‘Unhung Hero’

Brian Spitz’s 2013 documentary Unhung Hero attempts to answer the enduring question: Does size really matter?

Our hero and guide in this documentary is Patrick Moote. A viral video of his rejected marriage proposal at a UCLA game motivates his journey. He claims the woman turned him down because of his size, and as a result he wants to learn more about size, enhancement, and cultural expectations.

His explorations take him throughout the United States and across the globe. While in the United States, he learns about several techniques that claim to increase length (watch the documentary if you want to know what they are) and tries them. When those techniques fail to live up to their claims, he travels to Papua New Guinea, South Korea, and Taiwan to learn about injections, enlargement surgery, and weights, respectively. Though Moote tries the weights, he passes on the injections and the surgery.

Throughout the piece, Moote interviews several people who share insights about size and sex, such as Annie Sprinkle, Jonah Falcon, and Dan Savage. Savage offers the insightful comment that connects this issue with larger cultural issues in that the pressures of appearances that used to affect women now have moved to men as well. In the end Moote comes to the expected realization that what matters is not obsessing over the issue and just being himself.

The documentary incorporates some footage taken in places where filming was unwelcome and an invasion of privacy, such as the Korean baths, which gave me a pause for the ethics of doing so. Otherwise, for the most part, Unhung Hero delves into a sensitive issue with humor and grace. The frankness and openness, however, might not be for everyone.

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