Saturday, May 28, 2022

Does Size Really Matter?





Or, considering today’s topic, perhaps I should say Satyrday.


Virtually all the news these days is saddening. At least that’s how I see it. Name any subject of existential concern and I sense us closer to its nadir than at any other time in our lives. No need to list examples, we all know them far too well.

But this coming Tuesday, after far too long away, I return to Greece and its promise of the sort of fresh perspective it always brings to me. Yes, Greece shares many of the same threats as the rest of our world, but it also offers upbeat distractions and a sense of peace I cannot find elsewhere.


Among those distractions are moments of serendipitous instruction by the ancients on how to navigate decidedly modern challenges. My most recent experience in that regard suggested a different way to take on the online cyberbullying scourge often aimed at the size or shape of another’s body. 


The targets are most often teenage girls, and for many the experience is deeply troubling, inflicting long lasting traumatic effects on their lives. Social media, the commercial media, and entertainment in general are often pointed to as fueling the crisis, what with their penchant for glorifying some body types, while ridiculing others.

Well, I just read an article offering comforting insight to all genders that how the world now happens to view our respective physical attributes is a historically nuanced matter of fashion, not substance.  Each of us can now point with pride to eras glorifying our natural physicality over what might now be considered the “in” shape or size.


The subject of the writing that brought on my epiphany is the modern male’s most scorned/adorned/forlorn body part and how it may be gaining a new measure of celebrity–both literally and figuratively. 


The following story appeared under the byline of Tasos Kokkinidis in The Greek Reporter, a Greek news organization for Greeks around the world. The article’s title should be enough to grab most folk’s attention: “Why Greek Statues Have Small Penises: Woman’s Lecture Goes Viral,” but for those looking for a bit more enticement, there are its subtitles, e.g., “Small penises in Greek statues ‘a sign of virtue, of civility,’” and The small penis was consonant with Greek ideals of male beauty.


[Ed note: In the course of my research, I came across an earlier article appearing in Artsy by Alexxa Gotthardt titled, “Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises,” covering (or uncovering) much of the same material. I guess one could say there’s a groundswell of activity out there on the subject.]


And with that introduction folks, here’s the article:


A woman’s explanation of why ancient Greek statues have small penises has gone viral on TikTok.

Even a casual glance at classical sculptures in a museum will reveal that the penis on marble depictions of nude gods and heroes is often quite small.

Ruby Reign took it upon herself to look into the matter. “Have you ever wondered why so many of the ancient Greek statues have colossal muscular physiques and yet a tiny package?” she asked in a video shared on her TikTok.

“What I wasn’t aware of was that the Greeks often presented their enemies, the Egyptians, the satire creatures, and even fools in comedies as having large appendages – so it was quite a negative thing to have, which is quite different today.

“So actually, what I discovered was that big D’s bad and small D’s good in ancient Greece. But why was this? This is obviously different to today.”

Ruby claimed it is all to do with how perceptions have changed. She explained: “Turns out that in ancient Greece, having a smaller package was considered a sign of virtue, of civility, or self-control or discipline.

“Meanwhile, having a bigger one was a sign of lustfulness, of gluttonous appetites and barbarism, which is quite interesting because it’s different to today.”

Together, Ruby’s clips have racked up more than four million views, Lad Bible says with many people in the small willy community delighted by the lecture.

One person commented: “Remember lads we were on top, now the Barbarians have taken over.”

Another said: “We definitely gotta return to our roots.” A third added: “I was really born in the wrong generation.”

Ruby concluded that our changing perception of size illuminates the fact there is no such thing as objective beauty.

She said: “I just think it’s interesting to compare the perspective back then that smaller is better with the view today that, sometimes people think bigger is better.

“And it just goes to show that our beauty standards, our ideals, are all a social construct and we shouldn’t get bogged down feeling bad about ourselves.”

In the ancient Greek world of around 400 BC erect penises were not considered desirable, nor were they a sign of power or strength.

In his play The Clouds (c. 419–423 BC), ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes summed up the ideal traits of his male peers as “a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick.”

Historian Paul Chrystal has also conducted research into this ancient ideal. “The small penis was consonant with Greek ideals of male beauty,” he writes in his book In Bed with the Ancient Greeks (2016). “It was a badge of the highest culture and a paragon of civilization.”

Lustful, depraved satyrs, in particular, were rendered with very large, erect genitals, sometimes almost as tall as their torsos. According to mythology, these creatures were part-man, part-animal, and totally lacked restraint—a quality reviled by Greek high society.

“Big penises were vulgar and outside the cultural norm, something sported by the barbarians of the world,” writes Chrystal. Indeed, across many an amphora pot and frieze, well-endowed satyrs can be seen drinking and pleasuring themselves with abandon.

Mykonos here I come….



  1. I wouldn't touch this post with a 10-inch pole...

    1. That seems to be the general approach to today's post. HOWEVER, it has received more than TRIPLE the number of usual daily visits and there's nearly half a day to go! I wonder what that means...

    2. Thank you. For all of that. It's nice to finally know why I'm never called virtuous; civil; self-controlled; or disciplined 😂