After a few scenes in Shame featured Michael Fassbender’s penis, it’s become the punch line of jokes and a key reference point in discussions of the actor. But in an interview with Elle, Fassbender says that this chatter is sexist.
It wouldn’t be acceptable, it would be seen as sexual harassment, people saying [to an actress], “Your vagina …” You know?
But one could argue that Fassbender is being treated exactly like an actress. Especially if you consider how freely people discuss actresses’ breasts, Fassbender is experiencing the exact same type of attention that actresses deal with every time they wear a revealing dress. Actors, though? They’re not so accustomed to it. They don’t have a long line of male examples to compare themselves to. When Jon Hamm was photographed going commando, and his free-wheeling junk was up for public debate, he similarly groused:
They’re called privates for a reason. I’m wearing pants, for fuck’s sake. When people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my cock, I feel like that wasn’t part of the deal.”
And like Hamm, perhaps to gain a little sympathy, Fassbender also claims self-consciousness about his looks. He follows in the footsteps other incredibly attractive people before him. (Ryan Gosling and Alexander Skarsgard, also speaking to Elle U.K. — what are they doing over there to bring it out in these men?) Fassbender says this insecurity stems from his teenage days:
I’ve never really thought of myself as good looking. I think of myself as, you know, alright … I used to have bad acne as a teenager, so all of this is a bonus now, the fact that I don’t have pimples any more. And my hair was also, you know, unfortunate. I had really long hair. I mean, I tied it back most of the time, but I had all these frizzy bits coming off the top.
Well, we hope you’re enjoying your bonus, Fassbender. Not only do you have a good haircut and clear skin, but there are countless testimonies to your looks. All positive.