Artists Up Close
Artists Up Close Podcast
Challenging the Male Nudity Stigma (Event Audio)

Challenging the Male Nudity Stigma (Event Audio)

Explore the uncomfortable truths about the male nude taboo in art and in American society. This one-hour insightful discussion will challenge your assumptions.

“Who's nude and who's not, has to do with who's in power.” — artist, Ann-Marie Stillion

From ancient Roman and Greek art to contemporary photography, sculpture, and paintings, the male nude only makes up 10 to 30% of artistic depictions of the human form in its unclothed state. In the event “Challenging the Male Nude Stigma,” writer Beverly Aarons, photographer Ann-Marie Stillion and over 20 attendees, discuss why there is a stigma against male nudes in the art world specifically and American society in general. Here are some topics we discussed:

  • Male form embodies violence in American culture.

  • Absence of male nudity in art shapes American men’s self-perception.

  • Male nude depictions in art help men and society as a whole see men’s vulnerability.

  • Different cultures perceive and code nudity (specifically male nudity) differently.

  • Ann-Marie’s journey and challenges exploring the male nude body in photography.

“There was a little boy, and he had his arms out. And he was spinning in a circle. He was probably about 10. And he said, ‘I'm art! I'm art!” — artist Ann-Marie Stillion describing a young boy’s reaction to seeing artistic photographs of male nudes in her studio.

Photography by Ann-Marie Stillion

Audio excerpt from event below:


How do men really feel about their bodies? What does nudity say about power? These intriguing questions lie at the heart of our exploration. In this event audio recording, we delve into the psychological and sociological aspects of male nudity and its relationship to power dynamics in society. We aim to challenge preconceived notions, stimulate conversation, and open minds to new perspectives. Our conversation is designed to ignite your curiosity and encourage you to think critically about your own views on the male nude form.

Attendee talkback about the event:


“Oh, it was great. I came in absolutely not knowing what to expect. I bought the ticket today so I think it made it even better. And I love going to events not knowing what's going to happen. I definitely was afraid to participate in the beginning because of nerves but the topics that you guys had and how you really got everybody engaged, I was like, ‘I got to say something dang it!” — event attendee, Nikki S.

Subscribe now to listen to the full hour-long discussion about the male nudity taboo then continue the conversation in the comments section below!

Leave a comment

Attendee talkback about the event:


“ I'm really inspired by this event. I didn't know what to expect when I came. I heard the sound bites like oh NUDE males. Okay, that's interesting. But I think what came out of this for me was like an understanding of the metaphor of the work and gaining a deeper appreciation of the problems that we have in our society around how we construct masculinity and how toxic that is for all of us and how something as simple as how we cover the male body really keeps intact the patriarchy and ultimately does not help us.” — event attendee, Matthew H.

Artists Up Close is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to Artists Up Close to listen to this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.