‘Mr. Angel’ Review

Mr. Angel

What Makes A Man, A Man?

What makes a man, a man?  I have always though that one of the most important differentiators between the sexes are based upon the genitalia: Men have a penis, and women have a vagina.

Simple, and easy to understand.

But there are people that such easy definitions don’t apply, such as Buck Angel, the subject of Dan Hunt‘s “Mr. Angel.”  Angel was originally born a girl, but she seemingly always identified as male, or I should say participated in sports and dressed in a fashion that was often typical for males at the time.

Buck Angel
Buck Angel, courtesy of “Mr. Angel”

She eventually left home, and stumbled into modeling, and was in demand till drugs caused her to become unreliable, and ruined her career.  She saved money, and eventually got a sex change operation, though she kept her vagina, and Buck Angel was born, so to speak (he decided to keep his vagina because surgery at the time could sculpt a male penis, but it wouldn’t be as functional as a natural one, says Angel).

Buck Angel
Buck Angel as a fashion model, prior to the sex change

Angel’s story is a fascinating one and makes the idea of what makes a man, a man–and by extension–a woman, a woman, a little murkier.

That is, till toward the end of the documentary, when Angel struggles with a vaginal problem, and has to go to a gynecologist.  He spends quite a bit of time talking about how he loves who he is, and that he wouldn’t give up taking testosterone–which he needs to do to maintain typically masculine features, such as his build, hair growth, and a deeper voice.

In other words, Angel would not look like he currently does without surgery and male hormones.  Such hormones are not typically produced in women in amounts capable of brining about  typically male physical changes that “natural” males produce as a birthright.

By the way, I am not saying that Angel is “unnatural,” though I am not saying that he’s not what most people would call “normal” either.

Which again leads to the question:  What makes a man, a man?  Is what makes a man, a man simply the sum of physical attributes, or is it something more?

What’s probably most controversial is that Angel, despite physically being male, has kept the vagina from when he was a girl, and was a trailblazer for transgendered people in porn as well as life.

Which leads us back to where we started:  What makes a man, a man?  Medically speaking, I am not sure that Angel is male, despite his appearance.

Then again, suppose science creates a transplant that produces testosterone (for men with low testosterone) and a woman had this device implanted and had surgery to make her typically feminine features, the the shape of her chest, more like a male?

Though unlike in the case of Buck Angel, they have their vagina converted to a penis (assuming that the technology has improved).  Her body would produce testosterone in amounts like any other male, so for all intents and purposes she would be male.  Or would she?

“Mr. Angel” is currently on Netflix.

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