In an imperfect world, men with small penises are unforgiven: The representation of the penis/phallus in American films of the 1990s

Peter Lehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unforgiven and A Perfect World have a strong connection in their representation of masculinity-both films represent the "normal" penis as critical to the formation of "good" masculinity and the "abnormal" and usually small penis as being at the center of "bad" masculinity. In Unforgiven, the entire narrative is set in motion when a prostitute laughs at a cowboy for having a small penis. In A Perfect World, the prisoner who escapes with the Kevin Costner character tells the boy they kidnap that his penis is too small, although Costner later assures him otherwise. This foregrounding of the penis in the formation of masculinity in these Eastwood-directed films relates to other recent films such as True Lies, in which a pathetic used-car salesman pretends to be a secret agent so that he can seduce women, desperately explaining that he does so because he has a "little dick."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalMen and Masculinities
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

Keywords

  • Clint Eastwood
  • Male systems (good and bad)
  • Normality
  • Penis
  • Penis-size jokes
  • Phallus
  • Robert Altman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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