Testicles have been regarded as the historical seat of masculinity.

1- “Testicles have been regarded as the historical seat of masculinity. . . these paired organs are responsible for producing sperm and testosterone. . .” (5) even though America has an obsession with the male penis in public discourse, despite the lack of research on male masculinity, testicular cancer.

‘“Grow a Pair” Critically Analyzing Masculinity and the Testicles’ by Frank G. Karioris and Jonathan A. Allan discusses society’s lack of interest with male’s sexual organs besides the penis—this is contradictory because the male’s balls/ testacies have ‘significant erotic potential.’ Arguably, this is contradictory because this is where a majority of men’s masculinity and sperm is held. However, a major reason why men do not focus on centering the testicles in their masculinity may be because of how vulnerable and sensitive they are; which are traits we oftentimes characterize with femininity and weakness. Instead, men focus their masculinity on their penis which is actually not as sexually appealing to women as they believe them to be. The other article we read focuses on this more. Additionally, testicular cancer is rarely discussed in popular discourse although prevalent among 18-35 year olds; contrasting with “Save the boobies” which is a popular campaign for breast cancer and widely advertised and discussed in public discourse. Why else do you think this is? What are your thoughts on masculinity and the scarcity of research conducted on testicles, anuses, and testicular cancer? What stood out most to you? How else are the phrases “grow a pair” and “grow some balls” used to empower individuals and what did you make of the use of political power and penises with Sarah Palin and her endorsement of the GOP candidate?

2- The article, Does Size Matter by Susan Bordo discusses normative assumptions about penis size and the construction of such ideas. She says toward the end of the article, “we are creatures of biology and imagination” meaning that bodies and ideas about bodies do not develop in a vacuum of pure genetics, or “nature” but are also shaped by culture or “nuture”.
I especially appreciated the interplay between biologically and socially constructed ideas about bodies (both penis size and female beauty standards) because it marries two worlds to give a more comprehensive picture of one’s actual lived experience. That being said, it’s difficult to parse out what behaviors are driven by genetics and biology (the physical) and what is driven by cultural standards (the social).
If one desires a large penis, for instance, is it because a large penis symbolizes virility and therefore signals to a potential mate a higher rate of offspring? Or is penis size wrapped up in the cultural messages one gets about pleasure and desire and sexual satisfaction? The same question can be asked about feminine bodies. Are they desirable because a certain waist-to-hip ratio, for instance, signals fertility, or are they desirable because we’re working off of a cultural standard of beauty…which is very culture specific. Not every culture or era has preferred the thin, blonde, white woman.
How do you think ideas about pleasure and desirability develop? What are some examples (from the text or otherwise) where you see culture masquerade as biology or vice versa?



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