A Brief Survey of Male Nudity in Television

CollegeHumor had a “boner” to pick earlier this week. A few funny ladies got together to discuss the lack of male nudity on television. In the short HBO Should Show Dongs, which we spotted on The Mary Sue, women argue for genital equality: “For every topless background extra, every actress that bears her bouncies but doesn’t even get a line, every minute we have to sit through this dumb double standard, you owe us an inch of grade-A man meat.” It’s funny, because it’s true.

We’re currently experiencing an exciting shift in television, with shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men changing public opinion about the boob tube and pushing the boundaries of small-screen storytelling. Are the standards for nudity changing along with it?



Almost every character on HBO’s drama about men in an experimental unit of a maximum-security prison has bared all for the camera (full-frontal included) — and for a series that started in 1997, that much male nudity was a pretty big deal. But it didn’t happen without a struggle. In an interview with stars Christopher Meloni and Lee Tergesen, the actors recalled an episode in which one of the directors became uncomfortable with a scene of male-on-male affection and kept cutting it short. After the director made an antagonistic remark, Tergesen stepped in. “Lee goes, ‘Look, just because you’re uncomfortable with the sexuality going on here doesn’t mean you have to rain on our fucking parade,'” Meloni related.