Dick is Still a No-No
In 2000 much was made of Geoffrey Rush's frequent nude scenes in the Oscar-nominated film Quills, which depicts the life of the Marquis de Sade. At the same time, his co-star Kate Winslet has done numerous nude sequences, including a birth scene in Jude involving a fake vulva, yet few have considered it to be anything other than normal. It seems that the double standard when it comes to film nudity still prevails. Naked female flesh is par for the course. Naked male flesh continues to make headlines.
Precisely why this is the case has been a topic for numerous commentators. Some suggest it is simply because the vast majority of directors and producers are still men. Sex sells, they say, but apparently only men are doing the buying. Female nudity in a film is considered to be beneficial to the bottom line, whereas full frontal male nudity will turn the male viewers off, and god forbid that should ever happen.
This industry standard has been ever-so-slowly worn away in the last decade, although there have been rare, and treasured, full frontal appearances in the past. The sight of Richard Gere in all his glory in American Gigolo was enough to make women happy for a while, at least, and upmarket viewers got a good look at Simon Callow and Julian Sands skinny dipping in A Room With A View. But the celluloid willy was still a very rare sight until the nineties.
Perhaps the most impressive inclusion of a penis in a modern film was Harvey Keitel's in The Piano. Vast numbers of women fondly cherish the lingering shot of Harvey stark naked, lovingly polishing the piano of Ada, his lover. Keitel may be wrinkled, craggy, and best known for gangster movies, but that one scene cemented him a spot as heartthrob in the minds of many women. The fact that the film was written and directed by Jane Campion seemed to indicate that this scene was almost a kind of payback - at last a woman was behind the camera, and she was filming what she wanted to see.
Since then, women have been treated to a number of full-frontal shots, including Edward Norton in American History X, Ewan McGregor in The Pillow Book, Russell Crowe in The Sum of Us, John Malkovich in The Sheltering Sky, and Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley.
Oliver Stone recently broke the mould in Any Given Sunday by having a fully clothed Cameron Diaz walk through a crowded changeroom while dozens of stark naked footballers bared all. Commentators said this scene was a hallmark in the evolution of male full frontal nudity, because for once it was treated with a casual disinterest, instead of the grave seriousness that usually accompanies the appearance of a penis.
The French film Romance was the latest film to break the full frontal barrier, and it went a step further - it featured erect penises. While this created a frenzy of censorship in some countries such as Australia, where the film was initially banned, others barely blinked. The director claimed the erections were necessary to help convey a sense of reality during various sex scenes. Voyeuristic female viewers didn't mind at all.
The latest development in the pursuit of full frontal male nudity has arrived via the internet. True Male Celebs is an adult site devoted to showing pics of celebrities in the buff. They've used a large number of film stills to capture the elusive celeb willy, so ardent fans no longer have to hire out videos and become a virtuoso with the pause button. Of course, there aren't enough full frontal shots to make up an entire site, so the owners have made use of the plentiful butt shots that actors such as Mel Gibson have been happy to make. Add to that secret paparazzi shots, like those of Brad Pitt naked on his balcony, and bizarre personal pics, like a nude David Duchovny covering his rude bits with a tea cup, and you've got a very popular site for women.
With the new millennium, women can hopefully look forward to some equality in the movie nudity stakes. Hell, maybe in ten years there'll be an Oscar for the best nude scene, with clips shown at the ceremony. Now THAT would definitely liven up the broadcast, and the ratings. Just as long as Billy Crystal keeps his clothes on.
This article also appears at Free Porn for Women
Did you know Ewan McGregor, Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episdoe 1 and 2, has appeared nude in almost every movie he's ever been in? The Pillow Book, Velvet Goldmine, Trainspotting... Dammit, this man is my hero! Here's what he had to say about being nude so often:
was this trend in the '80s of gratuitous sex scenes where women were
always naked and men never were. So I just thought I was doing it
for the sisters."
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