Full Frontal Dudity

Entertainment Weekly has just posted it's list of most unforgettable nude scenes. Not sexiest, not most artistic, just most unforgettable.

Here's the link.

By my count, the list is about 2 to 1 in favor of male nakedness on screen. Nude dudes include Daniel Craig, Viggo Mortensen, Mark Wahlberg, and Russell Crow, while the ladies list includes RECENT nudity from Hellen Mirren, Diane Keaton, and Kathy Bates.


Who vetted this list? I must say that as a straight male, I feel marginalized. Where is Halle Berry? Bo Derek? The silhouetted hotties from the Bond intro montages? Most importantly, where is Phoebe Cates emerging from the pool in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High?" (Unforgettable, perhaps because it was the first, sexy, R-rated film I ever saw. I'm not sure my mom knew what it was when I rented it. I do remember the on-screen flutter from the wear on the video tape as that scene began, it had been rewound to that point so often.)

Generally, flashes of nudity in mainstream films are created to get and keep men in their seats. Even "Jaws" begins with a gratuitous strip down as a prelude to the bloody chomping. The poster is a designed as a loaded visual metaphor (orcus phallus) and the entire marketing campaign was built around that suggestive image. "Look at that giant shark!... wait, is that lady wearing anything?"

Immature? Yes. Successful business model? It was the first blockbuster.

The first entry on EW's list is from the recent hit "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." The lengthy, schlubby, male-only nude scene makes the audience uncomfortable, and is played for big laughs. Here's a quote from director Judd Apatow:

"I'm gonna get a penis in every movie I do from now on... It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body."

If the director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Superbad" is calling me immature, I guess it's time to grow up. But it's not just me. Male nudity still has it's shock value, and I'll admit there's a double standard. But I can't blame the whole thing on knee-jerk homophobia. Which leads me to...

Another generalization on mainstream films: female nudity = seduction, male nudity = harassment. Many of EW's male nude scenes are not sensual, but manipulated to intimidate or keep the audience off guard. Craig's nude torture scene is unbearable, as is Mortensen's bathhouse murder. Not to mention the Laurel-and-Hardy-esque nude rumble from "Borat" which spills from a hotel room, through the halls and lobby, ending in a ballroom spectacle. Under these circumstances, I'm supposed to wince and look away, right?

--Straight Guy

P.S. To provide a little balance, I'll also link to EW's "Most Memorable Swimsuits" list, which is more on target for straight guys. Hello, Phoebe...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Y'all seem fond of linking to highly subjective polls that don't define their terms - "gayest albums", "unforgettable nude scenes." Everyone's answer for most unforgettable nude scene: "my first one." The two motorcycle scenes from Waking Ned Devine - and really, the whole movie - are truly unforgettable. The scenes are believable and one of the highlights of a good movie. I've said too much already.

Gay Guy / Straight Guy Archive