Meet the Woman Who Critiques Hundreds of Penises Every Day

Men open up about some of their biggest bodily insecurities: the size and shape of their penises.

Madeleine Holden has a website called Critique My Dick Pic. Its mission is simple: “Send me your dick pics, & I’ll critique them with love ... with love' is an important addendum. I'm never going to shame you about the size of your dick or what it looks like... I will, however, be ruthlessly honest when it comes to things like angles, lighting & general tone. I'm trying to help you improve, because in all likelihood your dick pics are artless & dull.”

It began last year after Holden, a recipient of the usual share of terrible dick pics, received a welcome and particularly fetching dick pic. “I was struck by how unnecessarily rare it was to receive a good, consensually shared dick pic, and I realized men needed some help with getting their dick pics to that level,” she says.

Critique My Dick Pic was born that afternoon, and almost immediately, her inbox was inundated with wieners. If she doesn't check her email for a couple days, there will be hundreds of eager penises awaiting her judgment. 

And judgment it is. Consider this poor guy who sent in an uninspired shot of his dick hanging over the edge of a bathroom sink. (You'll have to look yourself because as Holden puts it, this site is "Not! Safe! For! Work!") 

“This is what I like to call the log, in that it’s a bird’s eye view, closeup shot of your dick, with your dick taking up most of the frame and with little other surrounding detail. logs make for pretty boring dick pics, sender. the over-the-sink pose is also quite common in the dick pic world, but I can’t personally see the appeal: it’s sterile, and a strange place for your dick to be.

"Overall, your dick pic is lacking because it doesn’t contain any visible effort to be erotic, and there’s very little interaction going on here; either between you and your dick, or you and the camera. It’s falling flat, sender, so please peruse the A grade submissions and give it another go; you’ve definitely got a better dick pic in you than this.

Thank you for submitting to critique my dick pic. Your dick pic gets a D.”

This guy fared a little better, after including this note with his entry, “As a half Chinese half Caucasian male it’s tough to have my dick pics taken seriously because of preconceived notions.”

Replied Holden: 

“Sorry to hear that no one is giving your dick pics the time of day, sender. Of course, no one is obliged to be an audience to your dick pics, but this one seems good to me.

"You’ve got a vigorous and appealing hand position going on here; there’s visible movement and even a well-executed ball squish. There’s a generous chunk of your torso showing, and no distracting clutter or patterns.

"It’s a fairly low frills webcam type shot, but it certainly does the trick.

"Thank you for submitting to critique my dick pic. Your dick pic gets a B+.”

What makes a good dick pic, according to Holden? “The problem with most dick pics is that they're utilitarian advertisements for size, with no erotic flair or artistic effort. The best dick pics show a generous amount of body and aren't narrowly focused on the dick itself; some evident thought has been spared for things like lighting, tone and framing; and the setting is free of distracting clutter. I also consistently find that dick pics that contain hands are better than those that don't—it humanizes them somehow, and brings them to life.”

She's against gag shots, "logs," and "Porky Pigging" (wearing a shirt but no pants). But despite the judgments, the letter grades in bold and that it's, you know, full of dicks, the site has an appealing and surprising humanity to it. 

“I feel privileged that people trust me enough to open up about their deepest bodily insecurities, and it's upsetting to see the levels of shame and anxiety so many people have about their bodies,” she says. “I've gained an insight into the massive insecurities a lot of people have about their penises; cis men, trans men and trans women alike (although for different reasons). That's why I'm firmly against body shaming, both on Critique My Dick Pic and more generally, and why I focus on the quality of the picture rather than picking apart the dick itself.”

Holden goes out of her way to solicit pics from less-represented dick-havers. Recent entries include a professional Dom sporting a black dildo, a dick dressed as a snowman (even though Holden hates gag shots, it got a B for “seasonality”), and a trans man's first dick pic. 

Why do they do it? A penis is pretty personal and even though Holden is plenty humane, she's not exactly nice. “It’s a carefully crafted and framed picture, but at the end of the day it’s just your nut sack in everyone’s face,” she wrote to one guy and his unloved nut sack.

“I think guys happily submit their photos because I provide a rare opportunity for them to get feedback from someone with no agenda,” she says. “I'm not invested in flattering their egos or cutting them slack like their girlfriends might, but I'm also not trying to cut anyone down to size or make them feel bad. That, and some people just love an excuse to get their dicks out.”

Others have more personal and often touching reasons. “First dick pic ever” wrote, “Dick pics have always struck me as a particularly gross expression of male sexual aggression. I never imagined taking one of myself. Yet, after reading your blog and experiencing the frank, amateur, genuine, intimate eroticism of the images and the kindness of your responses, I was inspired to take one of my own. Your words gave me emotional permission to imagine someone enjoying me for what I am, not despite it…Thank you for helping me see this side of me.”

Another contributor with more ambiguous genitalia wrote, “I’ve been working up the courage to submit my 'dick' for a long time. The sun was shining and I had just gotten out of the shower, and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t feeling overly self conscious about my genitals. That 'born in the wrong body' stuff gets deeply internalized. I hoped to capture that this is not the wrong body, it’s my body.”

(I know! Who knew a dick pic site could be touching?)

Holden solicits donations and offers $10 private reviews, but it doesn't seem like she's getting rich off the site. What keeps her facing that endless stream of dicks each day?

“Filtering through hundreds of dick pics can get tiresome, but I enjoy the tender moments and positive submissions when men have made sincere efforts to improve by incorporating my frequently repeated tips. It's not about dicks or dick pics per se, it's about making something positive out of this thing that has such an unpleasant history and reputation.”

Jill Hamilton writes In Bed With Married Women (www.inbedwithmarriedwomen.com). Follow her on Twitter @Jill_Hamilton.

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