The ESPN Magazine Body Issue has been released with five different covers. Every one of them featuring a nude pro athlete. Much like the straight men in the audience at my burlesque shows, men of the internet have expressed audible disappointment at being subjected to the naked male form. In many of the shows where I’ve performed, I’m one male act out of 20+ women. I invited a woman to one of those shows. When her boyfriend found out that I invited her (meaning that I was performing) he refused to attend because he didn’t want to see me naked. He was so homophobic that he feared seeing another man taking off his clothes. He was so goddamned homophobic that he missed the chance to see 20+ women take THEIR clothes off just to avoid seeing me take off mine. (Can you hear how loud I’m laughing!?)
As a sex worker, I’m still somewhat surprised when a woman tells me that she’s never seen any penis other than that of her husband’s. I’m surprised because I expect human beings to learn about each other outside of anatomy class. Shouldn’t we all know what various bodies look like so that we can have a real world definition of normalcy? As heterosexual men, we should all know that what the fashion industry considers “plus size” is a lot closer to the average size when it comes to women. I’m not stating that as a judgment. I’m just saying that there’s nothing average about the edited photographs on magazine covers. I digress. My point is that men need to see more of the naked male form. Society has spent so much time teaching little boys to hide their feelings and to be heterosexual (often homophobic) womanizers, that the very idea of seeing another man naked leaves them scandalized.
Have you ever had the “naked at school” dream? Have you ever felt insecure about how you looked when leaving the house? We all have insecurities. It’s part of the human condition. What do you love about your body? I mean, just for a minute, one vain minute, look in the mirror and celebrate what you love about your reflection. Body image insecurities have kept people from doing so many things due to their fear of being judged by others. We all judge as we all are judged. The sooner we accept that concept, the sooner we’ll be comfortable in our own skin and just say, “fuck it, I don’t care what people think!” My challenge to you, this week, is to celebrate your naked body. Stand naked in the mirror with a dry erase marker. List out 10 things, on the mirror, you love about your body. I’m asking this of all genders. Depending on what box you check, society may have taught you that you don’t fit into that box or some believe you have no right to check that box. We. All. Have. Insecurities. If you’re one of the men who was upset about seeing a male athlete nude on a magazine cover, your 2nd exercise should be to write down some things you love about Ezekial Elliott’s body. (If the thought of doing that makes you cringe, that’s worth digging deeper within to understand, is it not?
Some time ago, I was featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The conversation was about men posing for boudoir photographs. When asked my opinion on why so many men are apprehensive about being nude in front of a camera, I spoke about men’s fear of exposure. Naked, on a wall, in a gallery ripe for the judgment of the public. That sounds like a 3-D version of the naked at school dream! No matter what your gender identity may be, does the thought scare you? Don’t let it. We are all judged and we all judge. Be comfortable in your own beautiful skin and never let anyone convince you that being naked or seeing nudity is a bad thing.
FFS: Do NOT interpret this post as an excuse to send dick pics. Don’t be a dumbass.