Giant penis on Danish kids' TV: scandalous or progressive?
The Danish public broadcaster DR has caused an uproar with a new children's cartoon series about a man with a giant penis. According to the title song John Dillermand (whose name translates as "penis man"), has the longest penis in the world and has many adventures with it. For some the show is a monstrosity; for others it's a welcome break with taboos.
Inane, stupid and a slap in the face for MeToo
Mikael Arendt, general secretary of the "Church and Media" organisation, finds the series completely inappropriate. He writes in Jyllands-Posten:
“The story is completely fatuous. And utterly tone deaf in times of MeToo, when more than ever we expect everyone to keep their ... under control. DR has talked a lot in the past six months about how its children's programmes have become increasingly important at a time when there is so much competing material out there. ... Out of fear of losing young viewers to giants like Disney+, there have been huge investments in Danish children's TV. The intention is good - but what is being produced is just stupid and inane.”
Adults are exposing themselves
Politiken rejects the accusation that the series is sexualising in any way:
“The penis of the penis man couldn't be more asexual. Its red-and-white stripes are reminiscent of an old-fashioned bathing suit and it looks more like a snake or a beak than anything remotely sexual. If you think John Dillermand is silly or corny, that's a matter of taste. But he is a very much a product of the sort of candid thinking that DR should hold onto. Children's worlds on Netflix, Disney+, Viaplay and other streaming services are full of gender stereotypes and have been purged of all conflict. DR, on the other hand, has a long, proud tradition of challenging children and fearlessly tackling taboos. ... Children will certainly not find it shocking. If adults sexualise the penis in John Dillermand and find it insulting, then it first and foremost says something about their own mindset.”