Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the great whitewashed willie debacle

I grew up (more or less) in this region of the country. I know my people, and we're prudes.

But, I grew up, gained wisdom (or maybe just got jaded), and, frankly, reached an age where nekkid bodies in a non-erotic context just aren't all that, well, erotic.

My students, not so much.

My first inkling of the problem was when I showed the classic movie Onka's Big Moka. Apparently, several of the young women in the class were mortified by visible male genitalia, and complained (to another professor) that they couldn't "ignore" it because the subtitles were right at crotch level. I went back and watched parts of the video again, since I hadn't noticed full frontal nudity. It's there, but with dark lighting, it wasn't noticeable (to me).

I edited a couple of lesson plans to avoid offending anyone, but this week I showed another classic movie, Masai Women. I love this movie, which is a perfect example of the intersection of gender, kinship, marriage patterns, and aging. But, I'd forgotten that the last part of the movie focuses on a warrior initiation ceremony, where young men are dancing, covered in a slurry of white chalk, and naked below the waist. In other words, there was a whole wall of whitewashed willies bouncing up and down for a good five minutes.


I expect the complaints to begin immediately.

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