[iDC] netporn midlife crisis?

Brad Borevitz brad at onetwothree.net
Tue Nov 13 16:22:36 UTC 2007

On 11/12/07 11:59 PM, "kjacobs" <kjacobs at cityu.edu.hk> wrote:

> about the male habit (gay and straight) to represent oneself on sex sites by
> means of a cock image.

lehman's essay is at:
<http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cinema_journal/v046/46.4lehman.html> (but you
will need access through academic affiliation)

and the site he discusses is at: <http://www.voyeurweb.com/>

he also mentions his book "Running Scared: Masculinity and the
Representation of the Male Body"; an abstract is at

its a good place to start, since it apparently discusses exactly that
strategy that i pointed out in the scenes by crandall: "the patriarchal
culture that keeps the male body‹and especially male genitals‹out of sight.
Lehman documents the pervasive anxiety underlying images of the male body,
arguing that attempts to keep male sexuality hidden in the pursuit of 'good
taste' and an avoidance of perversion maintains the 'male mystique' and
preserves the power of the phallus."

so we are really discussing two opposing strategies, the one hegemonic and
the other contestatory. the exposure of the (non-normative) penis on sites
like voyeurweb may in fact be a radical gesture. but if it is, it is exactly
because of the control of the line of sight by by hegemonic procedures of
display such as those depicted in jordan's piece and referred to in
lehman's. it seems to me that it is crucial to be able to recognize the
differences between them.

so i went to voyeurweb in search of revolution. but what i found was a
determined and normative depiction of heterosexuality. the most prominent
pictures where of young, conventionally pretty, buxom women. there were
other women to be found, for sure. but there was no dick. OK, so i didn't
pay, and i only spent about 15 minutes in my search; but still, if it takes
more than 15 minutes to find some dick, it can't really be that significant
a feature of the site.

i did find one man. he was in a series of images: him stripping -- and it
stopped at the point where the outline of his cock was barely visible
through his boxer shorts. is this sounding familiar?

compare <http://www.dudesnude.com/>. now this is a place where one can do
some serious research on cock (and ass). but i don't imagine that you will
find a revolution there either.

the problem is that even the pictures of "growers" (and even the
terminology) maintain and buttress a phallocentric worldview, a masculinity
that revolves around the penis and its various symbolic ruses. at the heart
of this is exactly the fear of seeming pathetic, that is, powerless (of
castration, in other words; look, i DO have a cock. this is still
emphatically the fetishized overinvestment in penile presence and potency).
so it is not a revolution at all, but only a transformation, a slight shift.
lehman admits as much in his essay.

so we get a salve for the ego's of those poor men who where suffering from
some kind of inferiority complex. now they can function in society just like
their well endowed compatriots. all of which misses the point that the
mechanism of the phallus is symbolic and does not rely on the actual penis
for its functioning anyway.

finally, i don't think that genet's writing works in the same way at all.
his embrace of the abject as adornment seems to create a very different kind
of sexual world. as i recall, the narrative center of genet's novels tend to
be a character who wants to get fucked. and here, as elsewhere, i'm with
marx on where to seek for signs of the revolution: look for it at the

where are the depictions of unabashed receptive pleasure? where are theory's
paeans to passivity? maybe Bersani is a place to start: reread "is the
rectum is a grave"? <http://www.jstor.org/view/01622870/sp060002/06x0111g/0>

Brad Borevitz

More information about the iDC mailing list