When I met some of my friends for dinner last week, our casual conversation turned to an unanticipated topic—a website called macdix.tumblr.com. As the name suggests, the site features photos of penises of a number of Macalester students. A quick Google search with slang names for other sexual organs at Mac will leave you all but empty handed with alternatives.
I am appalled at the site’s existence. Those of you who know me also know that I am no prude and appreciate the male body as anybody else, but I was left in absolute shock that such a site would appear within our community. We have, of course, had quite the menu of various “community” websites, be it the now ancient LikeALittle, Mac Missed Connections or Mac Confessions. They each have their own set of issues, particularly Mac Confessions, but none reach the strata of MacDix.
A visitor to the website is welcomed by a call for submission: “Submit your dicks, Mac. If you were ever curious how you stacked up against other Mac guys, here’s the place to find out.” 20 men contributed in the two weeks of the site’s existence.
But is this site truly about comparison? Let us see: Most sources cite the mean erect penis length at around 5.5 inches. Chances are that with a pool of 800-some males, the (hopefully non-existent) Mac statistic should yield similar results. So grab a ruler, measure yourself up and compare. Question answered, no website needed.
If not comparison, then what is it about? It is clearly not art; we are not looking at any Michelangelos here. Most pictures are close-up shots that leave nothing to the imagination: #10 (yes, they are numbered) was inventive enough to place a coin on his penis as a unit of measurement. Neither does it celebrate our bodies. Breast casts do so by becoming a canvas, a representation and, ultimately, a work of art. The only thing that each submission represents is the individual’s need to reaffirm his ailing masculinity.
The website is a display of male chauvinism. The submissions are the Instagram equivalent to drawing a penis on somebody’s whiteboard. They seek to establish a gallery of perceived penis perfection, demonstrate sexual prowess and elect an alpha male—one penis to rule them all. There might be a remarkably primordial instinct driving it, but we are a community of liberal arts college students, professors and staff. If we cannot rise above this, then we are reduced to a pack of dogs marking their territory.
I actually heard an argument that there is a community-building aspect to the site: Rather than being a nameless pornographic website, MacDix supposedly excites us to walk through the campus knowing that the pictures belong to the mysterious people around us. Are we truly that sexually deprived? To be fair, the site does seem to be a place of gathering: even more troubling than the vista of penises are the comments that outnumber them. Most photos are accompanied by editorial captions from the “moderators” that can range anywhere from “We’d really appreciate some details on this one” to “Yeah, we’re gonna need a better shot than that. Super-blurry super-closeup won’t cut it!” Submit a picture and your penis is bound to be peer-reviewed.
The whole process is incognito; moderators even assure submitters that they will “remove any EXIF data from [a] photo before posting it” so as to eradicate any breadcrumbs left behind. Yet, one submission (anonymous, of course) gives the full name of a current Macalester student and suggests that he should “post his dick here”—and the moderators concur. Just how long do you think it will take Google to discover the post? You just made the student’s background checks for the rest of his life a breeze.
Other colleges seem to have succumbed to a similar phenomenon and the internet in general is abundant with pornography. But must we have a Mac-specific clone? It is one thing to take naked photos of yourself and then Snapchat or share them on a generic website for that purpose. As problematic as that is on its own, if you do it as an adult (one hopes), it is your personal choice with your own personal consequences. But why bring it to Macalester? I do not want this site in my community.
I have no interest in knowing how my penis compares to yours, and I would hope that the majority of our community share my view. If you do not then find other like-minded individuals and deal with the urge among yourselves. And if you have already submitted a picture of your penis, vagina or breasts across the various sites, please contact the moderators and ask for your pictures to be taken down. They do you no justice.
Originally posted in the Mac Weekly.