Draw Me Like One of Your French Boys

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Photomontage courtesy of the author.

 

What hasn’t been already said about the inequality of the regulation of the female form by the feminists of Twitter? Women are not allowed to bare their chests through the filters of Instagram, and many see this censorship as a restriction — part of a plot placed upon women by the patriarchy to restrict their sexuality. I agree. The only logical response is to reciprocate — i.e.: clothe the men.

Many insist that we should “free the nipple”. I object. Freeing the nipple does not truly equate to gender equality. Freeing only goes in so far as to release the nipple from the limits of user agreement policies; true equality is in the clothing of the men — extending those policies to everyone. Lifting a ban is merely a cosmetic procedure; failing to acknowledge the centuries of nipple-oppression which created the stigmas placed onto women and their bodies. True liberation is in an equivalent matriarchy, achieved by applying those same stigmas to men.

Clothe-the-men is one of the many movements necessary in a postfeminist society to create a matriarchy just as imposing as the patriarchy. As a true equalist, I acknowledge the trails and tribulations of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant men in our modern society and seek to remedy this — I propose a house-husband movement, to liberate the men from the public sphere.

Shows like The Real Housewives have given men an unequal playing field in the sector of the stay-at-home spouse. For true gender equality, we need an all-male ensembles of all the female-centric reality shows to parallel all the current television programming. Look at The Bachelor and The Bachelorette: they are the pioneers of equal objectification in reality television representation.

True change starts with how we chose to portray the world to the impressionable youths, and The Real Househusbands franchise, and media in general, must be held accountable for their role in shaping the children of today.  It is our social responsibility to make the profession of homemaker more inclusive by including representation of house-husbandry in media.

Along these lines, I propose the re-emergence of the male nude. Males are vastly underrepresented in the world of erotic nude painting, to which I say: draw me like one of your French boys. The underrepresentation of naked men in the world of fine art has not always been, with Greek sculpture of fit male youths, or kouros, as the convention. Women were usually depicted clothed until the Renaissance, when painting naked women named Aphrodite or Venus suddenly became extremely popular. I fight for the return of the male nude under the female gaze. Why should women have a monopoly of reclining naked? Men are just as anatomically capable as women to be objects of desire. A propose a new renaissance of male representation, complete with metaphorical white flowers of virginity and bathtubs. Along these lines, I propose the creation of new symbols to represent male virginity.

Us, women, seem to have an unfair monopoly on this subcategory of artistic allusions. We have pearls, lambs, lilies — basically a patent on the color white. I propose that we give male virgins their fair share, and appoint symbols of their purity in the form of white objects. Some white objects that have yet to be canonized include toilet paper, white vans, garlic, and parsnips. Beyond simple objects, we also need a role model for young boys to look up to, just as girls have looked up to the Virgin Mary. I nominate Saint Joseph, father of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must resurrect “pietos”, male pietas of Joseph grieving the dead Christ (instead of Mary) in manly mourning to show young boys that if their fiancée is mysteriously impregnated by the Holy Ghost, they should accept the paternity and not call Maury. These are my nominations for prospective icons of male chastity and spousal devotion.

Speaking of virginity, male virgins are also vastly underrepresented. The standard convention is for female virgins to be sacrificed, thrown into volcanos to satisfy the gods for the greater good of civilization. Women have masterpieces dedicated to idealizing their innocence — Nathaniel Hawthorne’s the Scarlet Letter, Sophia Coppola’s the Virgin Suicides, God’s Bible. What to men have? The 40-Year-Old Virgin? This sends a dangerous image to young men that their celibacy is valued less, to which I, as a gender equalist, object. True gender equality means equally critical attitudes and expectations towards male and female dress and behavior. We are all born white lilies of virtue, and the deflowering of men should be grieved at equal lengths. We must not let our boys grow to be petal-less stumps of stem.

We must begin with unspoken dress code that we impose. The Adam’s apple is the male breast, and such symbols are equally distracting and have no place in a classroom. A bare chest shows the absence of morality, just as the Adam’s apple should. We must protect our integrity and weaponize the turtleneck against the evils of temptation of the V-neck.

Another inequality often overlooked in conversation of the one-sided “pink tax” is the lack of male creative outlets in dress. Men should not be branded as metrosexual if they simply take a shower and wear nice clothes. Metrosexual should be the new heterosexual. Nay, the expected norm. Why must women have all the fun with inexplicably detailed dress codes outlining their work-appropriate clothes to hair to makeup while men only get the directive to take a shower once in a while? As a progressive, I believe that we need higher taxes, including non-government imposed ones, to ensure invaluable public goods like the protection of our eyes against fashion crimes such as leather mandals with Velcro straps.

In order to close the gender gap, we must liberate men from their swim trunks and dinner jackets. We must enforce a strict policy of mandatory rash guards on beaches. We must bring to light the unheard stories of the trophy husbands. We must protect the male virginity with as much rigor and deprecation as we use to protect its female counterpart.

Walls of the Louvre should be rooms filled with images of men sitting naked, propped on 230 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Televisions and billboards across the world should blur the pectorals of men to maintain their decency when selling Calvin Klein underwear. It is our responsibility to protect male maidenhood to the rightful degree. We must not simply “free” women of chauvinist conventions that govern the world. True liberation is found in equal travail, and we must be the ones who execute it, if not for all God’s children, for our voyeuristic viewing pleasure.

 

Abby Li

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