They are everywhere. If you consider that all cisgender men have them, that’s a lot of penises.
Simone de Beauvoir called it “a small person … an alter ego usually more sly … and more clever than the individual.” Leonardo da Vinci said it “has dealings with human intelligence and sometimes displays an intelligence of its own.” Sophocles said that having one was to be “chained to a madman.
(Their homelessness: Pastor Mark Driscoll said, “Therefore, if you are single you must remember that your penis is homeless and needs a home”)
Yes, people also talk about vaginas. But not as much as those penises.
The visualization of the penis is widespread. I love street art, and I love graffiti – especially if It’s clever.
But the penis graffiti, man, it is everywhere. This summer while I was traveling, I witnessed penises drawn in every country I visited (Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Turkey).
It’s like an every present big brother police state, genital style.
You turn a corner looking for that bakery you say on trip advisor. PENIS. You are taking your morning walk through the medina. PENIS. You are walking up the mountain to catch the village at sunrise. PENIS.
You get to Santiago de Compostela, a block from the cathedral. PENIS. Watch the video below for proof that I saw tons of penises.
The penis obsession is not just for the American youth or the Spanish youth. Nor is it an obsession of the hypersexualized male. It is an obsession of society that started when… well… Adam? As in Adam and Eve? Probably.
So, why the penis? What does our genital police state signify?
Minna Salami writes:
When it comes to sexual anatomy, some of these myths have to do with seeing a vagina as something more sacred, erotic and gentle than a penis. A penis on the other hand is seen as a symbol of enabling dominant power. At best. At worst, it is seen as a violent weapon with larger-than-life powers. (This is despite that male genitals are perhaps the most sensitive of all human body parts.)
So, that’s great. As if there wasn’t enough problems with sexual assault and male domination, we now get to have physical reminders of that everywhere we turn. Because it’s not enough to have a penis. No, no. You must also draw one every time you leave your house.
The penis is a symbol. A symbol of dominance, and as Jungian analysts claimed, a symbol of life, death, and rebirth.
But we have to inquire, are all of the penis graffiti merely representing a harmless cultural symbol? Hiding sexuality and policing it is dangerous, but we must ask ourselves, what purpose is all of the graffiti serving? Is it educating in a positive way? Is it giving sex positive expectations of what a penis is?
Or, is it reminding half of the world that they are subordinate? Is it showing young boys that without a big dick you are weak, nothing? That penises and a mainstream view of masculinity are the same?
Or, is it drawn by some bored kid who wanted to do something “outrageous?”
Most likely, all of the above. But a critical look at the obsession with the penis is necessary. The patriarchy sure won’t go home without being kicked out!
(On a humorous note, please enjoy this community message board on using penises for countrys’ flags. Oh, people! You never cease to amaze me)
Below are some of the penises I had the *pleasure* of seeing this summer. Did you see penis graffiti? Tweet at me @yasminesoyyo!