01 September 2020 14:38
Channel 4 is receiving praise for airing a documentary that aims to tackle the taboos around male genitalia. Me & My Penis aired on Monday 31 August, and showed artist Ajamu X as he spoke with a number of men about their penises, and what it means to be a man in 2020. The programme is believed to be the first time an erect penis has been shown on terrestial TV in the UK. While the documentary was controversial due to its explicit nature, a number of viewers shared positive opinions about it on social media. "If you're missing Me And My Penis on Channel 4, it's a real shame," one audience member tweeted.
"It's powerful, it's moving and it's about 20 years too late. Men's bodies are NEVER spoken about/celebrated in this way. "Brilliant documentary on @Channel4 called 'me and my penis'," another wrote. Dr Gloria Bame, a sex therapist and human sexuality researcher, tweeted: "If you're in the UK, tune into Me and My Penis on Channel 4 tonight to witness this turning point in sex history, tv history, and sexual health history in this uncensored documentary art project on male genitals." "Thank you @Channel4 for releasing such a powerful show like Me And My Penis," another viewer tweeted. Other topics like (toxic) masculinity, fatherhood, abuse are discussed super openly and I'm glad they took that risk." Susanne Curran, Executive Producer, said of the programme: "It's been exhilarating working with Ajamu and a brilliant cast of courageous and honest men, prepared to share their most formative and intimate experiences – so often not heard.
It's rare to see men being so open. Another wrote: "If you're missing Me and My Penis on Channel 4, it's a real shame. It's powerful, it's moving and it's about 20 years too late. "Men's bodies are NEVER spoken about/celebrated in this way. Definitely a very important documentary that all men should watch." But not everyone was impressed with one person writing: "Me and My Penis this show is not art.
The series was headed by artist Ajamu, who took photos of all the men involved. Credit: Channel 4 Speaking to The Guardian, he said: "It's rare in the mainstream to hear men talk about their bodies and what it means to be male. "Other cultures, in Asia and parts of Africa, have celebrated the penis historically, but there's something about this country that is still kind of backwards." In an interview with Metro, Ajamu said he wanted the images from the documentary to 'normalise the penis; especially the erection'. Me and My Penis provided a British television first on Monday night but viewers were divided on the programme with some going on to say it was a 'step too far'. The Channel 4 documentary had a number of interviews with different men who spoke about the personal issues they have. Men of different sexualities opened up about their relationship with their 'manhood' and also discussed taboo subjects on body image, sex and masturbation. Ahead of the show's airing artist and photographer Ajamu had told Metro: "Lots of countries actually celebrate the penis in terms of its fertility, its aliveness and energy. "I want the images in the film to normalise the penis; especially the erection. By keeping it taboo we give it too much power and don't allow men to be vulnerable." Twitter was alive with the conversation as viewers shared their thoughts, which ranged from thought provoking insights to a plethora of aubergine emojis and gifs. One tweeted: "Channel 4 [has] produced a serious open conversation to remove many stigmas, stereotypes and taboos and to tackle body dysmorphia many men face with their penises and to tackle toxic masculinity in society." (Image: Channel 4) Another agreed, tweeting: "First thought was to be taken aback but I don't think I've ever seen men talking about disliking their bodies in the same way you see women." A third added:"'Good to raise awareness of issues some men are facing. On the other hand, the thought of an erect penis on television was not going down well with viewers, who felt Channel 4 had crossed a line they didn't need to be even close to. Another fumed: #meandmypenis - right the television gets worse. Sexual libertinism is on the rise, including on British TV where Channel 4 was happy to show men's erections in all their glory. But at the same time, liberal freedoms protecting speech and thought are quickly disappearing. Channel 4 showed an erect penis on air last night, which was the first time a male member ever stood at attention on British television. The erections in question – there were eight in total – rose to the occasion on the aptly titled documentary, Me and My Penis, which explored issues of masculinity through the radical portraits of fine-art photographer and artist, Ajamu. As someone raised in the schizophrenically Victorian culture of America, where an exposed breast or bare-bottom on network television is cause for alarm but pornography is a booming multi-billion-dollar business, I always assumed that the erectile Rubicon had long ago been crossed in that hedonistic paradise that is Great Britain. The UK certainly does have a long history of showing limp dicks on television, like Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and Piers Morgan, and Channel 4 often shows flaccid penises too, especially on its nudity-packed dating game show Naked Attraction. But My Penis and Me made history by rising up and breaking the boner barrier. Channel 4 didn't so much circumnavigate the erectile Maginot Line as stroll across an imaginary line, because it seems the long-held taboo against showing a raging phallus on television in the UK was more of a gentleman's agreement rather than a rock-hard rule. Also on rt.com Fear of upsetting black celebs & censorship of BoJo's puppet penis show Spitting Image will struggle to regain comedy relevance There was a long-standing myth of an unofficial 'Mull of Kintyre' guideline, which supposedly stated that any penis on TV could not be shown in a more erect state than the outline of the Scottish peninsula, which is such a gloriously British thing it makes my teeth turn crooked. I mean, who exactly is supposed to measure the angle of the penis in question? Thankfully it turns out, according to Ofcom – the UK's communications regulator – there actually is no ban on boners as long as they are "justified by the context," which is a rule I think we should all try and live by. As ridiculous as this all seems, what interests me most about the breaking of the British TV boner boundary is that just a week ago a story broke about how ITV nixed Spitting Image from showing the puppet penises of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. So apparently the British public are resilient enough to see a human erection on their TV sets but incapable of withstanding glimpsing a puppet penis? What is most striking to me about this odd disparity is that it highlights both the deconstruction of sexual taboos, be they regarding erections on television, or gay marriage or transgenderism, and the construction of new taboos meant to limit and control speech and thought. Also on rt.com Cardi B's WAP is no sexual trailblazer, it's just another money-making hip-hop track with a faux political agenda created by men Agree or disagree, Spitting Image was making a political statement with its puppet penises, whereas on My Penis and Me the erections are the statement. You can be, do, show and watch what you like in terms of sex nowadays without any consequence, but try saying exactly what you think if it contrasts with the woke establishment's beliefs and you'll be met with a brutal backlash. So now there are erections on Channel 4 and "WAP" (Wet Ass Pussy) on top of the music charts, but you can't say 'All Lives Matter' or 'only women menstruate' or 'sex is real' without great risk of being cancelled and losing your livelihood. This strange brew of hypersexual libertinism mixed with the puritanical policing of speech and thought has an extremely unnerving late-period Weimar Republic feel to it. Also on rt.com As a trans woman, parent and teacher, I say JK Rowling is absolutely right; it's child abuse to push kids towards changing sex For example, for the puritanical prudes out there alarmed by the boner brigade on Channel 4, if you don't want to see erections, you are free to change the channel. Like the erections on Channel 4, freedom is hard and takes effort to maintain but is worth it because it lets you watch what you want, marry whom you want and think and say what you want. Sadly, freedom now grows flaccid because our culture is more interested in allowing raging boners on television than raging debate in the public square. Share this story!