What Makes a Man a Man?
An Empirical Study

by Wim J., Ph.D.

Introduction

It is often said that "Clothes make the man" -- but scholars are of varying opinion. Sexologist John Money claims that the quintessential characteristic of a man, defined according to common standards of Western culture, is the presence or absence of a penis. But few if any scholars have actually gathered empirical evidence to test the hypothesis that a man -- or a person who looks like a man when clothed -- actually has a penis.

The present research is designed to uncover the answer to this riddle.

Much research has been conducted which examines children's conceptions of gender, masculinity, and femininity. When given genitally uncensored dolls clothed in pants, dresses, long hair, short hair, etc., and possessing breasts, or a penis, vulva, and so on, children often classify the dolls by sex in unconventional or inconsistent ways. But children eventually reach a stage -- called gender constancy -- at which they view sex and/or gender as a defining, unchanging trait of an individual. At this stage, they assert that boys (with a penis) will grow up to be men (with a penis), and that girls (without) will grow up to be women (without).

But no one, to the author's knowledge, has investigated whether these social constructions persist into adulthood. Do adults really believe that every man has a penis? Does a person with a penis himself believe he is a man, and dress in men's clothes (such as lumberjack shirts, blue jeans, and penny loafers)? Does a person without a penis believe she is a woman, and dress in women's clothes (such as blouses, blue jeans, lumberjack shirts, and ballerina shoes)? Enquiring minds want to know, and careful academics will insist on actual empirical observations -- using replicable, well-described procedures instead of well-meaning but unscientific speculation, no matter how well-supported by logical reasoning and deduction.

Accordingly, we conducted what we believe is the first empirical, observational study of penis possession in a major American metropolis. By asking men on the street if they possessed a penis, and then asking them to show it to us, we gathered the first field data on this woefully understudied topic.

Methods

Subject Recruitment

We recruited what we hoped would be a random sample of human subjects by walking up and down the street -- clad in nothing but shoes, socks, sunglasses, and a pair of advertising "sandwich boards" -- in a major city in the American west.* We chose the locale and the date by a totally random process, thus securing representativeness and ensuring that results from our study could be extrapolated to the population at large. As it happened, the date randomly chosen fell upon a Sunday in October, 1998, when a huge street festival (the Castro Street Fair, directed at homosexuals, both male and female) was underway.

* OK, we'll admit it: it was San Francisco.

Further discussion of representativeness issues is provided in the Discussion.

To secure the actual sample used in this paper, the author quietly walked up and down the street clad overwhelmingly in advertising sandwich boards which read:

Front:

Can I put

YOUR DICK

on

MY WEBSITE?

I'll pay you

$1.00!

http://www.penis-central.com/


Back:

Are you man enough

to put

YOUR PENIS

on

MY WEBSITE?

Drop your pants for $1!

http://www.penis-central.com/

When this method failed to produce sufficient numbers of volunteer subjects (which is to say, right off the bat), the recruiter then added an oral component to the recruitment process, shouting slogans such as:

"Your dick for a dollar! Show me your dick for a dollar!"

-- directing the slogans at most of the men walking by (especially the handsomest ones). To ensure sample completeness, oral solicitations were also directed at passersby who appeared to be women, using phrases such as:

"I'll even pay you a dollar if you don't have a dick!
Just let me take a photo of your crotch!"

He fell silent whenever he detected the presence of an otherwise qualified research subject who was under the age of 18, or anyone who appeared to be wearing a uniform which included a nightstick or gun (a requirement imposed upon him by his insurance company).

People walking around nude in public were excluded from the sample, as the recruiter found it difficult to avoid ascertainment of the potential subject's genital shape before recruiting him or her for the study. Knowing the results of the genital shape assessment before actually conducting the assessment might, of course, bias the results and lead to a skewed dataset.

Instruments and Procedures

Potential subjects responding to the call for volunteers were then asked to drop their pants (or, in one case, to pull up his skirt/kilt/whatever). At that point, the Visual Ogling of Your External Urogential Representation test was administered (for details, see the pioneering paper by Freund, Weinrich, and Hefner, 1969). Then a photographic record was made of the shape and appearance of what, if anything, was hanging (or clinging) between their legs. No attempt was made to ascertain whether the "anything" in question was genuine, prosthetic, or surgically enhanced (we remind readers of the fact that after watching Boogie Nights, you can't be too careful, you know?), since (according to Money and Ehrhardt, 1972), it is only the casual, initial appearance of the genitals which is typically used to assess sex and determine clothing choices in our culture.

After the photographic assessment, the subject was handed a fresh, clean, stiffly uncirculated dollar bill (U.S. currency -- none of that Canadian imitation stuff) and invited to participate in any of the following additional procedures:

(Note: None of the names of the assessments below form clever acronyms -- in contrast to the Visual Ogling of Your External Urogential Representation -- so save yourself the time.)

Once paid, all subjects declined further scientific enlightenment, but reported that they were willing to retain the recruiter's telephone number in the event that they should change their minds or wish to receive a complimentary beverage at some future date.

Results

Photographic results of this investigation have been previously published and are available for inspection on the Internet. Summary thumbnail photos are presented in Appendix A. Totals are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

N  

Within sound of voice

Eye-contacted

Orally addressed

Orally serviced

Revealed genitalia

Possessed penis (%)

Men

1,227  

1,043  

143  

DADT*

55  

100.00  

Women

1,228  

56  

28  

0  

0  

NA**  

Hermaphrodites with attitude

112  

2  

2  

0  

0  

NA

Hermaphrodites without attitude

36  

2  

2  

0  

0  

NA

Eunuchs

-12  

0  

0  

0  

0  

NA

Queens (drag)

1,116  

556  

23  

0  

0  

NA

Queens (non-drag)

2  

0  

0  

0  

0  

NA

Drag kings

16  

3  

1  

0  

0  

NA

Other/Unknown

546  

501  

42  

0  

0  

NA

Footnotes:
* DADT: Don't ask, don't tell
** NA: Not Applicable (previous cell zero)

As can be seen (in Table 1), the sex ratio of the crowd in general was satisfactory, and approached the general population value (very nearly 1:1). Among those orally propositioned, recruitment of men was satisfactory -- although recruitment of other genders was disappointing. But data are data, and this under-recruitment of people of the various non-male genders will not prevent us from presenting the results of statistical tests. After all, statistics don't lie.

There was a statistically significant difference in penis possession by sex, as can be seen from the following subtable derived from Table 1:

N  

Shown to possess penis

Not shown to possess penis

Men

55  

88  

Women

0  

28  

Chi-square = 24.25, p < 0.0001

We note with pride that such levels of statistical significance are rarely attained in social-science work.

Discussion

Social sciences are sometimes ridiculed by so-called "hard" scientists for lack of rigor in their studies. Although there may have been a lack of rigidity in the photographs in Appendix A (a lack which could probably be eliminated with an appropriate protocol modification), the same cannot be said for our methodology.

Our methods were rigorous indeed. By direct observation in a completely randomly selected sample, we called the bluff of our clothes-infested society -- which makes such a fuss about one's sex and gender yet forbids people to display the actual objects used to make this assessment. By rewarding those who cover their genitalia with clothing, society encourages us to lie about our innermost thoughts, desires, and fantasies -- not to mention our outermost genitals.

We found -- to a degree astonishing in the light of our recent social upheavals, the sexual revolution, and social constructionism -- that in every case without exception in which we were permitted direct observation, men had penises. Moreover, we found that every man we examined had exactly one penis -- a fact which we documented photographically.

Now we turn to the question of whether this nearly unambiguous result can be extrapolated to the population at large. A few of the pre-publication referees of this paper** questioned whether this random selection process would produce results reliably extrapolatable to the general population. One even went so far as to assert that Castro Street is probably the least likely place in North America to find a population in which the general public accurately signals the category of their genitalia via their clothing. However, our results speak quite forcefully and eloquently to the unlikelihood of his assertion.

** OK, we'll admit it -- every single one of them.

Moreover, there is the issue of the sanctity of sample selection. If our random selection process had resulted in the choice of the Thanksgiving Friday shopping day at the Mall of America, or a convention of Southern Baptists on Whitsunday, the choice would have escaped criticism. As any introductory statistics student learns, the results of a random selection must be pursued to completion, because representativeness of a sample can only be assured by truly random selection. If this process produces a sample which appears, by one criterion or another, to be non-random, this is merely an unavoidable feature of the methodology -- because every random sample drawn is equally unlikely. And who are we to question survey methodology?

In any event, carping critics such as the ones referred to above have a standard, scientific option they can pursue if they wish to challenge our results: they can select their own random location, strip bare-ass naked like I did, assemble their own set of sandwich boards, and march up and down the sidewalks, gathering data, at the Mall of America (or a convention of Southern Baptists on Whitsunday) -- in short, by replicating the present study. Replication is the essence of good science, as any Humanities major taking an Introduction to the Scientific Method course knows. Any niggling, carping, clothes-infested, hypercritical, overpaid, underworked, probably tenured-at-the-Associate-level, gerrymandering, cuckolded and/or cuckolding, tax-cheating, taxpaying, loser-ass critics (such as the referees mentioned above) should put away their word processors and put their tenure where their mouth is. Or something. Data are the hard currency of science -- not ideas or logical deduction -- and don't you forget it!

Let's see now, where was I? Oh, yes:

Discussion

It is true that we did not manipulate or examine the proffered genitalia in more detail. Were any of the seeming penises in fact the work of a dildo manufacturer or a prosthetic aid? How can one tell the difference between a small penis and a large clitoris, a hot dog, or even a lump of Play Doh? How about taking into consideration people who do not have a penis -- namely, the differently genitaliated?

All these are questions which we admit we cannot answer at the moment with hard data; such exacting work can be undertaken in a future replication study. Let's meet next summer at the Mall of America. Are you available on Whitsunday?

It is time for the penis possessors of the world to stop being ashamed of their genitalia. Decades ago, it was considered inappropriate for men to bare their nipples, upper arms, or hairy chests. But people with penises should be even more willing to bare their penis -- for it is the penis which ensures one's admission to hallowed pro sports team locker rooms, the Bohemian Club, and many other trendy, exalted milieux. Just try getting into a men's restroom without having a penis to show inside the door! What could be a more exalted locale than that?

Penis-bearers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shames!


Acknowledgments: Although tradition dictates that I state that errors in this paper are my own responsibility, this is untrue. There are no errors in this paper. If it should turn out that there are, they are almost certainly caused by the critiques provided by the loser-ass referees who were so unkind as to describe my work as anything short of brilliant. Serves them right, anyway.

By the way, some referees actually wondered if this paper was a joke. Nothing could be further from the truth: it is deadly serious. If anything I wrote here might have been a joke, it would only have been a joke at the "expense" of people I like. These days it's just too dangerous to joke about one's enemies (not that I have any, of course). So if you thought I was making fun of something you wrote, please take it as a compliment; it would mean that I like you and would be able to trust you not to call your lawyer.


References Cited

Freund, Kurt W., Weinrich, James D., and Hefner, H. (1969) The Visual Ogling of Your External Urogential Representation assessment -- Administration and Manual Stimulation. The PenIs Mightier Than The Sword Press, Dixville, PA.

Money, John, and Ehrhardt, Anke (1972) Man and Woperson / Boy and Girl (revised edition). Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1974) Love Those Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1976) Keep Loving Those Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1982) Still More Lovemaps to Keep Loving. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1988) Can't Get Enough of Those Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1993) Lovemaps Terminable and Interminable. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1994) The Author is Not Making Fun of Money's Obsession With Lovemaps, But of His Own -- So Get Over It. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1995a) Women Who Love Too Many Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1995b) Men Who Write Too Much About Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1998a) Men Who Write Parodies of Women Who Love Too Many Lovemaps. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1998b) Lovemaps Who Parody Women Writers who Love Too Many Men. Johns Hopskins University Press, Ballmemore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (1998c) Thank Goodness You Noticed the Misspelling in the Previous Entry's City. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, a) Everything You Were Afraid You Already Knew About Lovemaps But Haven't Yet Read. I Think. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, b) Lovemaps of the Rich and Famous. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, c) Why Are You Still Reading This Far? -- An Empirical Investigation Into the Deepest Roots of Logophilia. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, d) Lovemaps of the Poor and Infamous. Johns Hopskins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, e) Why I Love My New Publisher. Prometheus Books, New York.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, f) Why My New Publisher Loves Me and My Lovemaps. Prometheus Books, New York.

Money, John W., Money, John, and Money, J. (in press, g) The 43,515 Most Important Things I've Said in My Previous Books and Papers, Published and Unpublished, With a Foreword by Camille Paglia Which Will Sell More Copies. Prometheus Books, New York.

West, Mae (1937) My Little Chickadee. That quote isn't really in this movie, but no one knows where it came from so screw authenticity, OK?


Appendix A -- Summary Thumbnails

We present here the actual photographs taken to document penis possession. For reasons of space we can only present thumbnails. As mentioned in the body of the paper, further details on these datapoints (including enlarged photos) are available elsewhere.

A total of n = 50 subjects are documented above (sometimes 2 per photograph). In addition, the senior author witnessed 5 other penises revealed, but failed to photograph them in time for documentation; total n is thus 55.


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