The purpose of this writing is to understand what really a phallus is. She wants readers to understand that a phallus is just an imagination that is depicted by the culture that we live in. The phallus is a symbol depicting a penis but is more of an imagination. Due to the taboo associated with the penis in the western world the phallus has been expressed without knowledge like in the rocket or skyscrapers designs. Phallus worship however was done with clear knowledge of what was going on as in ancient Egyptians and Greeks usually carried representation of the penis in worship of Osiris and Dionysus respectively. Phallic symbols have been in the advertisements in automobiles and underwear. The author defines a phallus as a symbol of an erect penis.

Not every penis is a phallus as an erect penis has to be revered not only because it is long and thick but because it is majestic. In this way, anyone who sees it feels the need to worship it. A phallus shows the superiority of a man over the female and also over other animal species by distinctively distinguishing human maleness from the nature animal maleness. There are very many symbols used in our society associated with masculinity like hard muscles and cigar smoking but none defines masculinity to its true core than a phallus. Everybody wants to own a phallus including the females in using dildos but the power of a phallus lies in masculinity dominance. However, it is important to understand that the phallus is not a body part but a cajoled idea coupled with imagination which requires culture to possess.


The essay’s main argument is what exactly does a phallus signify, it maybe a symbol of an erectile penis but not everyone with a penis can claim to have a phallus. As the author states, ``The phallus is a penis that takes one’s breath away-not merely because of length or thickness. ..but because of its majesty,’’(Bordo, 1999).It has the power to be worshipped. It distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal kingdom as the one who was created in the image of God and not the Homosapiens in evolutionary theory. It has developed overtime and as Egyptians worshiped Osiris carrying the analogues of the penis showed their gratitude to the gods for the powerful instrument of human recreation. It was a symbol for divinity because Osiris was not a man but a god. The sexuality superiority ceased after realization that a penis was a body organ that pursued bodily desires and so the concept of associating masculinity with rationality, intellect and mind was constructed. Like a penis, the phallus must also rise to the occasion to serve its historic reverence and not to satisfy the animalism in male. Phallic symbolism is witnessed in the way men construct advertisements, rockets and skyscrapers to show that it is in the unconscious part that depicts masculinity and relating it to items that stand tall and upright and penetrating.

The phallus is an idea and not a body part because even though it symbolizes a penis, it has to be worth worshiping in order to qualify as a phallus. A man claiming to have a phallus must therefore prove its worthiness and might.


The author uses numerous examples and literature work to support his claims on phallic symbolism. The Chevy advertisement describing it as ``thrilling’’ and ``every inch the king’’ of cars creates a phallic symbol of the automobile due to masculinity suggestions in the advertisement showing that it can only be handled by a man who is an all man making the man who owns it an ultimate man. Just like the tails of animals in the wilderness serve to symbolize their superiority, that’s what a phallus is associated with only that it symbolizes both biological and higher values of human maleness compared to animals, (Bordo, 1999).

Stating phallic origin in history, Osiris worshipers carried analogues of the penis to show their gratitude too gods for giving them an organ that enabled human to procreate and bring forth life. The penis belonged to a go of fertility showing that it was a revered part that deserves the term phallus.

Phallic symbolism is present in our life though the penis remains hidden from the world. This can be see in the rocket designs, a powerful automobile that penetrates and is upright, Skyscrapers that are also upright and outward. Scientists also use penile words to describe outcomes of bombs and rockets. Then, just when it appeared as though the thing had settled down, there came shooting out of the top a giant mushroom that increased the size of the pillar to a total of 45,000 feet. The mushroom top was even more alive than the pillar, seething and boiling in a white fury of creamy foam, sizzling upward and then descending downward, a thousand geysers rolled into one.’’ This was a description of Nagasaki bombings as put in the literature studies showing that phallic symbols are buried deep into our unconscious part.


The author has achieved her objective in trying to explain to the reader what a phallus is through use of the examples which explain the symbolic meaning of a phallus. Here the author separates the phallus from other signs that also symbolizes masculinity like muscles and cigars and having a penis. She makes her points through first stating the example then explaining what in the example symbolizes a phallus. This assists the reader to effectively keep up with her arguments. Constantly, the author reminds the reader that a phallus is not a body part but an idea that originated from the Egyptians worship of Osiris. It serves as a reminder to the reader to separate the examples which makes one associate the phallus with a body part at the same time putting a point across.

The author gives strong examples to support her argument that the phallus is not just having a penis. To support its meaning that it has to be worshiped or revered, the author gives a text from Lady Chatterley’s Lover where the lady acknowledges that the penis is lordly. In proving that not every penis or its analogue qualifies as a phallic symbol, the author quotes a Lorraine description of using a dildo to give pleasure to a woman but only ended up in disappointment. This she does to maintain his emphasis that the phallus is majestic symbolism to an erect penis. The author qualifies in helping the reader not to get confused between masculinity symbolism and phallic symbolism.


Bordo, S. (1999). The male body: a new look at men in public and in private. 84-104. New York