Why We All Need to Stop Penis Shaming

“He probably acts like that because he’s compensating for SOMETHING,” and with a quick change of tone and a few raised eyebrows, we all know that “something” is a small penis. Today, we live in a culture where men and women alike seem to blame bad behavior on a less than satisfactory genital size. Not only do we attribute “douchey behavior” to the size of a man’s penis, but we also use said size as a way to gauge masculinity. Big penises seem to radiate confidence, strength, and masculinity, as if men are born with a pre-loaded amount of confidence in their dicks—the bigger the better. Yet quite conversely, if a man is considered to act in a hyper-masculine fashion, people tend to assume that he is using such hyper-masculinity to conceal what is hiding in his pants.

All I can ask, then, is when exactly can these men ever win? If a man is bold and confident we can rest assured that this particular man has an satisfactory package. Yet one too many trips to the gym and an oversized truck later can lead a man to be thrown into the “small penis” category. When do these men cross over from perfectly masculine to compensating for his genitals? Where exactly does this boundary lie?

Not only is this penis standard an obnoxious one, but also a rather perplexing one. Since when does the size of a man’s member have such a great influence in determining a man’s character? One single body part has been given a surprising authority in dictating a male’s stance in masculinity, but also in the dating world as a whole. The eligibility, the date-ablity, of a man exponentially increases if the size of his penis is above average. Though men often have the reputation of degrading a woman’s body in daily gossip, women also have similar tendencies. I have witnessed firsthand my female friends commenting on their boyfriends’ body types and making judgments about how “big” they were in comparison to their past sexual partners.

This behavior of degrading men’s bodies could be considered just as detrimental as it is to degrade a woman’s body. If men are instructed to believe that the only way to be an eligible bachelor is to have a big package, a package the size of the porn stars they see, the vast majority of men will be left feeling inadequate. This penis shaming is the equivalent to the culture we sustain of judging men for being out of shape, or not being the muscular we see in men’s magazines. It is simply no different than the way we shame women for being overweight and worship the size zero prototype of the model industry. This penis shaming is particularly harmful, however, because these men are unable to fix their “problem.” Penis enlargement procedures are costly, dangerous, and lead to a very minimal increase in size. Though, I am not suggesting that a woman being shamed for her breast or butt size is an easy burden to bear, in contrast, however, the success rates of breast and butt implants far exceed the rates of successful male oriented implants.

What then happens to those men who experience the rare condition of the micropenis? These men, because of the penis shaming culture we have upheld, are left feeling unwanted, undesirable, and often experience depression and anxiety as a direct result of the condition. They cannot turn to plastic surgery, but instead, are simply left to feel less masculine and less capable of holding a successful relationship.

As a solution, we must set a universal standard that people, regardless of gender, cannot define others by mere body parts. Quite honestly, it would be absurd to suppose that a man’s ability to be a “man” or a “good lover” would be limited to a simple extremity. And if we are to continue in such behavior, we are only feeding the fire that fuels thousands of male body image issues and body dysmorphia disorders.