Showing the Penis, Hiding the Phallus, a Cinematic Rupture with the Mythic Representation of Male Nudity

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
Author:
Hanieh Bakhtiari Independent Researcher hanieh.bakhtiari1990@gmail.com

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Abstract

While visual eroticism is an accepted theme in cinema, the penis is still the last frontier of representation onscreen, either covered from the gaze of viewers or coated in phallic status in its rare representations. This article explores a rupture with the mythic penile representations in cinema within the recurrent scenes of full-frontal male nudity in Steve McQueen's Shame (2011). Through generating a space between the corporeal penis and the abstract phallus, Shame foregrounds the untold vulnerability and volatility inherent in the supposed rigid heterosexual position of male sexuality. The research highlights such a shift in the phallic visuals of male nudity and its implications for a possible alteration in the significance and function of the penis.

Contributor Notes

Hanieh Bakhtiari is an independent researcher from Iran. She is a graduate in English Literature from the University of Tehran. As a self-proclaimed feminist from a Middle Eastern culture, she is interested in critical theories on gender relations, women's studies, and masculinities. In Fall 2020, she published “On Top of Feminist Agenda, Bringing Masculinities to Light” in Journal of Zananemrooz, the only Iranian journal specializing in feminism. Currently, she is conducting research under the American Men's Studies Association's 2021–2022 mentorship program, a program that helps early career scholars to do independent research. Email: hanieh.bakhtiari1990@gmail.com. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9716-1510.

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