I was looking at an ad for a play showing in Dayton tonight and saw this warning message attached to the ad in the local City Guide:

“WARNING: Contains strong lanauage and male nudity – not recommended for audiences under 17.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rating system that specificed the sex that was baring all. I’m assuming that the assumption here is that audiences will find a flacid male member far more intimidating than a pair of breasts (the play is also about race and homosexuality – maybe the whole “male nudity” thing is code for that in case insecure het men decide to go and see a “play about baseball” and get freaked out that it’s *also* about baseball…).

There’s no reason why a naked woman couldn’t be seen as powerful and sexually threatening and a naked man viewed as a docile object to be dominated. There are certainly *instances* of this, and much of the control of women and their bodies – what they show, to who, and when – is of course done because women *are* secretly seen as powerful. But it *is* a secret super power – the rest of the world doesn’t want to code it that way.

It does make me wonder if the whole bluster about male nudity is just a big sham to cover up the fact that the naked man is just as vulnerable – if not more so – than the naked female.

Ever so fascinating.

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