I'm up for that.
In the last week or so, Instagram’s gotten a lot more naked. Funny, sexy photos of men baring it all, save for their junk tucked demurely into a sock have flooded feeds under the hashtag #cockinasock. Some men are in groups, some are still in their shoes; there’s no, um, shortage of creativity.
Turns out, #cockinasock is as much about exhibitionism as it is about altruism. Balls to Cancer, a UK-based all-male cancer charity, started #cockinasock to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and encourage people to donate (proceeds from the campaign go to Balls to Cancer, Cancer Research UK and testicular cancer organization Checkemlads). Never ones to simply swallow (ha!) a meme hook, line, and sinker, we decided to get to the bottom of all the nudie goodness. The charity’s married founders Mark and Susan Bates talked to us via email about fundraising, photos, and how we can all lend a helping hand.
How did Balls to Cancer get started?
Mark:The charity was started in 2011 after deciding there was a lack of an all-male cancer awareness charity. It came about from losing my father to a brain tumor and Sue's granddad to throat cancer.
Where did #cockinasock come from?
Sue: The approach found itself. [Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band] Hot Red Chili Pepper did the initial photo and the effect has very much snowballed. I don't think anyone expected the response. It all started roughly a week ago and no one could have imagined the surge of photos that have inundated the Internet since.
It’s kind of crazy. Why did you think people would be up for putting their junk on their Internet? Does it take a special kind of guy to take a cock in a sock photo?
Mark: We have found that people love to get involved and to be able to feel you are doing so much by sharing a photo is great!
What makes a good cock in a sock photo? Any thoughts on pubic hair?
Mark: Haven't given any thought to the socks to be used, if I'm honest, as long as it protects their modesty. Same with pubic hair. Each to their own.
Modesty? It’s all pretty sexy, don’t you think?
Sue: Is it sexy? I wouldn't say it is. It's all about being daring. Having a bit of fun and saying, “I’m up for that.” We all know someone that cancer has hit and are aware of the devastation it can leave behind. This is their way of showing some support. I think the men are all very brave. All shapes and sizes (literally) have 'socked' up and we admire them.
Instagram has started taking down the photos. Did you see this happening and did you talk to them about it?
Mark:There are always going to be issues with social media on this subject. Hopefully we can all work together and realize the bigger picture. It gets people talking, though, and makes those posting more determined, so long term may have helped the cause. (Ed note: Want to see more willies in warmers? Try #getyoursockout)
What have been your favorite photos so far? Can we see your own cock in a sock photo?
Mark: Our favorite photo has to be our fantastic ambassador Wayne Lineker and his best pal, Calum Best! They didn't have to do it and the stir it caused, along with much needed funds was amazing. We can't thank them enough.
Sue: He hadn't done a sock photo. The supporters ones are so fabulous we hadn't even given it a thought.
What do you want people to know about balls and cancer?
Mark: A photos is great, but if men still don't check it could all be for nothing. If we save just one man, it's been worthwhile!
What’s next for Balls to Cancer?
Mark: Next? We have lots planned! We want everyone to get involved. We want people to get inventive. Share themselves and their ideas (all clean) on raising awareness. We also plan to get our hunks in trunks. We have some great ambassadors and I have it on good authority that women want to see what they can do.