There's a trailer currently being shown for some vapid summer teen movie that features, as nearly its only selling point, two teenage girls kissing in a jeep. As if we needed to be told, text informs us that this situation is "hot". A single male onlooker, obviously socially unfortunate, encourages them to kiss again.
The motif of two ostensibly heterosexual females engaging in sexual behavior is currently accepted as a popular and potent male fantasy. Much coverage has been given to the 'new' phenomena of teen and college age girls putting on a 'show' to get male attention.
Because, remember, if there is evidence in the popular media about adolescent female sexuality, there will be brow-furrowing among right leaning pundits about the need for a return to modesty, and among left-leaning pundits about the need for higher self-esteem in young girls.
But in this situation, what intrigues me is what it says about the sexuality and self-esteem of boys and men. What does it mean when the hottest sexual act imaginable by an individual makes that individual redundant? What does it mean when your fantasies leave you out? The male onlooker is left, standing 'outside the jeep', dick in the proverbial hand, alone.
Doesn't that suggest a pervasive male culture of self-loathing? Imagining a scenario where their genitals, their body, their orgasm- are out of frame? I think this psuedo-sapphic explosion is a symptom of dangerously low male, not female, self esteem. Perhaps it comes from the media; mens' bodies are kept far more under-wraps than women's. Breasts will get you a PG-13, a flaccid dick can get you an R. I don't think I've ever seen an uncovered erection in a general-release motion picture. Men may be growing up associating their own bodies with hard-core pornography only, and by adulthood, they will have been told that that mode of expression is, by definition, exploitative to women. (which I don't entirely buy, either)
Or maybe it is our parental culture that gives boys the impression that they are 'dirty' or 'gross'. Let's consider circumcision. American parents circumcise boys because they don't want to have to teach them to care for their genitals. It is a surgery to prevent conversations about hygeine. Dan Savage wrote about not circumcising his son
"As for washing "that thing," well, when the time comes to roll back and wash underneath -- which won't be until age three-ish, according to Dr. Spock -- I can't imagine that washing under my son's foreskin will be any grosser than digging hard-packed shit out the crack of his ass and folds of his scrotum; mopping vomit off of floors, tabletops, car seats, highchairs, house pets, house plants, my boyfriend, my mother, and the top of my head; or sitting through multiple matinee screenings of Elmo in Grouchland"
Imagine growing up with parents who felt the opposite way. That anything having to do with your body was grosser than anything having to do with shit.
And, any suspicion that your male body is filthy or dangerous would only be confirmed by current methods in teaching sex education. The questions that teenagers ask, when given the opportunity, reveal not just a dangerous innocence when it comes to sexual matters, but a kind of superstitious phallophobia that cannot be easily shaken with either science or logic.
Questions like "My girlfriend gave me a handjob and I ejaculated and then the next day she got her period and she used a tampon and now could she be pregnant?" or "What if my boyfriend has an erection and I'm sitting on his lap and the precome comes out of his penis and it gets on my skirt could I be pregnant?" or "I touched my boyfriend's penis and now I have a rash on my hand we're both virgins anyway do I have AIDS".
Poor boys. Ejaculating aids and pregnancy through four layers of fabric.
And by later, I mean possibly next week.
I'm going to the beach.