely depicted onscreen also. How nice it would be if us women were all as blissfully ignorant of other women’s equipment (like you say most men are) and if our culture didn’t constantly push a rare ideal of female beauty on normal gals. Perhaps all the vicious comparing women do to each other would stop.

    Look, I’m not directing this specifically at MaSch, it’s just that this quote paraphrases the views of the men here who felt resentful of or off-put by Manhattan’s penis. What have I gotten from men whenever I’ve complained about the unrealistic standards of beauty for women in the media?

    “You’re overreacting.”
    “Lighten up.”
    “Typical feminist, who hates beautiful women, bitching about everything.”
    “Only ugly women complain about gorgeous women.”
    “Well, sex sells. Deal with it.”

    So excuse me if I don’t play my tiny violin for teh poor menz. :)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    MaSch, I think the argument of the equivalancy of breasts to penises has to do with outward visablility. With some exceptions, a woman would need to make an effort to make her vagina as visable as her breasts, or as visable as either a flacid or erect penis. On the hand, with some exceptions, the appearance of a vagina in American film is as rare as the appearance of a penis. Further, neither is shown in a state of sexual arousal. So the equivalency is complicated.

    (Speaking of American squeemishness, notice how much academic and clinical language I used in the above paragraph. I didn’t make an effort to do it. Stupid puritan mores.)

    MaryAnn, I think this discussion has kind of gotten off track. The question wasn’t “Does the male nudity in Watchmen bother you?” The question is “Is Watchmen’s male nudity a problem for the film?” Watchmen can be charitbly said to be “underperforming” commercially. It seems that the intended audience (the comic book/graphic novel culture) enthusiasticlly ran out and saw it opening weekend, but the rest of America has been just as enthusiastically avoiding it.
    I don’t believe it’s the nudity, and it’s certainly not the violence in and of itsel. Rather, I think it’s the themes, the tone. And mostly the consequence of all of the above: the R rating. Lately, America likes comic book-based movies. And it’s even begining to appreciate more challenging comic book-based movies (Iron Man and The Dark Knight being the most recent examples). But it still likes these movies to be “teen friendly” at least. Watchmen is bleak and bloody. Iron Man is neither. And even The Dark Knight, though pretty bleak, isn’t bloody to boot: with the exception of the fate of Harvey Dent, the most heinous violence in TDK is either threatend, implied, or basically bloodless.

  • Mark

    I don’t believe it’s the nudity, and it’s certainly not the violence in and of itsel. Rather, I think it’s the themes, the tone.

    I think it’s because the movie is poorly constructed, unevenly paced and acted, and ends up falling into a trench between trying to be a comic-book action movie and a serious piece of dramatic science fiction.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I think it’s because the movie is poorly constructed, unevenly paced and acted, and ends up falling into a trench between trying to be a comic-book action movie and a serious piece of dramatic science fiction.

    All true. But the same could be said of most (all?) of the Star Wars films. :)

  • MaSch

    Accounting Ninja: But you see “typical” women’s bodies in real life. You see “normal” breasts (or at least their size) everyday on the street. That’s not true for men’s penises.

    And I really do think that dicks (trying to break the curse of the medical language), erect or not, are far less visible in everyday (non-sauna, non-porn) society than breasts are; or the USA are a fricking *lot* different from Germany.

    But anyway, it’s the abs that give us menz worries, not the johnson :)

  • JoshB

    Damnit MaSch, you shouldn’t tempt me so. Now I’m gonna have to quote “The Big Lebowski”:P

    Maude Lebowski: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?

    The Dude: Uh, is that what this is a picture of?

    Maude Lebowski: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

    The Dude: Oh yeah?

    Maude Lebowski: Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.

    The Dude: Johnson?

  • Accounting Ninja

    We may not see the johnsons of the male population, but we know they’re there. Big ones, little ones, thick ones, crooked ones. At least any adult with a semi-active sex life will know that the humans’ genitals are as varied as their noses. :)
    Yes, dicks are far less visible, and that’s a damn shame! Germany, you say?? I know where my next vacation will be! :D
    Besides, if you want to talk abs, there’s millions of guys walking around with flabbity bellies in real life, so you get to see that. By your logic, abs shouldn’t make you feel oogie at all, since we see real men of all shapes and sizes walking around, just as women shouldn’t be intimidated by the perfect bodies onscreen because we have lots of normal women IRL to set our minds at ease?

    I suppose if Dr. Manhattan were hung like a tic-tac there’d be less Cock Envy by the male fans? But “whining” that his cock is enormous and it’s unfair to the average cock is just like women “whining” that they never see A cups (except on “acceptable” fetishes: super-skinny girls, schoolgirls, or Asian women. Heaven forbid you be a chunky girl with small tits). Only, women are the ones who are told we are whining. Men band together and vent their frustrations about their christmas-tree-light penii (or on behalf of their brothers with the CTLP).

    So a lot of the guys on here sound just like their female counterparts who’ve been dealing with stuff like this all their lives, but who are always told to lighten up and stuff a sock in it. It’s just that you guys don’t realize it! Take this scenario:
    Girlfriend: Tsk, look at {insert celebrity or playboy bunny}. She’s dressed like a total slut. Who has a body like that? How come these girls all have huge boobs, too?
    Boyfriend: Someone’s sensitive today. What’s the big deal?
    GF: *sigh* Shit like this is everywhere! How do you think it makes me feel? Especially when you look at her like that? Most women do not look like that.
    BF: Come on. Of course guys are going to look at it. Guys are visual. You’re getting upset for nothing.
    GF: Well, how come women are always gorgeous, but men can be ugly OR gorgeous? And how some I see some chick’s tits all the time, but never a man’s dick?
    BF: Who wants to see an ugly woman or PENIS?!

    So the BF invalidates GF’s feelings, the hetero-male status quo is reinforced, and he gets to think of celebrities when he jacks off and chalk it up to normal male behavior! But, ho, what we have here is a reversal of genders:
    Guy: Dr.Manhattan’s penis is not representative of the average man’s dick. This makes me uncomfortable.
    Me: I’m certainly enjoying the view. I think you’re being too sensitive.
    Guy: No I’m not. >:(
    Me: Sorry, I was fantasizing about Dr. Manhattan again. Can you repeat that?

    MaSch, I do realize much of your post is facetious, and it did make me chuckle. But I persevere because I also think there are still those who don’t “get it”. Turnabout is fair play, I say!

  • Lutz

    Of course we don’t see or show penisses constantly in Germany either. But we don’t make that much of a fuss about it when it is shown.

    When you look into gossip newspapers, there you get pretty much the same reaction to male nudity that many of the prudish boys had when seeing Dr. Manhattan’s naked penis. But they do it just to raise attention and to sell papers.

    Other than that it is no big deal. Certainly, there are a lot more naked women an TV or in magazines, but still you occasionally get to see completely naked guys even in prime time made-for-tv movies or sometimes even in a TV-series. In fact, I just saw a made-for-tv movie from 2003 that was originally shown at 8 p.m. in which the male lead, Misel Maticevic, hat a nude scene. And we are not talking about cable-TV here, but the normal national stations.

    As long as it is not overly sexualized, there is no problem with showing it here.

    That does not mean that German guys aren’t squeamish when it comes to their penises. I come from the North of Germany and live right by a beach. I tend to believe that it was a lot more common for guys to dress down completely when changing their clothes about ten years ago then it is now.

  • MaSch

    Accounting Ninja: Erm, regarding Germany, read my post again. I meant that if cocks were visible in everyday life for you, then the USA would be wildly different than Germany, i.e. here we don’t see any peckers on the streets at all.

    And I totally get what y’all feminists are saying about there being only perfect women in movies; at least since I saw “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”, where all the men were funny- or average looking and all women who did not have adult sons were very attractive (and did not speak that weird dialect the other people in the small town had).

    So, now that I acknowledged your complaints, may I go on complaining about abs? ;)

    By the way, in the Graphic Novel Doc Manhattans wiener was uncircumcised, while it was circumcised in the movie. Would you say this was a goof in the GN that was corrected in the flick, since an American (especially with a name like Osterman) is more likely to be circumcised than not?

  • MaSch

    Oh, and I just found *the* explanation why the blue guys private parts were just *wrong*:

    http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/02/outrage_watchmen_movies_dr_man.html

    In the graphic novel, Doctor Manhattan’s peen is modest and understated (do a Google Image Search), symbolizing the character’s impotence in the face of human evil. Adding inches to its length or circumference undermines everything Alan Moore was trying to say about politics, society, and the human condition. At this point, the best we can hope for is that Snyder was more faithful with respect to testicle size.

  • amanohyo

    MaSch, that is hilarious. I’m sure the author has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, but it’s funny to think of an overblown statement like that being made about breasts.

    “In the comic, Silk Spectre’s breasts are modest and understated, symbolizing the character’s impotence in the face of her superhuman boyfriend. Adding inches to her bust undermines everything Alan Moore was trying to say about gender roles, politics, society, the human condition, religion, the structure of time, the possible existence of alien intelligence, the fashion industry, proper dietary habits, and the origin of the universe. At this point, the best we can hope for is that Snyder was more respectful with respect to nipple size.”

    I’m not saying that Silk Spectre’s breasts are emphasized in the movie, because I haven’t seen it. It’s just amusing that claims about artifical watermelons sewn on to a woman’s chest serving to objectify her are met with jeers (as Accounting Ninja noted) while a large cock can’t simply be there because the character happens to have a large dick (no woman, slender or otherwise, naturally has perfectly symmetrical plastic watermelons on her chest by the way). The penis isn’t even there just to titillate and/or objectify the man, no, no, its size undermines all of society and speaks about the condition of every human on the planet.

    Of course I understand that in this case, the difference in the symbolic importance of male and female sexual characteristics refelcts the relative importance of the male and female characters in the graphic novel. However, I do think if more shlongs were out in the open in a non-sexual context, it would level the playing field and bring the cock closer to the level of the humble boob, whose cup size never has to bear the heavy burden of symbolizing politics, society, and the human condition.

  • Accounting Ninja

    amanohyo, the article also made me LOL.

    I’m sure the author has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek,

    I’d LIKE to believe that, but, y’know…internets.

    The sheer Significance attached to the Cock! It’s enough to blow one’s mind. Note to blogger-who-might-not-be-kidding: Unless Moore himself has stated that Manhattan’s cock holds such weighty, large *snurk* themes, well then it’s purely fan speculation and therefore not canon. (In fact the only thing Moore did say was that he kept Dr. M’s cock “understated” so as not to distract the reader, and to recall the classical statues of old.) And yet, no one complains that Silk Spectre II’s costume is much more revealing and sexual in the movie than in the book. No themes or metaphors are embodied by the two-dimensional cloth covering her drawn version. Where’s the “outrage” over changing that? And I’m sure if SS were much more endowed or even downright “bombshelled” in the movie, male viewers would see it as a “bonus”, and not a misrepresentation of their beloved graphic novel.

    I loved your lampooning of the article, BTW. Once again, you’re a bastion of common sense. :)

  • MaSch

    As I see it, it is in order of sacredness and importance and significance uterus>vagina>breasts.

    I know, we menz have nothing that could ever compare to your wombs, so could we please at least keep the illusion alive that our dicks are as cool as your vags?

  • Accounting Ninja

    I know, we menz have nothing that could ever compare to your wombs, so could we please at least keep the illusion alive that our dicks are as cool as your vags?

    But there IS nothing “sacred” about a uterus or vagina.. It’s just a body part, like a penis. I balk at the “goddess” attitude regarding the female bits, because pedestals are very narrow, confining places. ;)

  • MaryAnn

    On the hand, with some exceptions, the appearance of a vagina in American film is as rare as the appearance of a penis.

    That’s not true. Full frontal female nudity is much more common and casual in American film than full frontal male nudity.

    so could we please at least keep the illusion alive that our dicks are as cool as your vags?

    What Ninja said above about sacredness and body parts, but still: the issue is that dicks are already typically treated with more reverence and respect — just along the lines of simple human dignity — by Hollywood than vags are. Vags can walk around a movie set, no prob, but in this case, it ain’t even a real dick we’re talking about (I bet Billy Crudup wishes he was hung like Doctor Manhattan) but a freakin’ cartoon.

    Also, if the big blue glowing dick is such a problem, why is no one talking about poor Malin Ackerman, who is so shoved into that vinyl bodysuit that if you look too closely, you’d have to marry her in some traditional cultures. I mean, damn, the way that thing is cutting into her vag… ouch!

    MaryAnn, I think this discussion has kind of gotten off track.

    I’m not so sure of that. This convo has proven, at least, that some people feel *very* strongly about how a body part that does not typically get much screen time is getting a lot of screen time in this movie (no matter how casual and unsexual it is). I think that probably is a factor in the film’s, er, performance. :->

    Me: Sorry, I was fantasizing about Dr. Manhattan again.

    Seriously. What was Laurie’s problem that she was bitchin’ about him duplicating himself. If he could be doing the dishes and taking out the garbage at the same time he’s got four hands on her, would that be a bad thing?

  • JoshB

    If he could be doing the dishes and taking out the garbage at the same time he’s got four hands on her

    Domesticity porn, now in Incandescent Azure! Kinky…

  • MaSch

    The Problem Latex Specter, erm, Silk Specter II had?

    Don’t know about you but I know a few women who would be less than flattered if a pot-coital dialogue went something like this:

    She: Hmm, how do you feel, Mister Pleasure-Giver?

    He: I’m feeling great. I managed to solve that mathematical problem I was pondering these days while having sex with you.

  • Accounting Ninja

    She: Hmm, how do you feel, Mister Pleasure-Giver?

    He: I’m feeling great. I managed to solve that mathematical problem I was pondering these days while having sex with you.

    See, I’m a total geek. That’s hot! Y’know, provided he still, um, was “attentive to my needs”. It didn’t seem like he left her unsatisfied. Smart AND sexy, while compromising neither! :D

  • JoshB

    For Accounting Ninja. It’s a rather charming anecdote about geek romance.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Ah! I just happened to be having lunch with my husband, and I read the story to him. We both laughed, because we’re a lot like this. :)
    I asked him if he knew what Schrodinger’s Cat was, and he did. That led to a discussion of subjectivity vs. objectivity in a world view (ie an objectivist argues that reality exists, regardless of whether you know if the cat is dead or alive.)

    And you know what? I started to get a little hot for him then too. :D What can I say, brains are sexy!

  • Dr Rocketscience

    That’s not true. Full frontal female nudity is much more common and casual in American film than full frontal male nudity.

    I’m not saying it’s not, but I think it’s a question of degree.
    Allow me to pull some numbers out of my butt – that I think are still within an order of magnitude – to illustrate:
    Take 1000 American films. Maybe 50 or so of them will feature full frontal nudity. Of that, maybe 5 will be male nudity, while the rest is female. On the one hand, you can argue that female full frontal nudity is ten times more prevalent in American film, and you’d be right. But, on the other hand, all that full frontal represents less than one half of one percent of these 1000 films. So you could argue that ful frontal nudity is just plain rare, though females nude is slightly less rare. In the meantime, probably a two or three hundred of those films will have topless women.

    And yes, yes, I know: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    Accounting Ninja: yes, but the Copenhagen Interpretation doesn’t negate objectivism, just determinism. The cat really is either alive or dead, you just don’t know till you open the box. So until you do, you can treat the cat as if it’s both. Mathematically, at least.
    Now, don’t get all hot for me. Don’t want your hubby to cause my quantum state to collapse. ;)

  • Accounting Ninja

    Dr. Rocketscience: Would a rousing debate about metaphysics count as extramarital activity? “You told me you’d only discuss quantum mechanics with ME!” Although, I was taking the objectivist’s side merely to play devil’s advocate, and in our relationship, this is foreplay. :P

    On the other subject, nudity itself is rare in American films, I’ll concede you that. It’s just that a much bigger deal is made of male nudity where female is treated casually and favorably, and for that I cry sexist hypocrisy. (And, when someone says “no one” wants to see male nudity anyway, I say, did you just try to tell me what I want?? That’s the problem, too; female perspectives are often ignored or we are told what we want.)

    Personally, I’d like to see more nudity and MUCH less violence in my films. But not necessarily sexual nudity; it would just be a relief to have the body, male or female, treated practically and not as something dirty or titillating (or both).

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