Puppetry of the penis – body shame

Theatre curtain

Theatre curtain

My house mates and I thought it might be fun to check out "Puppetry of the Penis".

We’d read about the show and thought it might be worth a peek. A Thursday night, some time ago, we walked in at 9pm and found our seats. The show kicked off and the performers were on the stage, capes wrapped around their bodies. Then… they were off. The men stood there fully naked. Unfortunately, we have a friend who is very much a “I’ll give anything a go kind of person”, so he really had no idea what the show was about until we got there. What struck me was that whilst I was taken aback by the full-on nudity and bodily manipulation, my friend was another level of shocked. He looked down at his toes, eyes closed and was most certainly more than uncomfortable. Whilst we all agreed that the show lacked some dramatic structure, was a bit crude and full of potty humour (like having their genitalia stretched, old and floppy), we also agreed that by the end of it, the sight of another naked human wasn’t that shocking.

It also made me reflect that when we were embarrassed or feeling awkward, we weren’t ashamed or embarrassed for the performers and their bodies but of ours. It was this internal fear that made the experience at first, shocking and uncomfortable. Body shame is certainly something we all feel and have felt at some point throughout our lives. It is a fear of how we compare to others, what others think of us and the power others draw from using body shaming. Not only is feeling body shame normal, I also believe shaming bodies is something everyone has been guilty of at some point in their lives, whether that be putting other people down or yourself. So, I guess seeing something like that really put it into perspective. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are all so similar under the hood and we all have the same fears and insecurities.

After seeing the show, I know I need to stop any self-deprecating body shaming comments and call it out if I see it done to anyone including myself. Being comfortable to talk about your body and all it’s nooks and crannies is different to ridiculing it. We can all be the puppeteers of a more welcoming society.  

Tagged in mental health, what messes with your head, body positivity