*warning – explicit content in this post*
I watched this movie over two weeks ago (it seems I am becoming lazier and lazier in my blogging ways) – all of the wonderful, smart commentary I was planning on unleashing on you (insert side smirk emoji to further my exaggeratedly douchey tone) has come and gone. *edit – actually this whole posts sounds way overly more douchey than my others – I sincerely apologize and am not sure why I’m in such a mood this morning) I have very intricately involved and complexly confusing views about female sexuality and how it is captured and promoted, how it can both exploit and empower, that I really don’t feel like diving completely into here. Just want to briefly discuss that overall, I rather enjoyed watching this documentary. Honestly, I have never seen an issue of Penthouse but it came across as the sophisticated man’s Playboy. More artistically and intellectually driven (at least this is how the documentary wanted to portray it, again, I have no other experience with it so much like the documentary itself, I am sure my view is biased.)
Again. with this clouded opinion, it seemed Guccione had a great appreciation for the visual aesthetic of the female body that stemmed from his work painting and transferred into his work in photography. I suppose its sort of easy to think ok, creator of male entertainment magazine, obviously a creep. What the documentary showed, and I guess what most bio documentaries show, are the surprising aspects of someone’s character, most of which I quite respect – his battle for free speech against the moral majority of the 1980s and his strong interest in science and alternative energy.
What I enjoyed most was a look back into the penthouse spreads from the 1960s and 70s – real female figures, non-artificially shaped breasts in all their glory, wonderfully soft bodies, and even the amazing play on word “pubic wars” – hard to imagine men excited to view pubic hair when most everyone in this generation has been taught to gag at the thought (myself included). Just a striking difference for me, and perhaps women of the time, to view the early penthouse photos and think “wow, that could be me, I am beautiful and sexy, too.” One of the early “pets” in the film even states “every women should be given the opportunity to be photographed by Bob Guccione” it made her feel more beautiful and confident than she had ever felt – my favorite part of the documentary actually. Looking through a men’s entertainment magazine today all I really think is – yeah, I’m never going to look like that. Just a completely different mindset it seems. I also remember the film talking about a public forum they had where men wrote in to ask questions on sexual problems – wondering “is this normal?” Pretty revolutionary considering there was no internet search engine to type your weird, private, embarrassing inquiries into – come on you know we all do it. Overall, just a lot of food for thought. I think it’s time I stop rambling and move on with my day – after all, I have an entire season of Leave it to Beaver on my to do list this weekend, really of the utmost importance here. I’ll leave you with some pubic hair because, hey, why not – Jerry Fallwell won’t hold me down baby.