Maybe a week or so ago, the lovely sextathlon re-blogged a post featuring images of Michelangelo’s David side-by-side with a photo of a nude male pin-up appended with an question as to why the former is defended as Art and the latter is deemed obscene.
My suspicion is that the party line runs: the skill required to carve a nude dude from a chunk of marble exceeds what is needed to plunk a hunk down in front of a camera.
The dichotomy really centers on the way male nudity challenges invisible assumptions, i.e. the spectator will be straight, white and male or deferential to such a perspective.
Michelangelo was likely gay, David—a homoerotic sculpture. But Renaissance aristocrats didn’t get their dressing gowns in a twist because the work was conceived with fail-safes to diffuse the “gay”: the contrapposto of Greek statuary was the lingua franca among Firenze’s intelligentsia; also, naming the piece after a mensch who was such a bro that he had a man killed to bone his wife further obfuscates its homoeroticism.
On the other hand, photography is a relatively young medium and as such there are fewer ruses to diffuse perceived affronts to the invisible ‘heterosexual norm’. Thus: an image of a cock is, well… a cock—and most likely totes gay.
Pornographers, and trench coat clad old men standing on street corners, have done fuck all to ameliorate matters. Both reduce heterosexuality to metonymy—men are their swollen manhood; the sight of which is somehow sure to start vaginal secretions dripping down thighs.
With all that bullshit, I guess people see the hairless semi-hard cock tucked between the boys shaved legs and immediately dismiss the image as “gay.” Maybe, they are a wee bit sensitive and wonder about the subject’s ambivalent gender identity.
Fuck that noise. And should your eyes’ appetite not be omnivorous enough to appreciate the meticulously considered, conceived and constructed pulchritudinous depiction of longing, then fuck you, too.