Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here's a Question

Why don't men write confessional essays about the pain of having an enormous penis? Or having a tiny penis, for that matter.

Certainly the essay about the burden of having enormous breasts has been written way more times than it needs to be. It's even been turned into a book. And it always features the Town Shop and Orchard Corset Center (along with Wacoal), which makes me wonder what one does with enormous breasts if one lives in Duluth. Or maybe no one has enormous breasts in Duluth (and now I'm also wondering why the Wacoal website starts with a modernist couch, and how many modernist couches there are in Duluth, and whether perhaps the modernist couch suggests to the large-breasted in Duluth that if they buy Wacoal bras, it will be almost the same as living the glamorous life in New York).

But putting aside breasts and bras to focus on form--narrative form, that is--we can turn to my question. Let me propose a few answers:

The confessional essay in the mainstream media has become thoroughly feminized--witness the ratio of women to men in Modern Love which, over the last several months, tracks precisely at 4:1.

The breast, unlike the penis, is a visible signifier, so the essayist draws attention to what is already noticeable, rather than revealing the hidden. Certainly fashion, to which writing might be compared, works hard to reveal the breast, but leaves the penis alone. And women do not seem prone to catcalls at the sight of penises--perhaps, going back two sentences, because of the visibility aspect.

We are, as a culture, singularly interested in breasts (see fashion, above).

Penises take us too close, generically speaking, to pornography (I'm sure Ron Jeremy's autobiography covers the topic, or rather, uncovers it).

Surely, though, there must be something of interest to say in what one does with one's enormous penis, how one feels about it, how one's partners react to it--or maybe, as in the case of enormous breasts, not.

1 comment:

postacademic said...

There's also the question of how one feels about one's so-called "needle dick" and how that might influence one's actions in the political sphere. But I guess it wouldn't be cool to "out" someone else's small penis.