The Male Side of Insecurity

10765977-10765980-slargeI find it ironic that, in the same week the New York Times blamed the feminist movement for causing female unhappiness, CNN ran this article about male body image. Ironic because the body image issue underlies most of human interactions, I believe, and yet the media downplays how objectification of women affects us. But how men feel about their bodies? Yes, let’s explore that!

To me one of his most interesting points is that men worry about penis size. It’s a valid concern. But I would like to point out that women also worry about whether their breasts are large enough. Luckily for men, however, the penis is still not something our culture objectifies by putting it in movies, television, magazines, pretty much anywhere we can find.

If you think it is difficult to wonder how you measure up, think about how hard it is for women, who do know exactly how we measure up because we’ve been confronted with images of the female body for our entire lives. As long as the penis is still sanctified rather than objectified in the media, men are still shielded from some of the worst body image pain there is. Some would say that men can see how they measure up by watching porn. My point is not that the images don’t exist. My point is that for women, the images of breasts cannot be avoided. If you think you have a small penis and you watch porn to confirm, that’s your own mistake.

If you’re a woman and you think you have small breasts, this will be confirmed when you: look at a magazine, watch an R-rated movie, shop for clothing, drive down the street and see a Hooters restaurant, etc. Even when you watch the news, or professional sports. Notice how the camera always includes a bust shot of women TV reporters but a head shot of men.

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37 thoughts on “The Male Side of Insecurity

  1. The media is peddling insecurity to make us buy products….duh. Just look at the cover of any magazine or your homepage, it’s all nonsense designed to make you feel inferior so you will spend money on clothes, makeup, gym memberships ect. TUNE IT OUT.

  2. A friend of mine told me she once went home with a guy on a one night stand. When he unpacked his unit it was so small that she said “No, no … I am sorry but no …”, she put her clothes on and she left.

    I mean, that must be the worst thing ever for a guys confidence.

    And if you imagine this girl as a Megan Fox-esque heart breaker – she is not. She is a totally normal girl who has since been in a relationship with the same guy for 7 years. So if she did this, I am sure this happens more often.

    And there isn’t really anything they can do. Yeah, ok, penis enlargements. I don’t know that much about those but I don’t think that’s an easy operation and I don’t think that can do a whole lot. You can have your boobs fixed, made smaller, bigger, firmer. You can do a whole lot just with a good bra and even if you don’t – I don’t think it will be a “deal-breaker” for most guys.

    So, while we women definitely don’t have it easy, I can see why a guy would be obsessed with the size of his penis.

    • I agree.. and seriously have you EVER seen a dick in a movie?

      ive seen boobs in pg13 and rated-R movies.. also VAG in rated R..

      its only recently where some FEW very few movies just coming out show guys Dicks

      ie. sasha cohen’s latest movie

      • I’ve seen quite a few full frontal shots of guys in movies. It’s hardly a new thing, I remember seeing Richard Gere strutting his stuff in American Gigolo back in the 80s; that was released in 1980. I suspect you see more penises in movies than vaginas simply because there’s a nudity scale where a penis is naughtier than boobs and a vagina is naughtier than a penis. It’s easy to show in a penis in a non-sexual or comedic context since men tend to be nude in public more often, using urinals for example or frat boy skinny dipping.

  3. Some guys like small boobs but I’ve never heard a female say she loved it when a guy had a tiny dick. The penis thing is way more important then having big or small boobs.

    • You have a point.

      The size of my boobs has virtually nothing to do with whether or not my fiance has an orgasm in the long run (thankfully, as they’re not large), but the size and shape of his penis have an awful lot to do with whether or not I get satisfaction.

    • There are women out there who prefer a shorter penis. A lot of women find getting their cervix bumped uncomfortable or downright painful so having sex with an average or larger guy can be less than satisfying. For many women the most sensitive part of the vagina is near the opening and just having the head rubbing around near the entrance drives them wild. That’s a lot easier when a guy has a small penis and it means you can be up close while doing it rather than being several inches apart when you’re with a well hung guy. There’s also the ‘less perfect guys try harder’ theory. A guy with a perfect body, a large penis, and a sweet car often figures he can get any woman he wants and doesn’t really try. A short balding guy with a small penis and a pot belly is going to try a lot harder to overcome his perceived inadequacies and he will often turn out to be the better partner, both in life and in the sack.

    • I don’t think I would enjoy being with someone who had a TINY penis, but…I’ve had two partners, the first one quite large, and it was extremely painful to have sex with him. This one, has a normal-sized, maybe closer to fun-sized penis, and I enjoy it greatly.

  4. I think male insecurity about penis size is caused by the fact that you never see a penis in mainstream movies or television. Women know better than to compare their breasts to the breasts of porn stars. We know those breasts are fake because we have plenty of examples of real breasts to look at. But many men have only seen other penises in porn movies — except, maybe, for brief glimpses at the gym. I’ve found that many men with perfectly average, serviceable members believe themselves to be small, or are worried that they might be, simply because of this.

    A few months ago there was a post here about a BBC documentary on vaginoplasty and how it’s becoming more common among young women. I think that’s a better comparison to male penis insecurity than breasts.

  5. I didn’t enjoy this article… It seemed to rubbish men’s insecurities because women have it ‘so much worse’. Yes, breasts are everywhere but it’s the fact that penises aren’t that causes the insecurity in men. Who are we to say that a man should just suck it up and stop whining? Men are only human too and just because their sex hasn’t been objectified as ours has, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve and need to have their insecurities addressed and dispelled. For women to be equal, and for feminism to succeed, men and women need to support one another and attitudes like those expressed in this article only bring a backlash against feminism from men.

    • I think RaeRae is approaching enlightenment.

      Anyway, a better analogue for the article to use would have been men’s muscle mass or something, since that’s subject both to biology and implants(Kenny Chesney).

      Penis size is completely arbitrary and unchangeable. Women can even have their vaginas worked out, whereas penis enlargement is basically a myth. There are some things that can be done to make it look bigger, or to temporarily(and very dangerously) increase its size, but in order to preserve functionality, no operation can be done on the penis itself. Not to mention, where would you get the extra penis from? It’s made of very specialized tissues. You’d have to graft in bits from some other penis or something…which just grossed me out, because who wants to deal with Frankendick? Nobody, that’s who.

      I think the sheer fact of being strictly dealt the hand of fate has a lot to do with male penis insecurities.

  6. I have to agree with this article somewhat. I think the author was trying to express that most women feel the same way about their breasts as most men feel about their penis size; that it does not equal up to what it should be. Lucky for men, their penis size is not on display. Unfortuantly for women, our breast size is on display all the time. I think the point of Dharma’s article was basically telling men to get over it- at least their insecurity isn’t constantly on display for the world to judge. Most men are quick to encourage breast augmentation for women with small breasts, I wonder would they be quick to get a penis augmentation if available?

    • “Most men?” Really? And L O L “get over it,” that is awesome, and exactly what people love about people who think they’re feminists.

      • I agree. Most guys I know are perfectly happy to look at falsely inflated knockers on exotic dancers and such but when it comes down to their wives and girlfriends they’d rather have a natural pair to play with. Also it can be hard to breast feed with implants (not always impossible but supplementation is often necessary) which I’m sure makes some men more likely to look for a future spouse with natural breasts.

        • but they will ogle the “exotic dangers and such” and then wonder why their wife/girlfriend is insecure about her tits. Maybe if her man wasn’t so infatuated with looking at fake tits then his woman would feel like her natural tits were enough for him.

        • My husband is hardly infatuated with fake tits, he just looks at them on the rare occasions that he goes to a strip club (basically just bachelor parties) or when he sees some in a magazine or on TV. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest because I know he wouldn’t actually want a woman like that and I know he loves my boobs.

  7. Also, I don’t know if you’ve uh watched TV ever in the past few years but if I have to sit through another “male enhancement” ad I’m going to shoot somebody

    • 1- Penis enhancement is not the same as a penis augmentation. I’m talking a surgical procedure to change the size & shape of a penis. Not available, so you haven’t seen a commercial. Also, they make different channels for a reason. Change the channel, don’t shoot anyone.

      2- I never said I was a feminist.

  8. I think it’s funny how naturally nurturing women are. This is a feminist site (ostensibly) and yet everyone steps up to pity poor men over their penis insecurities. :) I feel bad for a guy that’s genuinely tiny and insecure about it, sure. However, I don’t think it’s the same thing. Women are objectified FAR more than men and it’s mostly men that do the objectifying. Hooters, strip clubs, magazines (regular and Playboy-esque), movies, cheerleaders, Sports Illustrated mags and calendars… the list goes on and on. Before you point out that their may be the odd strip club or magazine etc. designed “for the ladies” – just give me a break. And Rhonda, if you’re fine with your husband going to strip clubs or whatever, that’s fine but I don’t see how you think he separates what he sees shaking in his face or gyrating in his lap from you. The very fact that the women men “ogle” are typically enhanced either surgically or through airbrushing and extensive makeup etc. is a whole other ball of wax.

    • My husband is smart enough to know when he’s on to a good thing. He enjoys looking at fake boobs on occasion but he also enjoys looking at mine and he certainly enjoys playing with them far more. Two similar things but different. It’s like going out to eat occasionally; nice and fun but it can’t compare to a good home cooked meal.

      Don’t you check out different kinds of guys? There are some mighty good looking guys out there but chances are I wouldn’t want to be married to most of them. A guy who spends hours in the gym and spends time getting stuff waxed and tinted and whatever might look good but I’d far rather be married to a regular guy who doesn’t spend all that time and money on his appearance.

      Last but not least, it’s not like it’s a weekly habit. It’s once a year, probably even less. Most of his male friends are either married or likely to never get married so it’s quite possible that he’ll never go to another one now. If a guy is going out and doing that on a regular basis then there’s probably a problem and chances are he’s going to with up with messed up ideas of what women should look like. Once in a blue moon it’s fine to go to one with the guys for a laugh.

    • Oh boy, am I ever sick of feminists complaining about objectification of women.

      I’ve had extensive discussions about this with my fiance, and we’ve come to the same conclusion.

      Women are objectified because they want to be. Every time a woman puts on makeup or a cleavage-baring shirt, she’s objectifying herself to a certain degree. She’s making herself ornamental.

      Sadly enough, many women are empty-headed enough that they either believe that that’s all they have to offer, or that it really is all that they have to go on.

      I’m as guilty as the next girl of objectifying myself. I wear a little makeup every day. I like showing a bit of cleavage.

      I’m also quite overweight. Definitely not the “ideal woman” as dictated in the media today. And you know what? My fiance is FINE with that for two reasons:

      1) His ideal woman, as is the case with many other men, is different from the one in the beer ads and strip clubs. Think of those women as sculptures, or paintings. They’re aesthetically pleasing, but not necessarily something that you want. We’re not supposed to hold ourselves to these ideals. We’re not being compared constantly (at least by decent guys…). The ancient Greeks made tons of statues of “ideal” men. The male form was the aesthetic ideal, right? This is just our modern spin on that.

      2) I’ve got much more going for me behind my face than I do on it. I’m smart. I’m witty. I have a killer sense of humour. I’m a huge nerd. I can beat him at video games.

      If you are trying to attain airbrushed perfection and fall short, with nothing else to fall back on, you are going to be criticized. We’ve all known that kinda pretty, vapid girl with no personality and no sense of humour. She’s boring to be around.

      I’ve never been short of boyfriends because I’m fat, brunette and definitely not the doe-eyed type. In fact, I’ve rarely been single since starting university. I was engaged at the age of 20.

      Women, stop b*tching that you’re objects. If you have half a brain and can converse with men like equals, rather than being below you or being your enemy, you’re not an object.

      Stop acting like men are against us. Men love women (for the most part). Men are happy with boobs, no matter what size, when they get to play with them. Men don’t expect you to be that perfect airbrushed model, because often those types are nice to look at, but there’s no room for other things.

      You know, I thought feminism was all about equality, not putting other women down. “We can’t stand up for ourselves! It’s the mens’ fault that we’re insecure!” I’m not insecure, because I choose not to be. You can choose too!

      • “If you have half a brain and can converse with men like equals, rather than being below you or being your enemy, you’re not an object.”

        Um that’s not true. If you are blessed with looks and smarts, people will still treat you like an object at times. I am not complaining about this; I am just pointing it out. It’s not like everyone who is beautiful = dumb/boring, and everyone who is ugly = smart/hilarious.

        I know I have a lot more going for me than just my looks. And I know they will eventually go away. But right now, they help make up who I am, and I’m not going to feel bad about that.

        And I totally don’t think all guys/the world/whatever are all out to get us. That’s just crazy talk.

        And if you’re not insecure, I am confused why you called yourself fat like three times. That’s not very nice to yourself.

  9. This is so completely random, but i was wondering: does losing your virginity really, reeeeally hurt? and if it does, what can a girl do before having sex for the first time to make it less painful?

    • And that award for most random question goes to…

      This isn’t really the forum for these sort of questions but I’ll answer anyway. It really depends on the woman. Some women say it’s crazy painful. Some women don’t get any pain at all. It somewhat depends on what you’ve done before hand. If you’ve done foreplay kinda stuff, had fingers up there, then having a penis inserted isn’t going to be that much different. Just relax, lots of foreplay, lubricated condom helps too.

      I will also add that if you’re this worried about the pain then perhaps you’re not ready to take that step. When you’re really in love with a person and sure that you want to get that intimate with them then the pain isn’t even really a consideration. Personally I waited until I was in love and sure I was going to marry my boyfriend (now my husband of 8 years) and the first time was great. No pain, no stress

      • Thanks. i was just nervous because my hymen isn’t fully broken and i don’t want my first sexual experience to be a painful and unenjoyable one.

        • well, hopefully your man has a very tiny penis, and if so voila, problem solved!

          As to this entire subject (all of the comments) I will just say, as a man, I am certain I have a normal sized penis. That being said, i will take issue with something that has been said many times throughout these comments. What media pushes big boobs on you. Beer commercials? Teen flicks? Porn? Because the media I hear women complain about most, the media that most destroys a womens body identity, the media that fills 95% of the magazines women tend to read, doesn’t push big boobs at all. If anything, it pushes the idea of almost no boobs. Fashion models don’t have boobs, or at least not big one’s. It is nearly impossible to have large boobs, be 5-9 and weigh 105 pounds.

          So, what gives? Don’t you guys see that the media that worries you on boobs are all about excess? Beer commercials… really. Beer commercials threaten you girls? Beer commercials are used to hook prepubescent boys on the idea that drinking beer is cool and if you drink bud, you might just get a pair of blonde twins with big boobs to be your girlfriends. The same can be said for the teen flicks. And when it comes to porn, or strip clubs for that matter, there are just as many women in both with natural, smaller/normal (whatever that is … is B normal? How bout C. Or is it really something to do with body shape X cup size / shoulder width… see where i am going with this?) that are doing well. While there is/are plenty of boob sizes in porn, there is only one penis size. And that size is a nine inch coke can.

          Now not being the owner of a 9 inch coke can, I can say for certainty, i was a bit worried my first few sexual encounters. Now days, i don’t stress about it at all. But back to boobs. Let me let you girls in on a secret. Guys like breasts. All breasts. Bigs breasts, small breasts, mellons and lemons. Do some men like big breasts more? Sure, but just as many prefer small ones. Unlike penis size, the size of your boobs doesn’t matter. Do you know what is important? That they have nipples we can touch and put our mouths on. Thats it. Nothing else matters. The same can’t be said about penis size though. There is such a thing as too small or too big (though, most guys believe the latter to be a myth, i have heard too many female accounts from girls i wasn’t sleeping with that too big is a problem).

  10. Men get mixed messages about penis size but it seems to be fashionable at the moment to say bigger is better! No wonder so many men get insecure over the issue.
    I don’t ever recall the majority of men saying bigger breasts are better. You only have to look at the most popular models and beauty queens to know bigger is not necessarily better. Men want good looking boobs whatever their size. No good having big boobs if they can’t hold themselves up!

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