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HomeEntertainment‘Minx’ Reveals That All Nudity Is Not Created Equal

‘Minx’ Reveals That All Nudity Is Not Created Equal

Tanya Horeck, a professor who studies gender and sexuality in contemporary media, briskly listed recent series that have shown full-frontal male nudity: “Sens8,” “Euphoria,” “Scenes From a Marriage,” “Sex/Life,” “Succession,” “Pam & Tommy,” “The White Lotus.” (She could have added “The Leftovers,” “Looking,” “Outlander,” “Shameless,” “Togetherness,” “Easy” and “The Affair,” too.)

How to explain the onslaught? In interviews, academics and intimacy coordinators listed reasons including the ubiquity of pornography; the uptick in queer, female and nonbinary showrunners; the impact of the #MeToo movement; the presence of intimacy coordinators; and the need for attention grabs in a saturated media landscape.

While several people I spoke with unthinkingly used the term “tit-for-tat” in describing this proliferation, all nudity is not created equal. While breasts are a common locus of desire, a flaccid penis often has a more comic or pathetic aspect. (“They’re kind of funny,” Rapoport said.) And current standards permit that only flaccid penises can be shown in any sexual situation. Which means that while naked women have largely been used for decoration or titillation, naked men generally deepen character and drive story. Or at least help to land a punchline.

Asking an actress to go topless may seem like a milder demand than asking an actor to go bottomless. But while nearly all of those breasts are real — if artificially enhanced, in some cases — those penises are not. Most of the ones that appear in mainstream TV or film are silicon prosthetics, and they are often oddly large.

“It’s very rare to just see a normal penis,” Horeck said.

Enter “Minx.”

Part of the work of the pilot is to introduce Joyce to the world of Doug’s Bottom Dollar Publications and the content it produces. Some of this is achieved when Joyce walks into the office for the first time to see a woman wearing nothing but chaps. (And a merkin.) But a lot of that story is told via the montage.

“It’s necessary,” Rapoport said. “It helps you get into her head and almost takes you on a penis journey with her.” The montage allows Joyce to understand the variety and even the appeal of male genitals. Could that journey have been made without nudity?

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