Friday, August 12, 2005

What gives?

By now, the Montrealers among you will have heard about Sefi Amir’s art exhibition Never Needed Nobody, which received a write-up in this week’s Mirror. In a nutshell, the artist recruited twelve of her friends to take pictures of themselves while masturbating, which she subsequently turned into photorealistic paintings.

Strangely, although Amir had no trouble at all finding female models for the project, she was only able to convince one man to participate. As justification, one told her, “You can take a picture of my dick while I'm masturbating, but not of my face—it's too personal.”

Reading this, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Ada several months ago. I was telling her about an idea I had been toying with to start an erotic group blog, to which contributors would receive fully anonymous invitations and which would be limited to invitees only. Ada, who is a card-carrying member of Montreal’s literary set, immediately warned me that men would never do it in a million years. And with that, the idea joined at least a hundred others on a slowly buckling shelf.

Although I heeded Ada’s counsel, I still want to know why this is. Amir suggests that it is because men have a “higher level of attachment” to privacy, but I’m not entirely satisfied with her explanation. My own suspicion is that it has something to do with men being targeted as the consumers of pornographic materials rather than the subjects—the old “men look, women are looked at” argument—but that’s about as far as I get with it.

I was going to conduct a readers' poll, but I think I'll leave it for another time.

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