The Mighty Phallus Has Fallen: Dr. Emily Willingham Puts Male Genitalia In Its Proper Place

As a culture, we are obsessed with penises. Our society often associates the phallus with social power and worth. And the pervasive focus on the phallus has a greater and potentially more negative impact on a plethora of issues, such as the self worth of women and men and gender equality, than many realize.

Today I am talking to an expert on all things penis.

Emily Willingham is the author of Phallacy: Life Lessons From the Animal Penis. Her writing has also been published in the New York Times, Scientific American, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and many others. She has a PhD in biological sciences and a BA in English literature, both from The University of Texas at Austin.

In Phallacy, Emily Willingham explores animal genitalia while also delving into the social and cultural significance of penises as symbols of power and identity. She challenges the notion that the penis makes the man and the fallacy sold to many of us is that the penis signals dominance and power.

In short: Emily Willingham thinks it's time to put the human penis into perspective ... for the sake of all of humanity.

In this episode, you'll hear:

The roots of our culture unhealthy obsession with Penises...02:25

  • Book: Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis
  • Anthropologist, Wednesday Martin
  • Roman beliefs of the male role
  • Penis trees and plants

How the human penis measures up to the animal kingdom?...08:10

  • The human penis is not so spectacular in comparison to some animals
  • Dr. Emily breaks down the vast diversity of penises in the animal kingdom

Why men are deathly afraid of losing their manhood...12:10

  • Witches would gain more power by eating a man's penis
  • The glamour of penises stems from witches and fairy tales

Why penises have been historically more fascinating than vaginas...14:10

  • The truth behind the roles the penis and vagina play in evolutionary biology
  • The sexism of the female cycle
  • YouTube of pink plastic gloves on SharTtank
  • How menstruation was viewed as something unclean and shameful

What the experts get wrong about female sexual desire...20:35

  • The narrative imposed on women is completely contradictory to how women were biologically wired
  • Book: The Pleasure Gap by Catherine Roland

How differing narratives on the human sexuality inform public policy...21:25

  • Sexual politics + building roles around penises
  • Socioculturally and psychologically, we need an intentional language shift

How the social discussion around transgender roles contradict biology...23:35

  • Biology does not support binary gender roles

How the mighty phallus has fallen...25:00

  • The fall has come as men send pictures of their penises rather than their faces
  • We should focus on the brain, not the penis

How to shift the assumptions that the penis = masculinity...27:40

  • Shifting the language will create a cultural shift and acceptance
  • Constraint in our culture about how boys and men are allowed to express themselves
  • Parental support in gender identification

How the discussion of size is detrimental to self-worth...30:45

  • Humans don't have super large penises relative to the animal kingdom
  • "Small dick" vs "Big dick" attitudes

Dr. Emily talks about her new book...32:55

  • Being published later this year: The Tailored Brain
  • Micro-dosing, Ketamine, pets and companionship
  • Uplifting others allows us to uplift ourselves as well

Emily's best practices...35:15

  • Non-negotiable daily walks with her partner
  • Twitter: @ejwillingham

About the Podcast

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The Superhumanize Podcast
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Ariane Sommer