Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I like to look at men… the way they look at women.
July 1, 2013 4:01 PM   Subscribe

[All links probably NSFW] Ingrid Berthon-Moine is a London-based photographer whose latest series Marbles focuses specifically on the testicles of Classical Greek statuary. Hyperallergic asks her why.
posted by shakespeherian (95 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to be super pedantic and say that if men looked at women like this they would have an ovary fetish but lbr I'm just gonna giggle at nutsacks.
posted by elizardbits at 4:10 PM on July 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


the female body has been overlooked for centuries

That's a line that makes you think hard about the meaning(s) of "overlooked."

I'm just gonna giggle at nutsacks

There's something about the close cropping here that makes them almost abstract.
posted by yoink at 4:12 PM on July 1, 2013


I highly recommend her other stuff as well, FYI.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:13 PM on July 1, 2013


Was it Sienna that specialized in that delicate marble work that simulates drapery? I'd like to see that spplied to testicular staturary please
posted by The Whelk at 4:15 PM on July 1, 2013


There's something about the close cropping here that makes them almost abstract.

Up close they always look like landscapes.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:17 PM on July 1, 2013 [21 favorites]


The question about "the way men look at women" vs "the way women look at men" is an interesting one. I remember reading a while back about an eye-tracking study of male and female subjects looking at pornographic images which found that men spent far more time looking at faces than women did, while both spent about the same amounts of time on genitals. Ah, here it is (pdf). Not sure if the research has been supported by more work of the kind or not, but it was an interesting counter-stereotypical finding.
posted by yoink at 4:18 PM on July 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


I want the Femme Voilée of balls, i.e. balls so awesomely sculptured that you would want a painting of them playing poker at a downtown diner late at night.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:23 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am also reminded of the eye-tracking study that found that overall men spend a lot of time looking at the crotches of everything - men, women, animals - while women fixated mostly on the face.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:25 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why are they all so small?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:27 PM on July 1, 2013


For some male viewers, exposing the most sensitive part of the male anatomy (although in rock solid marble) to the gaze, trigger a sense of vulnerability which until now was mainly reserved to the female body, an uncomfortable role reversal.

Neither vulnerable, uncomfortable, a role, or a reversal.
posted by michaelh at 4:28 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The ancient Greeks preferred smaller peens.

I suppose the most decorous way of explaining why would be to say that smaller ones are more versatile.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:30 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someone please get all artsy on me and explain this one.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM on July 1, 2013


They would appear to be internal temperatures.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:33 PM on July 1, 2013


explain this one

Body temperatures in Celsius units recorded in different body orifices (although doing a urethral insertion to measure body temperature is kinda different).
posted by localroger at 4:33 PM on July 1, 2013


Thanks! I was thinking angles and not getting it at all.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:35 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am also reminded of the eye-tracking study that found that overall men spend a lot of time looking at the crotches of everything - men, women, animals - while women fixated mostly on the face.

That's interesting, too; though perhaps not as rigorous a study as the one I link to. But it's also pretty counter-stereotypical: the implication would be that to look at these sculptures in this way is not so much "to look at men in the way men look at women" as "to look at men in the way men look at men...and women...and ocelots...and robots...." Neilsen's book Eyetracking Web Useability looks kinda interesting, actually; you can read a fair bit of it on Google Books, including some of the discussion about men and crotches.
posted by yoink at 4:35 PM on July 1, 2013


both spent about the same amounts of time on genitals

I believe it.

My ex spent hours talking about guys "packages" with anyone who would listen. She saw Harrison Ford in some kind of biking shorts and she was talking about the shape of that guy's nutsack for like 5 years. I heard about it like once a month and always had to say "Yeah, I remember when you caught that dude smuggling, cool story".

She also became transfixed by these magazines her brother had that featured lovingly photographed erect penises. I think the magazines were really geared towards men because they were photographed the same way people photograph cars. Perfectly lit and sculptural.

She can't be the only women that obsesses over nutsacks.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:37 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


My beloved will wax on about the objectification of women in media until eternity. And yes, I do agree that there is a huge imbalance there. But give her a set of taut male buttocks or a swinging peen in a movie and she'll hit the pause button with the reflexes of a professional athlete.
posted by Ber at 4:43 PM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


OK, on seeing the paragraph, I got that "Marbles" was a pun for testicles. And then I clicked on it and was shocked!

Are these guys ill? They're all grey! Aw, that's so sa... wait a second. "Marbles".

I get all of it now, thanks.

Heh.
posted by droplet at 4:46 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is "peen" a thing we say now? Please tell me not.
posted by howfar at 4:53 PM on July 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Neither vulnerable, uncomfortable, a role, or a reversal.

Nor an empire. Discuss.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:55 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yea, get with it. Marklar is out, Peen is in.
posted by smidgen at 5:00 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've only ever heard "peen" in the context of "e-peen."
posted by Green Winnebago at 5:05 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Er, I'm male...

I don't think this is analogous to the ways I typically look at women when I regard them sexually...Which I take it is the point... Since it's not at alll like I look at them when I meet them in normal interactions...

But, then, I'm rather thick-headed about art, so I'm likely to be missing something important.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:06 PM on July 1, 2013


Peen is in, then out, then in, then a slow circular motion.
posted by The Whelk at 5:06 PM on July 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


Like generations of schoolboys, she observes that more often than not, the left one hangs low. This is true in paintings, as well. It is confirmed here, in a textbook that claims the left one hangs low in the 85 percent of men who are right-handed, and the right one tends to hang low in lefties. (By the way, without citation and incorrectly, Wikipedia has it backward, probably due to a misreading of the prior link. That Wikipedia error is being propagated in lots of places.)

But don't take my word for it. Actual scholars have done the research, both with respect to Greek sculpture (I.C.McManus, "Right left and the scrotum in Greek sculpture" [note: from the site "The Naked Scientist") and contemporary males (Chang, K. S. F., Hsu, F. K., Chan, S. T., & Chan, Y. B. (1960). Scrotal asymmetry
and handedness. Journal of Anatomy, 94, 543-548, cited by McManus, op cit.
posted by beagle at 5:10 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


because they were photographed the same way people photograph cars. Perfectly lit and sculptural.

With a light flare: "Peen!"
posted by Kabanos at 5:16 PM on July 1, 2013


You know those lions that sit out front of the Art Institute of Chicago? They're boys! (I checked; you never know, those could be fake manes.)
posted by heyho at 5:19 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Possible TMI]

I've been complimented by women on many body parts of mine, including the 'peen,' but never on the boys. Although, like most netizens I did the amatuer nude pics thing, and several gay guys said 'nice ballbag,' and the like.

FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 5:30 PM on July 1, 2013


The Vija Celmins of scrotal art
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:30 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is "peen" a thing we say now? Please tell me not.

'Peen' has always been a thing. It's the back bit of a hammer.
posted by pompomtom at 5:37 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's the back bit of a hammer.

In Canada, we call that a "Fillion".
posted by maudlin at 5:40 PM on July 1, 2013 [21 favorites]


In the words of Barry Zuckerkorn, Esquire
posted by Pistache at 5:46 PM on July 1, 2013


Metafilter: Nice ballbag
posted by symbioid at 6:00 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


My ex had a friend who swore she could predict the erect length of any guy's penis by giving him the once-over, and she'd usually get on a roll assigning numbers any time she had a drink or two. The consensus at the time was that it was just her way of reacting to being objectified. In an odd twist, she ended up getting quite the set of implants and a job at Hooters.
posted by gimli at 6:13 PM on July 1, 2013


So that's where the crown jewels went!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:15 PM on July 1, 2013


My goodness, but the phrase "nice ballbag" has given me a case of the giggles of Chrysippian proportions.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:24 PM on July 1, 2013


When my gramma was busy with canasta my grampa would take me and my cousins to the Brighton Beach Baths, which naturally meant we would end up in the men's changing room. I saw things. So many things. I had so many questions.

gravity is a harsh mistress
posted by elizardbits at 6:25 PM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like to look at men … the way they look at women.

Can’t you just say the first part and stop?

Hyperallergic asks her why.

Because every other body part has been done. For instance...
posted by bongo_x at 6:28 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


See also:
this
this
posted by markkraft at 6:33 PM on July 1, 2013


Elizardbits; I had a similar experience at the Y back in the day. To this day I still have no idea why every old man in there was always buck naked. It gave me the creeps.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:38 PM on July 1, 2013


I have used ball peen hammers, to make steel bend to my will.
posted by SteelDancin at 7:00 PM on July 1, 2013


I hesitate to say it, but I will anyway— the rest of her work makes me think "this is why we can't have nice things art."

I don't hate this, though.
posted by a halcyon day at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2013


In Canada, we call that a "Fillion".

That's the shiny part, right?
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:08 PM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


why are they all so small?

The article says that that was actually an ancient Greek preference, that symbolized restraint and moderation in sex or something like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 PM on July 1, 2013


In an odd twist Inevitably, she ended up getting quite the set of implants and a job at Hooters.

FTFY.
posted by localroger at 7:18 PM on July 1, 2013


Regarding the research mentioned in beagle's comment, Chris McManus actually appeared and spoke about his research and winning an Ig Nobel prize for it with Stephen Fry and his panelists for a few minutes in a 2011 episode of QI.
posted by chambers at 7:20 PM on July 1, 2013


God, I hate art. Oh, and artists.
posted by wrok at 7:26 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


beagle: "Like generations of schoolboys, she observes that more often than not, the left one hangs low. This is true in paintings, as well. It is confirmed here, in a textbook that claims the left one hangs low in the 85 percent of men who are right-handed, and the right one tends to hang low in lefties"

Well, that forced me to learn something new about myself today.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:39 PM on July 1, 2013


God, I hate art. Oh, and artists.

Thanks for contributing!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:46 PM on July 1, 2013 [15 favorites]


Bad news, wrok: coming into a thread like this and posting a comment like that could be construed as a kind of performance art, which would make you an artist.
posted by valrus at 8:09 PM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


God, I hate art. Oh, and artists.

yes but how do you feel about nutsacks
posted by elizardbits at 8:10 PM on July 1, 2013 [16 favorites]


Me to hubby, seemingly at random: Let me see your nuts.

Him: What? Why? No! Why?

After a bit of negotiation, including my swearing by all that is holy that I was not going to "do something" to his precious boys, he reluctantly let me take a look, whereupon it was discovered that "one hung low" apparently does not apply to him. And now his head is all swelled up about being in the top 15% of nut-hanging, or something.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:11 PM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


This project gives me the (weird? obvious?) desire to see Daniel Craig's testicles sculpted in marble. Then presumably smashed with a hammer.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:29 PM on July 1, 2013


it was discovered that "one hung low" apparently does not apply to him.

Just FYI the sac moves them around pretty frequently. You might have to do more observation for an answer.
posted by MillMan at 8:40 PM on July 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cremaster muscle, Moves them around to maintain the correct temperature.

Some people got a totally badass cremaster that can cause a condition called retractile testicle. Which means the cremaster pushes one so hard it retracts into the groin and you gotta push it back out with your hand.

You gotta watch out because they can get stuck, thereby becoming an "ascending testicle".

I've sat through a lot of conversations about this. Some women, like my ex mentioned above, don't like danglers and prefer a toned cremaster.

I wish I was kidding.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:56 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


But give her a set of taut male buttocks or a swinging peen in a movie and she'll hit the pause button with the reflexes of a professional athlete.

I enjoy baseball and going to games and introducing the sport to new people. I think many people would be surprised at how well "So you're telling me you're not interested in fit men wearing very tight pants bending over for three hours? There's also booze and food." works on the skeptical female of the species.

Also someone take "a toned cremaster" as a username.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:58 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cremaster muscle, Moves them around to maintain the correct temperature.

If you have a naked dude in your bed, take a few seconds to watch the slow pulsating movement of the testes as the scrotum contracts and relaxes to accommodate local temperature variation to achieve homeostasis. It's totally fascinating. Like a lava lamp.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 PM on July 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


You can also contract it a bit, which is how you get a buff cremaster to wow those who are into dudes with tight testiclevalises.

Men are complex creatures. The way horses have special muscles to move their skin to keep flies off, we have special muscles to keep our nuts cool.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:16 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


they should make the truck backing up BOOP BOOP BOOP noise when they retract
posted by elizardbits at 9:21 PM on July 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


No it sound like someone saying BOOP BOOP BOOP but all muffled-like.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on July 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also boners should make the inception noise as they erect themselves.

human anatomy is such a disappointment to me, audibly.
posted by elizardbits at 9:44 PM on July 1, 2013 [14 favorites]


we have to go deeper.
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


elizardbits, you're gonna learn a lot about how many boners there are.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:46 PM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


"lava lamp" is hilariously accurate.
posted by MillMan at 10:04 PM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


And now his head is all swelled up

*snicker!*
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:04 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god. Just being on the train during rush hour. All that noise would be unbearable. Maybe only a handfull of true stiffies but almost every guy must be rocking at least a half chub because of the vibration.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:19 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is gross.

I'm leaving
posted by Ad hominem at 10:20 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


we have to go deeper.

we have to, yet we can't
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:22 PM on July 1, 2013


I think many people would be surprised at how well "So you're telling me you're not interested in fit men wearing very tight pants bending over for three hours? There's also booze and food." works on the skeptical female of the species.


Seems to work pretty effectively for Australian Rules Football. Particularly in the 70-80s where there seemed to be some kind of unofficial competition about who could wear the tightest shorts without fatally cutting blood supply to their lower extremities.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:48 PM on July 1, 2013


Just being on the train during rush hour. All that noise would be unbearable.

All I see is pork swords.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 AM on July 2, 2013


the slow pulsating movement of the testes as the scrotum contracts and relaxes

I like most of The Orb's early work, but that song didn't do much for me. I suppose that's why it was only released as a B-side on a 7". more like a 5" amirite
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:38 AM on July 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


The article says that that was actually an ancient Greek preference, that symbolized restraint and moderation in sex or something like that.

Yeah - is that actually true? I don't remember hearing about this preference in, say Aristophanes: and I thought Greek comedians used to wear ginormous fake phalluses.

I thought there was actually very litte surviving original Ancient Greek statuary, anyway, and much of what there is was clothed or accidentally emasculated so that there is little direct evidence. I thought most of what we have is at best Roman and often later copies, frequently edited or worked over by interfering Victorians with moralistic chisels and fig-leaf mentalities.

IANAAH (art historian).
posted by Segundus at 1:27 AM on July 2, 2013


And now his head is all swelled up about being in the top 15% of nut-hanging, or something.

So...that's where he's a Viking?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:03 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This website perpetuates the impossibly high aesthetic benchmark for men of a neatly ironed nutsack.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:07 AM on July 2, 2013


I thought Greek comedians used to wear ginormous fake phalluses.

Phalluses, yeah - but only certain kinds of comedians. I hadn't heard that bit about "small balls = moderation" before either, but I kind of buy it - if you consider that the statue was supposed to be a representation of the Idealized Man, and then the comedian was a representation of Not The Ideal But The Joker We Can Laugh At.

IANAAH either, but they totally talked about Greek Comedy in theater history class and yes, there was an entire class of comedians who wore big fake dicks and did jokey things with them. ...Another class of comedians always carried around a basket of fish, I remember, but no one knows why.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 AM on July 2, 2013


This thread is gross.

Meanwhile, i think this thread is awesome. I was totally expecting an "artists are stupid" or gender argument, and while there was a little of that, i got way more laughs from the "genitals should make sounds" part of it. ;)
posted by usagizero at 4:24 AM on July 2, 2013


From the article: Antique sculptures may be robbed of the colors that once adorned their surfaces

Is this common knowledge? All I can find is this article. Colour me surprised.
posted by Acey at 5:08 AM on July 2, 2013


The painting of statues in ancient Greece and Rome is well-attested in the literature of that world. It may not be common knowledge, but pretty much everyone after the Renaissance fetishized the austerity of the bare statues, so it's not surprising that their ideas, and not the Greeks', have become our day's common sense.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:15 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Look, look! It's a guy with a basket of fish! Ohhh... this is going to be good..."
posted by Segundus at 5:16 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact of ancient marble statuary being painted always reminds me of a joke Kevin Nealon told on SNL once, about how basketball used to be played on carpet until they pulled it up one day and found beautiful hardwood floors underneath.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:21 AM on July 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


When my gramma was busy with canasta ...

'Busy with canasta' is gonna be my new code phrase for masturbation.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:54 AM on July 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


canasturbation?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:56 AM on July 2, 2013


the left one hangs low in the 85 percent of men who are right-handed, and the right one tends to hang low in lefties

As with so many other things, I am angry Metafilter was not around for me when I was 12 and really needed this information. I had only the vaguest idea of what guys' stuff looked like, and no idea at all that it was so complicated. There was no internet, and romance novels and my friend's dad's Letters to Penthouse book really only confused things for me.

It was a dark time.
posted by emjaybee at 7:21 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought Greek comedians used to wear ginormous fake phalluses.

Yeah, a lot of it is class and place-based. If you look at Greek vases, you see tiny, delicate genitalia on most men-- the kalos, the beautiful boy type, especially-- because those are more like proud heroic nudes. There's a set of plaques of workers digging clay that have monstrous appendages. It's not really "funny" the way comedic actor costumes are, but it's a deliberate artistic choice that's far from, say, Athenian athletes. Ditto for satyrs who are often shown running around rampant as it were...

/have taken a lot of lectures looking at ancient butts
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:03 AM on July 2, 2013


Me to hubby, seemingly at random: Let me see your nuts.

Him: What? Why? No! Why?

After a bit of negotiation…


Your story was unbelievable at this point.

And now his head is all swelled up...

And that was too much information. This isn’t Penthouse Letters.
posted by bongo_x at 9:55 AM on July 2, 2013


Metafilter: This isn’t Penthouse Letters.
posted by localroger at 9:57 AM on July 2, 2013


Jeez, and I hadn't even gotten to the part where I put on my robe and wizard hat.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2013


Also for the sake of genital noise equality I will now state for the record that I would personally find it awesome if vaginas roared like lions to indicate arousal.
posted by elizardbits at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would personally find it awesome if vaginas roared like lions to indicate arousal.

I'd prefer a choir, personally....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:47 PM on July 2, 2013


Edgy! I'm scandalized.
posted by mattholomew at 6:54 PM on July 2, 2013


I'd prefer a choir, personally....

*Robert Downey Jr. enters room*

*multiple angelic choruses*
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:55 PM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also for the sake of genital noise equality I will now state for the record that I would personally find it awesome if vaginas roared like lions to indicate arousal.

Would it be an adequate consolation prize if they farted loudly to indicate that air had been vigorously pumped into them during sex? Because um whatever.
posted by localroger at 7:02 PM on July 2, 2013


Also boners should make the inception noise as they erect themselves.

What about the THX sound effect?
(To go with the lion roar?)
posted by Kabanos at 1:47 PM on July 4, 2013


I guess it would be nice if you could just download your own schwing tone.
posted by Kabanos at 1:51 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Book Titles with One Letter Missing...  |  Brian Christinzio, a.k.a. B.C.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments