“Look Like Daddy”– a picture book

“It’s important for a son to look like his father.” This unsupported psychobabble is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Why this focus on matching penises, when his eye color, hair color, body shape and facial features may not match his father’s? It has nothing to do with the child’s needs, that much is certain.

“Son, I let you keep your complete penis.” is not a sentence which creates an identity crisis for the child.

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The first time I saw my Dad’s * penis, when changing for a swim at a hotel pool, I can tell you what I noticed. It was big… and man, there was a lot of hair. Though he was circumcised, my impression definitely was NOT that our genitals looked the same.Image


When a man says he wants his son to “look like him” in this very specific way, we know he is not talking about surgically enlarging his son’s penis and rubbing minoxidil on the young chap’s testicles to spur hair growth. It does make you wonder…
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Sure, a child may notice differences when they are younger. They walk in when you’re coming out of the shower, perhaps change with you at a pool or something like that, but as boys become older it is quite unlikely they will ask to compare penises. If fathers maintained this emphasis, what if the unthinkable were to happen? How important would it be to match?

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I don’t believe the father would make an additional sacrifice in order to maintain this “matchy-matchy” concept.

As far as I know, THIS does not constitute a paternity test:

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Nor do I believe it is the most important identification a son will make with his father. What about his character, his kindness, his many other physical features, and yes, let’s say it– his willingness to examine what was done to him and to spare his son from an unnecessary amputation! There is no caveat in the “protect my child” MAN CODE which says “Protect my child– unless it’s the penis– and unless I can’t deal with my kid having more of his penis than I do of mine.”

In the United States, we like to pretend that we honor individual rights, yet we cannot seem to shake this idea that a man has dominion over his son’s male parts or that the son should be allowed the freedom to decide which “style” of penis he would like to have for the rest of his life. Do we really celebrate uniqueness? The strong and/or rational do.

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Maybe it’s just an XY thing, huh? No, arguments made for FGM are just the same. It isn’t about exact match, rather psychological self-defense. How to get that point across? One day I remembered a Twilight Zone episode which haunted me as a kid. I thought maybe some women who had difficulty seeing the circumcision issue for what it is could relate, when confronted with a female character in the role of the forced victim of “matching.”

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We draw the line at penis cutting. A man may have tattoos, earrings, perhaps even fraternity brandings, but we do not take these much more visible body modifications as justification for altering our sons without their consent. There is no veneer of medical justification for sharing with our sons intentional or unintentional wounds we may have suffered or chosen– so they are not legally permitted. For anyone willing to THINK and reflect on the best of their father/son memories, it is evident that here are much better things to share with our sons than our accidental wounds or our chosen individual “body mods.”

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Perhaps you’ve arrived at this part of the post without closing. I’m thankful that you have. We must discuss the variability of method and amount of damage. It is quite possible that a man, happily circumcised, will wonder what the big deal is. The answer is that there is no standard for circumcision, no way of predicting outcomes. Among the idiots who betray all medical ethics to “perform” circumcisions, the word has gotten out that “tight” cuts create problems. The result is that “loose” circumcisions have become more prevalent. DAMN! Your son is NOT going to look like you and it’s quite possible he will have more pleasure because he has been damaged less!

Is it okay that he has a few more nerve endings, a “little bit” more pleasure, a “little bit” more gliding mechanism? Or would you prefer to limit him to exactly the amount of pleasure you experience and believe is “okay?” Think about this: some circumcisers consider the frenulum troublesome… it slows down their cutting.   You might be weak enough to desire that your son receive no more pleasure than you do, but would you want him to experience less pleasure than you do!?? EspeciallyIf the frenulum is ablated, such is entirely possible, depending on the bias, the patience, and the skill of the penis cutter.  Will you risk it for your own needs?

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* and now to the asterisk.
Funny thing is, when circumcision was being promoted, this “look like daddy” thing wasn’t emphasized. Men either thought they were doing the best for their sons or were acting on their own fears. My biological father [distinct from my “Dad” who raised me from the age of four]… was intact. I am the first, and LAST! generation of cut males in my direct lineage. What was his issue, that overrided “look like daddy?” He was born poor, and one of the shitty social pressures he faced was an anxiety over the perception that “only the poor” don’t circumcise. Did he get himself “done?” Oh no… but he, with the help of an unethical/uninformed doctor, he made sure I was “done.” FEAR, FEAR, FEAR… but some us won’t fall for that ploy– and unlike our progenitors, we honor our children and keep them whole.

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Women, expect better from your men. Men, acknowledge the unfortunate history and be strong despite the upset or pain.  Protect your sons.

~Devon

PS:

Many of the arguments look ridiculous when we rip away the veil of habit and accepted sexism.  This latest offering made by Jeff demonstrates that quite well.  What if it weren’t boys being altered?look like mom

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8 Responses to “Look Like Daddy”– a picture book

  1. Laura Super says:

    Devon, you are awesome. And I love the last infographic too.

  2. Excellent post. I especially liked the last graphic.

  3. cosmopolite says:

    Here’s the deal. Let’s say you’re intact. In many parts of the USA, you will look weird in the locker room when you are middle and high school age. Once you leave high school, nobody will ever look at your junk while you are in the locker room. And if they do look, they won’t dare comment.
    When you start dating, some won’t notice, because you will be hard the whole time they are paying attention. Others will notice, but say nothing. Others will be intrigued and even thrilled. Some will break up with you, but they are superficial bimbos that are toxic to your emotional health. You will be more likely to have satisfying marital sex into old age. She is less likely to complain that vaginal intercourse with you leaves her dissatisfied.

    In short, 8 years of occasional taunts from boys, in exchange for 40-50 years of more satisfying marital sex. I’ll have mine with foreskin, please.

  4. Pingback: Look like daddy- sarcasm « Coffee and Kids

  5. This post is great. Excellent infographics as well. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Look like daddy | Coffee and Kids

  7. Janice Woodard says:

    Wow, this is an excellent article – a brilliant answer to the “look like daddy” excuse for male genital mutilation!

  8. There is actually an ID crisis – the father’s. I noticed it many dozens of times working in postpartum. And it is notable in the courageous circumcised fathers who have decided to leave their sons intact. Taking home a penis cut like theirs wasn’t going t happen, nobody part of the Great (North) American Male Image. And the baby would always have more than the Dad.
    Actually I wrote the i4SkinHealth app for them remembering the woeful, left out looks of those Dads, they are my heroes. They didn’t let the look-alike compulsions get to them, they realized they are adults and would get over it, but traumatizing a child for their own ‘matching penis’ desire was not how they wanted to think of themselves as men.
    If a prenatal educator brings up circumcision and also foreskin restoration early enough in the Mum’s pregnancy, the father has the opportunity to adjust, and get started. If they are regaining noticeable amounts of foreskin by the time the baby arrives they will feel no dismay or ID crisis at all. So all doulas and PN educators it’s worth bringing it up early, and supporting the father in his efforts along with all the breathing and relaxation efforts.

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