Where's the Ding Dang?: A Discussion of the Lack of Nudity Equality in Cinema.

By Jodi Clager | Think Pieces | November 25, 2013 | Comments ()


American cinema. The artistic display of relationships, explosions, robots, torture, rape, romance, madcap idiocy, and attempts at broadening the cultural knowledge of society, both successful and decidedly less so. It’s also home of the undressed female form. I’ve conditioned myself to expect boobs whenever I see a movie, whether I’d like to or not. Going to see an action flick? You’re about to see some nudity unrelated to the plot! Wanna watch some comedy? Some chick will lose a top in some crazy, Rube Goldberg-esque sequence of events.

It’s tiresome and unfair in terms of equivalent big screen dick action, you know? Sure, Jason Segal whipped out his majestic member in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Tom Hardy let loose with his uncircumcised, swinging stinger in Bronson. Satan let his gigantic wedding tackle swing in This Is the End. The difference is, besides it being much less frequent, people point out how distracting to the plot these wieners are for the viewer. Replace them with boobies and hoobies? Hey, that’s just the way things are, am I right? That’s just her character.

In Hollywood it is only a matter of time before most actresses will whip out the goodies in a role. Do you recall when Halle Berry decided to show her breasts in the terrible Swordfish? It was such a huge deal to everyone and men and women that enjoy breasts were psyched for the reveal. The movie sucked, but hey! People would now be able to imagine Berry’s breasts like they really are, so whatever.

Not only do people like to place bets on when which actress will succumb to the pressures of a nude scene, there are entire websites devoted to meticulously documenting the movies in which a certain actress shows her mammaries. I’m talking about down to the exact hour, minute, and second in the film for maximum freeze-frame wanking. This is perfectly acceptable to everyone, I guess.

What about me? What about my fair share? Where’s the ding dang placed irrelevantly into the plot of movies just because men are objects to be looked at in only a sexual manner? I want some movie villainess to show how terrible she is by surrounding herself with pantless men that are indulging her every whim like walking accessories. I want to see her snort coke off a dude’s ballsack while ordering her henchpeople to kill the protagonist.

Some of you might snottily pronounce that what I want is called pornography and you would be wrong while stubbornly missing the point. I’m talking about establishing a male character the same way popular films have established their female counterparts for decades: nudity. Ridiculous, uncalled for, lazy nudity in place of smart writing, character development, and exposition. It’s only fair, right?

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned

  • Ricardo Aguilera

    Male nudity isn't as prominient for the simple fact that male sexually doesn't have the market value that female sexuality has. Naked women or even barely dressed women have the demonstrative power to lure and ring in male buyers even if the men in question don't have a clue about the content at hand. Sex sells specifically when it's targeted at men so it makes sense from a marketing perspective to sneak in as much tits and ass because they will (statically speaking) help in getting exposure at least to the male consumer base.

    On the flip side, sex doesn't really sell that well to women and male sexuality doesn't have the same effect on women that female sexuality does on men. I remember reading these 2 studies awhile ago that showed the effects attractive women have on men. In 1 study it was shown that beautiful women actually affect the congnitive capabilities of men to the point that they would forget their home address and in another study it was shown men experience the same high they would from a powerful drug like coccain by looking at attractive women.

    Interestingly enough when testing the effects on women it was found that men had no such impact on women even if the women were physically and sexually attracted to said men. We also have to take into account that be market on porn,playboy and other"gentlemen"interest is rather significant compared to their female counter parts...even male prostitutes have to eventually resort to gay clients in order to remain in business. Therefore the bottom-line is that showing dick in film doesn't really achieve a lot compared to what it might actually hurt because statistically speaking, showing tit will actually get a film or actress some new found attention and fame while showing dick will only just make people feel uncomfortable and perhaps maybe arouse gay men.

  • rabbityear

    Like this weird Puritanical thing, held over.

  • rabbityear

    Yes, it's only fair. When have you ever seen a TV cop drama, for example, that didn't have the obligatory strip club scene with naked women wrapping their naked butts around a dance pole? Right. That's what I thought. Plus violence, murder and mayhem are more obscene than sex and nudity, but that doesn't matter, either, because dicks are scary? Terrifying? Out of control? Like the monstrous, unpredictable sand worms that rise threateningly from the deserts of Dune and consume everything in their path? And, just perusing the comments, why is it that when a woman is naked it's called "nudity" but when a man is naked it's called "pornography"? We're not allowed to see dick because dick is inherently evil? Box office or not, stupid attitude.

  • cakesss

    Michael Fassbender makes up for everything, even if he never shows us The Fassdong again.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    This infographic is relevant to our interests:


  • Premie

    Tits are not equivalent to dongs. You don't see a lot of vaginas in main stream film either. In fact, you see a lot more dick than vagina sooo, kind of disagree on this one.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Oz. Ozwald State Maximum Security Penitentiary was the great nudity equalizer.

  • mzbitca

    Honestly, One of the main reasons I enjoyed The Heat was that it was a comedy withOUT the typical frat boy nudity. It was nice to laugh and enjoy a movie without feeling like I had to be reminded that the point of the movie was to appeal to straight guys over me

  • Bam Bunting

    Jodi have I got the ticket for you. The dude's name is Fassbender and the movies are Hunger and Shame. It should hold you off til the new years.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    If I never see Jason Segal's ding ding again it will be too soon.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Harvey Keitel.

  • amanda

    I don't care too much about seeing the ding dang, but I hear what you're saying about the female vs. male nudity. I've been thinking about this recently because my fella has been watching "Chuck" on Netflix. There are boobs in every episode, and yet, AND YET! No man chest. Nary a nipple. I mean, if we're going to be seeing boobs all the time, can they at least throw the ladies a bone (haha) in the form of some above-the-waist action? I like a man chest. I like seeing dudes with their shirts off. So, I don't know, maybe more of that. Because I feel like asking for more wang is going to end in us just seeing more labia, and there's enough labia out there already, you know?

  • jettcity

    Another pajiba column that should post under "Much Ado about Nothing". Regarding above the belt nudity, with a number of fit male actors it's almost a joke that it's inevitable that there will be a scene that allows them to show off their six pack and toned pecs. You can tell me if the male breast is visually/artistically more appealing or has more gravitas than the female breast. Think Bob from Fight Club.
    Below the belt, in mainstream movies, I'm seeing roughly the same amount of nudity lately with maybe more female butts. Think the "chase scene" from Sideways. Tell me how often you want to see that.

  • Steve Ward

    Men don't have a middle ground like boobs. Full frontal is its own thing for both sexes. For guys, it's dick and balls, or nothing. That's the main difference. Plus guys can keep everything a mystery. We know essentially what your breasts look like when they're clothed, while men can act like they're packing a two foot monster while actually rocking two inches.

    The value in the unveiling isn't the same. Besides, you got Fassbender. Things aren't all bad.

    Oh, and Mr Skin totally has a male nudity version, cataloguing all your wang-related needs. This is a thing I know because, and only because, of a podcast interview. I swear.

  • Emm82

    I can undersand why men want to see nudity because it's lovely to see an attractive person (I'll always remember trainspotting and the now sadly retired Mcgregor with fondness) but I don't understand the self rightious sanctimony that (some) men have about it?

  • Glory

    I must admit I'm not a fan of full frontal male nudity - men are just so untidy :)
    It doesn't bother me but I'm not asking for more in my films.
    I do think that unless the menfolk are also half undressed the ladies should keep their tops on.
    Gratuitous female nudity is just lazy.

  • Derek Skinner

    And there is actually a site for male celebrity nudity...just like Mr Skin, but for guy parts.

  • DominaNefret

    I am going to admit to being a mostly-heterosexual woman who really has no interest in seeing more penises in movies.

  • rocky

    Ayup. Me too.

  • JenVegas

    I'm with you.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I have always been very torn about this issue. As a lesbian I don't want more dicks on my screen but as a feminist the lack of equality really does upset me.

  • manting

    sounds like a real sophie's choice.

  • manting

    There is a simple reason - the female form is a work of art, beautiful, curvy art. A naked man is like a shovel, its functional but certainly not art.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    As someone who spent too many years in the world of marketing, it's a well-known and well-researched fact that when it comes to advertising messages men respond to women very well, not so much to men, whereas women respond well to both men and women with a similar response. So - to target the largest demographic - go with a heavy female presence and throw a few men in in a non-threatening way.

    Which brings me to another point - men are more competitive and more threatened by other males looking to take their alpha role, perhaps it extends to movies where male nudity is present. Does it cause discomfort in comparison, always a large insecurity for many men?

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Michaelangelo may disagree with you on that...

  • manting

    he cant. He's dead. Besides an idealized sculpture of the male form is not the male form. Compare Harvey Keitel naked in the Pianist or Bad Lieutenant to Michealangelo's David. Not very close are they?

  • Sean

    The weird part of this is that Keitel has always been in great shape. Especially for his age. He was ripped in Bad Lieutenant.

  • JenVegas

    Being in great shape does not necessarily make you attractive.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    And yet Hollywood is all about the idealized form. Leading Hollywood men tend to be on the good-looking side of things. Just as leading women are.
    And if you're using Harvey Keitel to illustrate your point, then I can use Kathy Bates to counter point.

  • Annie

    Do you REALLY want to see tons of pantsless men in movies you watch? Me and the females in my life don't.

    Men and women respond to nudity in the gender of attraction in different ways (generally!), because men and women do not function in identical ways. There is a lot of non-sexual gratuitous stuff in movies that appeals to women and thus is directed at women and exploited for women, but that men don't give a hoot about. Men and women are DIFFERENT. Part of ensuring our equal treatment is recognizing our differences rather than attempting to equate our experiences.

    As a heterosexual female, I am far more excited by a classic romance plot than I am by seeing a penis on screen. But then I only directly sampled one opinion before writing this post (my own), so go ahead and disagree.

  • John G.

    is the point of the article to increase arousal or to just even things out so that it's not always randomly naked women in movies.

  • Annie

    You're right, it's not simply about increasing arousal. But I'd say the idea of "evening things out" just for the sake of it is more detrimental than it is beneficial. And I get frustrated with people who think that men and women will ever be identically equal. I am not interested in seeing women achieving a "tit for tat," equality in anything. This diminishes the experiences, differences, and qualities of both genders.

    I'd argue that rather than "even" we should attempt to create a different idea of what gender equality means, where we can see these experiences, differences, qualities of each gender as balances on a set of scales, complementing each other.

  • John G.

    There are differences between sexes, but gender is socially constructed. I don't want to diminish the different experiences between genders, but there are also different experiences inside genders. It's more of a continuum than a binary.

    I would say that though you may view your personal experience as the experience of your gender it is only your experience, not a universal experience of all who claim your gender. There are lots and lots of different experiences that claim the gender "female" for example, including transgender females.

    With regard to this issue of nudity, and more generally regarding the idea of "evenness", I think it's important to have that evenness just because of the way that things affect us without our necessarily knowing they do. Just seeing so many women get undressed all the time in all of popular culture has an effect on how we view the purpose of female characters in story as well extrapolated to the view of female roles in society.

    When we don't see men naked almost ever, it gives them less vulnerability, less body shaming, and forces that perception onto society. Evening things out doesn't mean that all women are screaming for more penises on screen, or that the underlying problems with any action are now fixed. It just means that things like the number of images we get bombarded with every day provide a more balanced effect on us, whether negative or positive.

  • Corey

    Well, this isn't really a fair comparison. The penis is genitalia, breasts are not. I think penises may well be more common in films than vaginas.

  • manting

    not even close. I mean there just arent many movies with penises (peni would be a better plural). I can only think of a few, Harvey Keitel in a movie or two, Walk Hard, and maybe a dozen others. Vagina? I can think of dozens.

  • Corey

    If the of head I can think of a half dozen movies with penis and only one with vagina, so apparently it depends on what movies you are familiar with. I'd be interested to see actual statistics

  • ray

    What are the names of these movies that show vaginas?

  • manting

    Top of my head Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Eyes Wide Shut, Requiem for a Dream, Monsters Ball, Boogie Nights (walburgs dong doesn't count b/c its fake), and tons more. The best example I can give is Skinamax. Skinamax movies always show fully naked women but NEVER a dong. Shannon Tween has made hundreds upon hundreds of films with full frontal female nudity but no dongs.

  • ray

    I'll give you two more
    Rules of attraction
    Harold and Kumar and 2 (both male and female)

  • LwoodPDowd

    Vagina or Bush? Distinct difference. If a man had a bush that could cover his junk he probably wouldn't go naked, nor would anyone want him.

  • manting

    Ok mostly bush but you are splitting hairs.

  • I have nothing to back this up with other than being someone who has owned a ballsack for some 30+ years, but I would assume that given it's general demeanor, snorting anything off of it would be fiendishly difficult.

  • John G.

    How you gonna complain about showing more male nudity, when you blur out Jason Segal's wang in the very post where you're complaining about no male nudity?

  • Sean

    I have had this conversation before with friends and family. It makes little sense to me. And the lengths(no pun intended)they go to conceal the penii(assuming that is the plural of penis) is ridiculous. As a hetro man, I don't want to see penii, but it is silly. Completely unfair. If one actor is naked, then all should be.

  • I'm not sure, but I think the correct plural would be 'penes.'

  • Aaron

    Penii is not the plural.

  • Ben

    but it should be.

  • I submit to you that Louis CK's "penisia" (sp?) is the best plural form possible, correct or not.

  • Ben

    boobs aren't the equivilent of dick. How many times do you see vagina's in movies, not pubic hair but actual full on clitoris/labia vaginas? You generally don't see genitals at all. Women have internal genitalia though so you can show a woman from the waist down without showing her genitalia.

  • Snowdarc

    See Spartacus.A veritable sausage fest,interspersed with the odd merkin. Sure,boobs galore,but like Ben said,it aint the same.

  • Sean

    And some of those boobs were glorious

  • Aaron

    I agree that they aren't exactly equivalent things, but I think the main point that the female body is portrayed in gratuitous ways more often than men stands. That said, I've been noticing a lot more male gratuitous shots lately, even if not including nudity per se (e.g. Thor, Daniel Craig in the Bond movies, Magic Mike). That's not to say that it nears the level seen in females, just that it may be on the rise.

  • Ben

    If that's the main point (And it's a valid one to make) then the post should have been made on that point, not hidden behind a fallacious comparison that can easily be torn apart by anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of anatomy or censorship standards.

  • Nat

    You're not seriously suggesting that unless movies go INTO a woman's vagina it isn't the same as showing dick?

  • Aaron Schulz

    gotta spread those lips apparently for it to be the same, i just made myself feel dirty

  • googergieger

    Nobody likes a limp cock. No real female equivalent to a limp cock.

  • bcarter3

    Ann Coulter.

  • googergieger

    Hell, that dude is more man than me.

  • emmalita

    Actually........It depends on both the cock and the situation.

  • googergieger

    Into that weird dominating guys thing eh? In any case, I stand by what I said. Limp cock(band name?) is good for nothing.

  • emmalita

    I just spent 10 minutes laughing really hard. I stand by my assertion, and it has nothing to do with domination games.

  • Sean

    Urination. Quite impossible otherwise. Try waiting for morning wood to go down when you really have to pee.

  • googergieger

    Pee-rections are awesome.

  • manting

    Its why my toilet has a backboard.

  • kirivinokur

    I think this is partly symptomatic/part of the inequity between the genders in required hotness. The women who get jobs in Hollywood tend to be young and thin. Who do they get paired up with? It's a broad spectrum. It could be Chris Hemsworth or Steve Buscemi for the same young and thin actress. That actress will probably end up naked at some point early in her career because, again, she's young and thin and that's what will bring in ticket buyers (among other sexist reasons). A naked Chris Hemsworth will also bring ticketbuyers, maybe not as many, but a naked Steve Buscemi probably wouldn't draw many at all. This probably accounts for a very small percentage of that imbalance, but I wonder how much the nudity gap can be closed if the percentage of non-"hot" women equaled the percentage of non-"hot" men.

  • manting

    there are very few zero talent hot men in Hollywood landing big roles. There are quite a few zero talent hot women in Hollywood landing big roles. Therein lies the difference.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I get what you're saying but I think your criticism is a little misguided. First and foremost most writers/directors want to get their movie made. Studios are reluctant to make movies that they can't distribute. It's hard to distribute movies that get an NC-17.

    And guess what a bunch of lazy dongs will get you?

    More often than not, an NC-17.

    I'm not dismissing your criticism, I'm just saying the deck is stacked against dicks. I suggest mailing tons of dildos to the MPAA to desensitize them to dicks in general.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    I'm not sure that you do. The fact that a dick gets you an NC-17 is exactly the type of institutionalised sexism - or, let's say, an institutionalised straight-male-view - that Jodi is complaining of. Just as a scene showing cunnilingus, as in Blue Valentine, somehow garners a higher rating, whereas blowjob scenes get away fine with an R; female sexual pleasure, or what a straight woman might like to look at, is marginalised and 'weird'.

  • lowercase_ryan

    No I really do get it. It is absolutely institutionalized sexism, patriarchal bullshit. I just took her argument to mean that the creative people behind the movies were making this decision to avoid dicks when I don't necessarily think that's the case.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    We're in agreement, then, although I think Jodi is implicitly including this factor in her discussion. After all, the MPAA don't make their decisions about what's obscene in a vacuum; directors and MPAA officials are part of the same culture, and, of course, in both cases mostly dudes.

  • thewatcher

    I was in a film class where we had Jack Valenti speak on ratings (ex-president of the MPAA). When we pressed him about the imbalance between graphic violence and nudity ratings, he avoided the question. His stance was if you saw male full frontal, then it was NC17. But if you saw female, then it was just R because the female form was beautiful.
    Most people walked out when he wouldn't participate in the discrimination of nudity, and believe me, there were hardly any females in the audience.

  • Uriah_Creep

    If a bunch of lazy dongs will get you an NC-17, what would a bunch of eager, industrious dongs get?

  • Aaron Schulz

    jesus christ, eager industrious dongs did three things
    1. Made me snort like a jackass at work
    2. New band name i called it
    3. Best mental image of little dongs in hardhats with tools building machines

  • BlackRabbit

    Porn version of the Minions?

  • Debut album: Beware the EIDs of March

  • Uriah_Creep

    And your #3 made me giggle embarissingly.

  • Sean

    Actually is that an issue anymore? With anything less than large budget movies not even being released in theaters, why bother with the MPAA at all? Just show the damn genitalia. If you can find actors that wish to show off.

  • manting

    in fact I want FULL PENTRATION. Bring on Thundergun Express.

  • GDI

    Hang dong.

  • lowercase_ryan

    oh the MPAA remains terribly relevant. and terrible. Watch "This Film is Not Yet Rated"

  • Sean

    That movie is 8 years old. The movie industry has radically changed in that time frame. More than any time in its history. Most movies are viewed at home. Mostly on Netflix. Millions of people download movies. As I said, only big movies show up in theaters. That is going to increase as we go forward. I think the large still surviving movie companies(Sony, Disney, WB, and Viacom) should just come up with their own system. THe smaller companies should just ignore the ratings system all together.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I agree with you but they won't. I also disagree that only big movies make it to theaters. And you will start seeing movies made for netflix distribution I bet. It remains true though, a studio is likely to pass on something that it can't get into theaters. That's just the way it is.

  • manting

    The MPAA still wields a large amount of authority and the industry listens when they speak.

  • Temmere

    The last three movies I saw in the theater were Pacific Rim, The Grandmaster, and Thor: The Dark World. None of them had any naked women that I recall.

    I'm not disputing your overall point that there's more female nudity than male in movies, which is obviously true. But I really don't think there are THAT many naked women in movies anymore, simply because PG-13 ratings don't generally allow that.

    One last point: Even Emmy Rossum has said that male full-frontal nudity is a whole other thing from most female nudity, just because of the way it's all "out there."

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    I take issue with quoting Emmy Rossum's "it's all out there"… No matter WHICH gender, being nude means it's all OUT THERE. Exposing oneself is putting it all out there; boobs are genitalia, too.

  • Aaron

    By definition genitalia are organs of the reproductive system, you can reproduce just fine without breasts.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Genitalia is also used to describe any external or secondary sex organ. Boobs are exactly that.

  • Aaron

    No, it's not. Enlarged breasts are a secondary sex characteristic, like facial hair in men. Would you call facial hair genitalia? In which case we've seen a ton of male genitalia in movies.

  • Nat

    Also try having a kid survive without breast milk (and since we're talking evolution then the fake stuff doesn't count). Seems pretty essential to me.

  • JenVegas

    You can definitely have a child survive without breast milk. Watch out for the can of worms you just opened by saying that.

  • manting

    You can but breast milk (especially the first few days) greatly increases a babies chance to live. Colostrum contains essentially a temporary immune system for the newborn while it forms its own immune system. There is yet no way to recreate this. Breast feeding up to 6 months also greatly increases the babies chance to live and to live healthy. It is of course, no guarantee, but just about every doctor and health organization highly recommends breast feeding. This still doesn't make breasts genitalia, only awesome. (by the way some very small percentage of men lactate as well though I dont know the quality of the milk they produce)

  • Aaron

    That's true, but that doesn't make them genitalia.

  • Nat

    You're completely right. I think the problem is that we've gone completely off topic. The issue at hand isn't whether boobs are defined as sex organs or how many times they're shown on screen. It's that they're shown on screen to the detriment of the woman carrying them because while they may or may not be anatomically under a certain category, our culture has defined them as "sexual" ergo "sexual object". This, of course, only refers to cases where that actually happens. Lots of female nudity on Orange is the New Black and because those women are all PEOPLE you don't see feminists up in arms about it.

  • Emm82

    Dead right. The problem is that the boobs are often seen as more important than the woman they are attached to, which is where feminists,and even non feminists, just people who are fed up of seeing it, get up in arms.

  • Ben

    But the problem with that line of reasoning is there is no direct equivalent organ in men, anatomy between the sexes is different. So you can't have equal representation of anatomy. It's just not actually a thing that's possible.

    You can't just go "Well there are boobs so we should get dong" Because they're not the same. Equality is all well and good, but physically a mans body is different to a womans and no amount of logic or equality is going to change that.

  • Aaron Schulz

    pretty sure you can drop the mic now, pimp strut out and give high fives to a million angles Nat

  • Nat

    Dude. Microphones are like $50 (at least that's what Community has taught me). Respect the wallet. I'll take those high fives though :)

  • foolsage

    I've had a full beard, a moustache, and a Van Dyke, at different points in my life. I've had years and years of facial hair.

    Never once have I had an orgasm solely through stimulation of my facial hair.

    Don't get me wrong, it's brought me pleasure, just not that way. The same cannot be said of female breasts (for the females in question, as well as for me, but the latter is a tangent). The topic was sexual organs, and if sexual stimulation and even orgasm are possible via the female breast (and they are) then the comparison to male facial hair is misleading.

    Yes, both of these things are secondary sexual characteristics. However, one of them features prominently in most people's sex life. There's a meaningful distinction there.

    Look, I really, really, really wish men's facial hair were comparable. My beard would be so fucking awesome then.

  • DominaNefret

    I have an ex who could orgasm solely via having his ears played with. I guess we should start covering ears.

  • Aaron

    The amount of prominence (or lack of) in someone's sex life doesn't make it genitalia. Some men get pleasure from their nipples being stimulated as well, no one would refer to them as male genitalia. The way the term is used it's referring to "sex organ" in the reproductive sense, not the pleasure sense.

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