Last night I attended the launch party for the second issue of Candy Rain Magazine, a glossy little treasure trove of cock shots geared towards “ladies who love the D.” (For those playing along at home, that stands for “dick.”) There were scantily clad people gettin’ it on all over the place. There were water guns. There was burlesque. There was booty rap. And yes, there were dicks, and lots of them. In a jarring reversal of spring break culture, guys could show their dicks to get in for free. Wooooo!
“Here at Candy Rain, we have a simple policy” one of the party’s organizers yelled into the mic at one point. “Show us your dick or get the fuck out!!!” Despite the fact that the blood was supposed to be rushing to my crotch at this point, this made me think. How would I feel if some guy yelled “show us your tits or get the fuck out”? Not very good, I reckon. In objectifying men like this, one might argue Candy Rain apes the worst aspects of the patriarchy. Shouldn’t feminism be working towards a world in which nobody gets objectified?
Not necessarily! I talked with my friend Ann* about this a little, and we decided we were into it. You see, despite the fact that they were showing their bodies off for our (adult) entertaiment that night, men still have all the power. So even if they were being objectified in an uncomfortable way for a few hours, it said nothing about the underlying system in place. It’s simply not the same. It’s like that medieval holiday where the masters served the servants; it was hilarious because it was so unusual, and everything went back to the way it had been shortly thereafter.
I would also argue that they were not, in fact, being objectified in an uncomfortable way. None of the guys who pose for Candy Rain get paid; it’s all strictly “pro boner.” They are not doing it for money, approval, or because society tells them to. (In fact, I’d venture to guess society tells them not to.) They are doing it because they want a bunch of girls to look at their dicks. In a world where women are supposed to get looked at and men are supposed to do the looking, I think it can be subversive to reverse the direction of the gaze. Contrary to popular belief, women are not solely attracted to men based on their income, accomplishments, or ability to care for children. We’re also into guys who look good naked! And, things being as they are, it’s a lot easier for a man to tell he’s doing it “because he really wants to” and not because he’s oppressed by the matriarchy. I’m almost kind of jealous of men for how wonderfully un-complicated that must feel. EIC Callie Watts (whose day job is at Bust, and who is balancing a beer can on her ass in the above photo) thinks “objectification” only truly occurs if being looked at makes the subject feel bad or worthless, and I like this new definition. If it truly gives someone pleasure to be looked at, why deny them that?
I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t like it when women participate in porn. I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that I don’t look down on this activity, nor do I think it’s necessarily an anti-feminist phenomenon. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily Good For Women either, though; if I had to choose its net value to feminism, I’d call it neutral. (Chaotic neutral?) But boy-porn…oh man. Besides just being funny and delightful all around, it just might have the potential to go beyond that Carnival-esque master-servant reversal and tell the world stuff it doesn’t want to hear about both women and men. And that’s why I’m supporting this magazine.
(*I’ve changed her name because I’m sure she’s not awake yet to tell me whether or not she’s comfy being included in this post.)
(Photo by Debbie Allen)